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School Board awards Mini-grants

The Haywood County School Board met in regular session on November 8. The board approved several trips for students, approved the Compliance Report, reviewed an audit for school activity accounts and cafeteria funds, handled budget amendments and awarded mini-grants to eight teachers.

Haywood High School senior Madison Eubanks was recognized for earning membership into the 30+ Club. The requirement for membership is to make a 30 or above on the ACT test. She joins four other seniors in the club this year:  Reeves Garrett, Taylor Primrose, Seth Tillman and Kaitlyn Schwarz.

In other business, board members approved a trip for the HHS band to participate in an annual parade competition in Panama City Beach, Florida, from April 26-29, 2012. They also approved a trip for the HJH Warrior football team to go to Murray, Kentucky, for a Murray State University football game. The date of this trip was November 12.

The board, as in years past, approved the System/School Compliance Report for this school year. The system’s CFO Vincent Harwell, presented the quarterly report on the Catherine Truss Colhoun Scholarship Fund. This fund is the source for college scholarships each year for HHS seniors. Mr. Harwell also provided board members with an audit report on school activity accounts and cafeteria funds 7-1-10 to 6-30-11, and presented budget amendments.

The Concerned Citizens for Haywood County made a request to address the board. Several of the members came, expressed concern about shrinking budgets and the wise use of county tax dollars such as upkeep of schools plant and equipment. They also asked what metrics are used to measure the level of improvements in things like student test scores, student absences, student drop-out rates, and percent of students going on to secondary education.

Deputy Superintendent Teresa Russell announced to board members and the audience recommendations for awarding fall mini-grants. Eight teachers received funds for projects for their classrooms.

Haywood High School Librarian Julie Dahlhauser received funds for “Digital Revolution-Kindles in the Library.” Mrs. Dahlhauser said “The kindle will facilitate reading practice by collecting a variety of interesting, high-quality literature in one small package. It further enhances the reading experience with a built-in dictionary and word games. She will purchase two kindles and some e-books with her mini-grant. The all-school read, The Hunger Games, will be included.

Shalondria Hardin, a teacher at East Side, will use her funds to start a book club for her students. During a six-week period and the 90-minute reading block, students will meet with their on-level club members for 20-30 minutes to ask and answer questions, create and/or complete projects to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of their club book. Mrs. Hardin will purchase books, materials to create book club activities, a flip camera and response journals.

Also a teacher at East Side, Leslie Essary will enhance her classroom with a “Touchscreen Tablet for Center Time.” Her grant funds will buy a Wintec Tablet that will be used with students who are working independently or at center. The tablet will allow students to read, or listen to a variety of stories, practice reading skills online, or play downloaded learning games. Once they complete the story, the students will have the option of writing in their journals or completing a listening center activity.

Jan McAdams, the librarian at Anderson Early Childhood Center, received a grant to purchase “Handy Story Helpers.” Small flannel boards, a flannel glove, and 13 storytelling sets will be used in the library and be available for teachers to check out to their classrooms for use with classic stories. These may be utilized in whole group instruction or used in classroom learning centers by students. They are easy to manipulate and add a real spark to storytelling. Story Helpers add excitement to reading activities by introducing characters, identifying setting, sequencing story events and retelling stories.

Haywood Elementary teacher Stacie Milspaugh will purchase “Books for the Nook” with her mini-grant funds. The Nook is an e-ink reader from Barnes and Noble. It is very similar to the popular Kindle. Students can enjoy literature at their reading level while sitting in the classroom’s cozy Nook area. This tool will allow the class to collect a wide variety of interesting stories, games and books.

HHS math teacher Eddie Keel received his mini-grant for “Online Math Formative Assessment Project.” The grant funds will be used to purchase a 1-year subscription to the UT Austin Quest Learning and Assessment tool. All math and science HHS teachers will be able to create individualized assignments for students where each assignment is different. Students later enter the answers online and the assessment is graded. Feedback is immediate which research indicates promotes the retention of learning. This tool can be used for End of Course review, intervention for at-risk students, and additional formative assessment practice.

Another HHS math teacher, Karen West, will use her grant funds to purchase “Against All Odds.” This is a probability kit, which includes manipulatives and resources, which help students to understand and practice conditional probability, randomized experiments and observational studies. Students may work in teams or individually to collect and analyze data and practice the “Law of Large Numbers.” This kit will be shared among HHS math teachers.

“Germ Warfare” will be the topic of a “Glo-Germ Kit” which reveals where bacteria can hide. The value and benefit of hand-washing and thorough cleaning measures are emphasized by the use of this kit. Common pathogens responsible for food-borne illnesses can be easily studied and understood through class demonstrations. HHS FACS teacher Denita Jarratt received a mini-grant to purchase this kit.