LCSD teachers put grant money to good use

By BETH BUNCH,

Students of Lamar County School District teachers Megan Fortenberry and Meg Stewart have benefitted greatly from the grants these instructors have received through the Lamar County Education Foundation. Teachers across the district are encouraged to submit grant applications each school year to make purchases which will aid them in the classroom.

The foundation, which was initially established in the 1970s, is dedicated to supporting and enhancing quality educational programs in the Lamar County School District, according to Marcia Line, who serves as director.

 “By giving to the LCEF, you are supporting the education of our students,” she said.

All grants are given directly to the classroom through teacher grants. “Grants are awarded through teacher submissions and include everything from the most basic to the most innovative needs,” Line said. The Foundation tries to fund all grants which meet required specifications.

Fortenberry, who teaches chemistry, dual credit chemistry, and physics at Sumrall High School, used her grant to purchase supplies for her physics class.

”It was my first year to teach physics at Sumrall and I needed so many lab supplies – cars, tracks, balls, springs, force meters, circuits, tuning forks, lenses, etc.,” Fortenberry said. “Science students benefit tremendously from doing hands-on experiments. My students appreciate labs and enjoy seeing the concepts that we cover in class in action.”

With a small budget, Fotenberry’s hands were tied as to what she could purchase. “I probably would have used some of my personal money, which is not ideal, of course,” she said. “I always try to give my students what they need, but the LCEF makes it so much easier to do my job well.”

Fortenberry has received several LCEF grants through the years.

“These ladies work very hard to help us and I can’t say thank them enough. It makes me want to continue to improve my lessons knowing that I have the help and resources I need.”

Like Fortenberry, Stewart, who teaches Information and Communication Technology 2 to 8th-grade students, wrote a grant to purchase a 3D printer for her classroom.

Because her curriculum was changing, Stewart knew her students would benefit from the state-of-the-art technology, “but it would take a gigantic chunk out of my teaching budget to purchase it.”

Stewart asked the Foundation to consider funding the purchase to allow her students to get hands-on experience through the design process.

“We are integrating 3D printing into existing course structures to enhance the learning process for students at Purvis Middle School,” Stewart said. “My students are starting with premade designs to print, but eventually will be able to build their own projects in Tinkercad or Sketchup to bring their designs to life.”

Stewart knows without the support of the LCEF that her students would never have been able to experience the amazement of watching an item be built from the ground up.

“Their generosity allows me to connect my classroom to the real world!” she said.

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