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Four RCPS teachers get grants

CONYERS - Soon, some area students will be getting a more hands-on experience in their science classes when four Rockdale County Public Schools science teachers each receive a $1,000 grant at the end of January.

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association awarded 14 science teachers in seven metro-Atlanta counties $1,000 each as part of its 2009 Science Teaching Tool Grant. The grant opportunity was open to science and technology teachers in 14 metro Atlanta counties; it is the first year teachers in RCPS have won awards from this long-running program.

In years past, the contest has awarded one grant to each of the 14 counties, but this year, the program's organizers decided to pick the top 14 projects regardless of the teachers' locations, said Paul Reimers, president of the Atlanta chapter of the AFCEA.

From Rockdale, judges selected Jill Beach, Susan Gary, and Diana Kennen, all of Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology, and Tappey Squires of Edwards Middle School.

Beach will use the funds to get forensic science supplies and instruments to create a more rigorous unit with real world applications, as well as provide printing supplies to 60 ninth-grade students to create and present posters on research proposals.

"I am thrilled to get this award," she said in a news release from RCPS.

Gary plans to purchase equipment for her ninth-grade physical geology students to enhance their study of plate tectonics, fossils and climate change.

"This will help prepare students for the Advanced Placement Environmental Science test given in May," she said.

Kennen will purchase digital microscopes for physical science, materials science and engineering projects.

"This technology should allow my students to greatly improve the scope and quality of their independent science research," she said.

Squires plans to build a greenhouse for students in his horticulture class.

"This will allow my students to cultivate plants during the coldest part of the season," he said. "It is a wonderful opportunity."

Officials will present checks to the educators at a AFCEA luncheon on Jan. 22 at Ft. McPherson.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.