Snapping Shoals awards grant money to schools

COVINGTON - Nine schools and departments in the Newton County School System now have the chance to start special projects with their students this school year.

Last week at a special ceremony, Snapping Shoals EMC presented the funding for 13 projects at seven schools and two departments in NCSS through the Bright Ideas grant program. Projects this year cover weather, math, technology, parent and student interaction, foreign language and reading, among others.

"The Bright Ideas grants are designed to help teachers who wish to extend educational opportunities and activities for students by developing student interests and abilities," said Leigh-Anne Burgess, communications specialist at Snapping Shoals. "Teachers have innovative ideas about how learning can be made more exciting, effective and interesting and how curriculum can be expended to meet the needs of particular groups of individual students."

The grants are designed to assist teachers in the planning and implementation of their ideas, she said.

In August, Snapping Shoals announced that it would award more than $50,000 in grants to teachers in Rockdale, Newton and Henry counties this year. The grant money comes from unclaimed capital credits, which are allowed to be redistributed to educators since Gov. Sonny Perdue allowed for it in 2005. Since then, Snapping Shoals has provided about $100,000 to teachers in its coverage area, Burgess said.

This year, NCSS received 52 applications. In the end, a review committee selected 13 projects totaling between $450 and nearly $1,500 each, or $17,609 total. They said it was a tough decision but made it based on such criteria as innovation and creativity, instructional strategies, future use and a reasonable budget, among other criteria.

"It says much for our school system that we have so many teachers looking for innovative ways to meet the needs of our students and help them achieve the highest standards," said Kathy Garber, NCSS grants coordinator.

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