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Snapping Shoals offering grants

COVINGTON -- This year, some Newton County students will get to interact in the classroom using an iPad and a Wii Fit, explore Pablo Picasso's art and make pottery.

These things will all be possible because of teacher grants from Snapping Shoals EMC for its 2010 Snapping Shoals Bright Ideas Grants program.

"The 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 or individual students; however, resources are sometimes not available for special instructional opportunities."

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

Last week, it was announced that Snapping Shoals will present grants totaling $15,000 to 14 programs in the Newton County School System. The teachers receiving the grants will be honored during a special breakfast ceremony on Oct. 7 at the Newton County Board of Education.

"I share the gratitude of teachers and the entire school district for the generosity of Snapping Shoals in providing funding for the innovative projects designed by this year's grant awardees," said Dr. Kathy Garber, grants coordinator at NCSS. "Over the past four years, Snapping Shoals has provided over $60,000 to Newton County Schools for the purchase of equipment and instructional materials to help teachers increase student achievement in all areas."

This year, teachers from Fairview Theme School; Ficquett, Palmer Stone and East Newton elementary schools; Clements, Veterans Memorial and Liberty middle schools; Sharp Learning Center and Eastside and Newton high schools were awarded grants for special studies in literature, technology, math, art and music.

Many of this year's receiving teachers plan to implement more technology into their classrooms using the grant funds.

Kelly Walker at Ficquett Elementary school plans to using articulation, language and vocabulary features on the Apple iPad for students in speech therapy, and Kristen Emerson at Ficquett plans to buy cameras and movie-making software for her science students to create paperless portfolios.

Kathy Stewart's physical education classes at East Newton Elementary will be able to use a Wii Fit to play sports games during class, and Kristin Koterba will buy SmartMusic subscriptions, microphones, a Dell notebook computer and a digital recorder to help her students at Liberty Middle School improve their instrumental playing skills by receiving instant feedback.

This year in Newton County, 36 programs submitted grant proposals for the program.

"Reviewers had a difficult time selecting winners because there were such a large number of really good project ideas presented," Garber said. "In these times of declining revenues and severe budge cuts, the contributions of Snapping Shoals are especially appreciated."