Danny Stone, far right, Snapping Shoals EMC's manager of Economic Development and Member Services, and Dr. Gary Mathews, far left, Newton County School System superintendent, are pictured with the winners of Snapping Shoals' Bright Ideas grants for the year. Teachers pictured, from left, are (front row) Beth Bryan, Ashley Rickard, Hope Kinard, Cricket Butler, Jennifer Mask, Shannon Young, Monique Mitchell; (second row) Regina Williams, Chansley Wren, Jessica Weaver, JoAnn Houston, Sabrina Grant, Terry Badertscher, Eileen Hietter, Stephanie O'Neal Rutledge; (third row) Jason Tester, Kellie Keaton, David Baker, Tracy Clay, Christina Phyall, Gail Bemis, Bonnie Garvin and Christy Mortimer.
COVINGTON -- Snapping Shoals EMC will be able to help Newton County students grow herbs, use technology to conduct research and study sign language this year.
Recently, Snapping Shoals awarded about $15,000 in grants to 19 teacher projects through the co-op's Bright Ideas program. The grants, which are allocated from unclaimed capital credit funds, are designed to help teachers who wish to extend educational opportunities and activities for students by developing student interests and abilities.
"There were a lot of great ideas and they will all benefit our students," said Dr. Kathy Garber, Newton County School System grant coordinator. "Over the past six years, our teachers have received almost $100,000 in grants from Snapping Shoals and we want them to know how much we appreciate their continued support."
This is the sixth year for the program.
"Teachers have innovative ideas about how learning can be made more exciting, effective and interesting and how curriculum can be expanded to meet the needs of particular groups or individual students; however, resources are sometimes not available for special instructional opportunities," said Leigh-Anne Burgess, spokeswoman for Snapping Shoals EMC. "The Bright Ideas grants assist teachers in the planning and implementation of these ideas."
This year, teachers at various Newton County schools are planning to use the grant funds to have students grow herbs and vegetables at Cousins and Veterans Memorial middle schools, create podcasts and videos related to historical events at Eastside High School, produce a science newsletter at West Newton Elementary School and get more music stands at Newton County Theme School. Eastside High School and West Newton Elementary School teachers each won three grant awards this year, and Liberty Middle School received two.
Snapping Shoals' capital credits are revenues that are over and above the cost of providing service for the electric co-op's customer-owners.
"Snapping Shoals EMC routinely refunds these capital credits to its members when its board of directors determines it is appropriate to do so," said Danny Stone, Snapping Shoals manager of Economic Development. "Legislation passed in 2005 allows EMCs to retain these unclaimed capital credits that historically would be turned over to the state. The unclaimed funds are used to support Snapping Shoals EMC's various educational programs, as well as other community and economic development projects."
He added that teachers are changing lives every day and impacting children and families in Newton County.
Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation is a consumer-owned electric cooperative providing electric service to approximately 95,000 homes and businesses in an eight-county area. Headquartered in Newton County, most of the utility's service area is in Newton, Henry and Rockdale counties, where grants also were distributed to teachers. Portions of DeKalb, Butts, Walton, Morgan and Jasper counties also are included.