Jemison Middle School receives two grants

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

State Sen. Cam Ward announced on Aug. 22 two new grants for Jemison Middle School totaling $5,000 from the state community service grant program, a part of the Alabama Education Trust Fund Budget.

JMS will use the grants to purchase new books for the library and equipment for the special education department’s robotics program.

Karen Hayes, media specialist at JMS, said she hopes to use the grant money to buy books for a reading program called “Book Adventure” from Sylvan Learning Center.

“Most (students) are used to the Accelerated Reader program, but it’s really expensive,” Hayes said. “This can still offer them the same research-based computer tests, and then they’ll still be able to earn prizes.”

The library also has more empty bookshelves to fill after JMS relocated to a larger building this year.

The other grant will be used to purchase robotics kits for the gifted class in the special education department.

Matthew Staggs, a teacher in the special education department, said the high-caliber robotics program is a first for JMS and will enhance students’ learning experience.

Students will build the robots, program them and problem solve to make the robots do different things.

“I try to have them think on higher levels and provide lessons that go beyond what they would get in the regular classroom,” Staggs said. “I try to focus on … making them think for themselves and to work together as a team to solve problems.”

Ward said in a press release that state and local budget challenges have made projects like these much more difficult for Chilton County Schools.

“I believe we all have to be constantly working together to develop new ideas on how we can provide better services to the students with fewer resources,” Ward said.