CMS receives grants for books, microscopes

Published 2:19 pm Friday, February 9, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Reading and life science were the focus for Clanton Middle School teachers when they applied for Chilton Education Foundation PEECh grants.

Chilton Education Foundation board member Jason Calhoun presented four grants totaling $3,570 to CMS teachers on Feb. 9.

Teachers Casey D. Meank and Denise Eiland received $1,450 for digital microscopes and other lab supplies for life science classes.

Eiland said it will allow them to “project and magnify more than what a standard microscope can do.”

She said the hands-on opportunities provided through the new equipment will be good for students.

“One of the things we have to do is looking at organisms and identifying structures and parts of animals and very small insects and things,” Eiland said. “It allows you to see what life is made up of.”

Eighth-grade teacher Kelly Rozelle received $545 for her classroom library.

“I am looking to add more current award winning books and also to have cultural diversity in my books, so that every student that we serve can find a book they are represented in,” Rozelle said.

She has also received a grant for books for her classroom.

“By buying good quality used books, I can sometimes even double what I had planned to get,” Rozelle said.

Seventh-grade teacher D’Leigh Bishop and Media Specialist Sonya Jones also wrote grants for books.

Bishop received $675 for graphic novels for her classroom library.

“I wrote the grant so that I can bridge the gap between kids who may not be able to read a full book when other kids can,” Bishop said. “Kids with dyslexia, learning disabilities — they need something extra to help them visualize the text.”

Some books published in the traditional format have also been re-released as graphic novels, such as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan.

Jones received $900 to update and expand the school library’s collection of books.

“Our collection gets used so much that many of our books need to be restores,” Jones said. “I would also like to diversify the collection and add new books.”

Jones said she keeps a running list of titles students have asked about. She also asks students for suggestions.

Fiction and non-fiction books are offered in the library.

“Our students read a lot of fiction books, but I really try to focus sometimes on my non-fiction to get them excited about that collection,” Jones said. “Usually, when they are reading those non-fiction books that’s when we see test scores go up because it requires the brain to do more than just sit there and read. They have to think and they have to process it.”

Part of the grant funds will be used to add more non-fiction titles to the collection.

Calhoun said funds for the grants are a combination of interest on investments by the board, contributions and donations.

“Anytime that you can be a part of a group that gives money back t the community, especially to our educators, it is a great feeling,” Calhoun said. “It is well-deserved. These teachers put a lot of heart and soul into teaching.”