JES earns two grants through CAEC program

Published 11:52 am Friday, February 17, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Jemison Elementary School was a beneficiary of two grants from the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative through its Bright Ideas Grant Program on Feb. 9. Macey Gentry, a teacher at JES, secured a grant for her own classroom and helped other teachers near her in the school secure a team grant.

Gentry, along with teachers Chrissie Bashaw, Betsy Porter, Lisa Short, and Tiffany Shannon secured a $1,500 grant from CAEC. The Bright Ideas Grant Program has goal “of

supporting innovative, interesting and effective initiatives that school funding does not usually

cover,” according to a CAEC press release.

“I am very appreciative that they put this out there and allow us the opportunity to apply for it,” Gentry said. “It makes us feel good we have organizations behind us who want to support us and our students.”

The teacher’s plan is to buy Blue-Bot learning tools. JES students have used them in their STEM labs before and have one right now, not enough to support a classroom of 18-20 students.

“We wanted to be able to purchase additional ones to help give students the opportunity to use that,” Gentry said.

The device looks like a bug, and it comes with a mat to use it on. Students can work on different subjects, such as letters. One student will say “go to the letter B,” and another student will program the bug to tell it what direction to go to find the letter B.

“Not only do they have to know what the letter B looks like, they also have to be able to do those sequential steps to tell the bug where to go,” Gentry said. “It is a lot of thinking but it helps them do these things we want them to do anyway, but in a more hands on way that is using different subjects.”

Gentry hopes to integrate the devices into their literacy center, but is looking forward to them helping students with math, science and other subjects as well.

This is the first time JES has received a team grant from CAEC. However, Gentry’s classroom grant is her third from CAEC. In Gentry’s first year securing a grant she bought new books for different comprehension skills her students were learning that year. With the second grant Gentry was able to add new items to the sensory bin in her classroom for students who get overstimulated.

Gentry’s grant this year was for $750, and she plans on getting items that will help her students with math and science. She said she wants to get more hands on learning items that “will explore those subjects instead of just sitting at a desk that one may think of when they think of school.”

“I am going to buy a lot of different things that are going to help students during their literacy center time, some different hands on materials my students can use to improve their comprehension, phonics skills and their reading overall,” Gentry said.

CAEC awarded $25,000 this year, which will positively impact 4,000 students. The application process for the 2024 Bright Ideas Grant Program will begin in September of this year.