Education Foundation uses $35K on teacher mini grants
Posted: Sunday, September 21, 2014
Article by Michael Knox |
CONCORD, N.C. — Michelle Hagle teaches at Concord Middle School and sees how budget constraints have impacted her and other teachers in the classroom.
“I have to beg, borrow or steal if I want a box of Kleenex in my room,” Hagle joked. “I don’t think people really realize what you have to pull out of your own pocket for the students that you love.”
Hagle made the comment during the inaugural Cabarrus County Education Foundation’s luncheon fundraiser Wednesday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event raised more than $35,000. Funds are used to give classroom mini grants in Cabarrus County Schools. During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the Cabarrus County Education Foundation gave out $14,000 in grants to 31 applicants, impacting more than 9,000 students.
Grants awarded range from $250 to $500. The projects funded included helping bring hydroponic plant towers to Wolf Meadow Elementary School for their garden club; bringing a professional musician from the Charlotte Symphony to do master classes at Harris Road Middle School with their French horn section; repurposing Central Cabarrus High School’s outdoor patio area beside the library.
Hagle was one of the teachers who received funding, with the Cabarrus County Education Foundation funding her $500 to start a social book club for at-risk students at Concord Middle School.
She said about 80 percent of the student population at Concord High School are considered at-risk students, using the free or reduced lunch program or participating in the English is a Second Language program or the Exceptional Children Program.
Hagle thanked the sponsors who attended the luncheon fundraiser, telling the group about how Concord Middle School has a “graffiti” wall where students could write what they learned from the books. Hagle told the crowd of foundation supporters that one student wrote, “No matter the obstacles, with determination I can be great.”
“With your help, with that mini-grant you made my students feel like they were great in class,” Hagle said.
Based in the Cabarrus County Schools Education Center in Concord, the organization is headed by Executive Director Rachel Wilkes, who was the first employee hired since the Cabarrus County Education Foundation formed in 2001. The program was created by the late Roy Davis of S&D Coffee and Grace Mynatt, who was recently elected to the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners.
“The ways in which CCEF can enrich our school programs and raise our public pride and support are just beginning,” Mynatt said.
The foundation is currently taking applications for grants for the 2014/2015 fiscal year and the deadline is Oct. 14. Visit http://www.cabarruscountyeducationfoundation.org/programs/classroom-mini-grants to apply.
Wilkes said candidates should look for projects that are unique and ones that can be used by students over multiple school years.
Those grants have been able to provide teachers support when they couldn’t find funding for projects, officials said. The Cabarrus County Education Foundation has impacted nearly 17,000 students since it formed in 2001.
“It’s been, and continues to be the champion of Cabarrus County Schools,” said Barry Shepherd, superintendent for Cabarrus County Schools. “Because of that support from the foundation we are able to continue to deliver on our promise to educate our students in a culture of educational excellence.”
Anyone wanting to help the Cabarrus County Education Foundation can make checks payable to the organization and send them to P.O. Box 388, Concord N.C. 28026. You can also visit www.ccefnc.org to make donations online.
Contact reporter Michael Knox at 704-789-9133.