Reich College of Education partners with local schools and awards grants – The Appalachian


Courtesy of Betsy Rosenbalm

Samantha Strathy, art teacher at Alexander Central High School, presents a sample of props purchased for her grant project “World Tour Studio Art Outreach: Learning Through Intentional Teaching”.

This year, the Reich College of Education Public School Partnership Mini Grants Committee awarded mini grants to education workers who showcase projects that, according to their website, “have helped to make an impact in schools in the region ”.

Established in 1987, the Public School Partnership is a program that brings together App State and various P-12 public schools to work together to help improve education.

“What we’re trying to do at the Public School Partnership is provide as many resources, professional development, leadership opportunities and collaborative engagement as possible to our public school partners,” said Betsy Rosenbalm, director of the Public School Partnership.

Rosenbalm said that due to COVID-19, there were fewer internships and classroom observation opportunities for students majoring in education, so the project development process for the mini program -grants allowed students to experience work in class and alongside teachers in public schools. .

Projects applying for a grant should focus on the preparation or development of those working in the fields of education, depending on their website. The committee grants funds to selected concepts.

Samantha Phifer, school counselor at Mountain View Elementary School, holding a multicultural doll from her “Promoting Equality and Diversity Through Media and Guidance” grant project. (Courtesy of Betsy Rosenbalm)

Since March, the committee has awarded 23 mini-grants to projects.

The projects that were chosen this summer were “based on equity,” Rosenbalm said.

The committee donated approximately $ 17,000 last school year. Part of the grants awarded were used in the following ways:

  • $ 981.40 for sensory tools in Watauga County. They are toys intended to relieve stress and anxiety and to improve students’ concentration.
  • $ 515.07 for media equality and diversity promotion and guidance in Wilkes County.
  • $ 500 for an inclusive outdoor play area and learning environment in Wilkes County.

“I was very excited [to receive a grant]. Most of the things I have, I paid for out of my own pocket, and I have limited supplies, so I was very happy to be able to now provide resources for my students, ”said Samantha Phifer, counselor. orientation at Mountain View Elementary School. .

Phifer’s project promoted equality and diversity in media and guidance in rural schools. She used the money to buy dolls with different disabilities and races for the students to play with and other materials that she could use to teach orientation.

“The goal of this project was to show unity in the club’s mission to create acceptance for all while increasing awareness of equity, diversity and inclusion. This grant definitely made that happen, ”said Beth Hinshaw, social worker at South Caldwell High School.

Hinshaw’s plan was to get t-shirts for a school club with the words “OUR WORLD” on the front and “One People United” on the back. The purpose of these shirts was “to be worn by all group members and staff to signify unity and that they are a ‘safe’ person for all students to talk to if they have any problems.” Hinshaw said.

To receive a grant, a group must follow all guidelines established by the committee.

Submissions must include faculty, teachers or public school administration and a student teacher, unless none are present during the project creation process.

“We encourage teachers in classrooms around the P-12 world to reach out and collaborate with someone here on our campus; we like to fund these kinds of projects, ”said Rosenbalm.

The maximum amount a group can claim is $ 1,000.

“My overall experience has been great. I heard pretty quickly, ”Phifer said.

The next season’s application deadline is February 25. Rosenbalm said the theme for the next bidding season is Innovation for Equity.

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