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Public School Foundation awards surprise grants to district teachers

Brandon Paykamian • Feb 14, 2020 at 8:00 AM

More than two dozen Johnson City Schools teachers received surprise grants from the Johnson City Public School Foundation Thursday for additions to their classrooms and new lesson materials.

Foundation Board Member Kathy Calhoun said the organization awarded nearly $28,000 to instructors across the district. Those grants will go toward things like new musical instruments, classroom technology, art materials, books, desks and more.

Calhoun, chairwoman of the Foundation’s mini-grant committee, said she knows the impact these grants can make through experience.

“I am a former classroom teacher, so I am aware of what a person feels like when they’ve expended all their resources,” she said. “I know what it would be like after spending out-of-pocket money from time to time, then have someone walk in with a check for $2,000 and say, ‘We would like to support you in this project or that project.’”

One of the first schools the Foundation paid a surprise visit to was Mountain View Elementary School.

At Mountain View, RTI instructor Cindy Myers received $1,590 for new “flexible seating” in her classroom. Special education instructor April Shelton received $1,000 for new special education classroom materials, including weighted stuffed animals to ease students’ anxiety. 

Third-grade instructor Lauren McIntire-Johnson was awarded $900 to buy new materials for science, technology, engineering and math lessons, and Rebecca Saunders received $1,749 for new pre-K classroom materials and equipment.

Each instructor submitted their grant proposal a few months ago. Saunders said the grants allow teachers to do more in their classrooms than they would be able to otherwise.

“We receive limited funds, so this is a way to grow and be able to experience more things,” Saunders said.

Thirty-six teachers applied for the grants, which are funded through the help of the Mooneyhan Family Foundation.

For more information on these grants, visit www.jcschools.org.