Prospect Elementary School is getting a math library. The K-5 school recently received a $2,500 grant through Farmers Insurance’s Thank A Million Teachers program to develop a math library. It is one of six schools in the eastern region to receive grant funding.
The library, which will be located in a teacher work room that was being used for student interventions, will hold games, instructional materials, lessons, literatures, manipulatives and mathematical tools. Educators will collaborate to build meaningful lessons, provide opportunities to differentiate instruction and share resources.
Fourth grade teacher Melissa Bennett wrote the grant proposal. She came up with the idea after participating in a professional development program organized by Donna Russell, a systemwide math coach.
“I sat down afterward with a co-worker, and we started talking about how nice it would be to provide these instructional opportunities to our students,” Bennett said. “I started looking at grant opportunities the next day.”
After discovering some grant programs that could meet her school’s needs, the teacher started writing grant proposals, armed with the knowledge she learned in a grant writing workshop offered by librarian Lelia Rogers. She specifically liked Farmers Insurance’s Thank A Million Teachers program, which awarded grants based upon online voting results.
“Once it went live in November, I contacted parents and teachers, posted information on Facebook and reached out to our local Farmers Insurance agency,” Bennett said. “Drew Miles returned my email and met with me to discuss the proposal. It just kind of took off from there.”
“Farmers Insurance is a family, and I look at my clients like family members,” said Drew Miles, principal of Drew Miles Agency — Farmers Insurance Group. “After I found out about this grant proposal, I reached out every day to all of my clients, family, friends and business partners about the online voting.”
For the contest’s first 25 days, Bennett tracked the proposal’s voting results. Students graphed results every day, noting increases and decreases and projecting final results. Prospect Elementary’s proposal was ranked in the top tier for 25 days, then the site went dark for the last five days. Nobody knew whether the proposal would remain atop the others and get funded. When the final results were revealed, Prospect Elementary had received a $2,500 grant.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of them,” Miles said. “They put so much energy into this program. It’s rewarding for me to know this money will directly benefit children. I hope they’ll be able to empower students and create a passion for math. Everything we do as adults is tied to math principles whether it’s budgeting or building a house. I hope this math library opens their eyes to what’s out there.”
The math library will accomplish that goal by providing educators with the resources to make lessons more meaningful, Bennett said. “Every student has different needs, and we’ll be able to meet them now. By pooling resources in the math library, we’ll be able to fill in those gaps wherever a child has them. We’ll also be able to challenge our more advanced students. The sky is the limit now.”
Mathew Stewart - The Daily Times