Teachers awarded $8,800 to help area schools

Posted Jan. 09, 2011, at 8:13 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:41 a.m.

Seventeen Penobscot County teachers were among 70 throughout Maine to submit successful applications for classroom project funding in the U.S. Cellular 2010 Calling All Teachers campaign through its DonorsChoose.org website.

Of the $1 million donated nationally by U.S. Cellular, $8,800 will benefit more than 1,350 pupils in Bangor, Eddington, Hermon, Holden, Howland, Levant and Veazie, according to the company’s release.

One of the projects receiving funding is the after school program headed by Linda Dunn and Deb Glazier of Downeast School in Bangor.

That program received 50 poetry books for the third-grade program that is part of the Bangor school system’s Community School program administered by Gifted and Talented and Title 1 director Paul Butler.

Downeast is one of four Bangor elementary schools that qualify for Title 1 funding through the U.S. Department of Education, Paul told me of the federal program that has, since 1965, been used to help children achieve their full potential.

Downeast School, Paul said, “uses that money creatively to engage kids and parents” in programs that help fulfill one of the many purposes of Title 1, which is “to ensure that all children have a fair, equal and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.”

I had the good fortune to visit with Linda, Deb, other Downeast staff members and the youngsters in that program, and I will tell you all about that special afternoon in a later column.

It was Deb who applied for the Calling All Teachers grant, and she encourages others to do the same.

She said teachers can apply for anything they need for the classroom — from a smart board to a laptop — but she did point out that DonorsChoose.org “is a sophisticated website,” so you really do have to know how to navigate your way around it.

Once you’ve made your application, and have been successful, the fun begins when you get what you need to help improve your pupils’ learning experiences.

For example, Wendy Libby was able to get a new laptop computer for her class at Bangor’s Fruit Street School, and Diane Smart’s Veazie Community School elementary class acquired individual tape players for reading and an MP3 player for group dancing.

U.S. Cellular also reported that Amy Kessler, Brenda DeRoche, Ashley Allen and Donna Oliver of Eddington Elementary School acquired a number of items for the school that included a new carpet for the morning meeting area, a listening center for books on tape and CD, an educational rug for pupils to sit on to read, sing and play; and books and supplies to help them make quilts and audio CDs.

Ten MP3 players acquired through DonorsChoose.org will help to improve the reading skills of pupils in Ruth Gomes’ Hermon Elementary School class.

Plotting longitude and latitude of schoolyard trees will be made possible with GPS technology acquired by Maddy Roberts’ Holbrook Middle School class, and fellow students of Chris Galinski now have a video camera to record school activities.

At Holden Elementary School, Allison Kahkonen’s class received a digital camcorder to make movies of their nature hikes and field trips.

U.S. Cellular reported that Amanda Gerrish, Barb Hamlin, Shane Yardley and Noreen Cormier of Hichborn Middle School in Howland received two digital camcorders to create public service announcements, a scanner to share math notes, a document camera to enlarge photos and documents on a projection screen, and two external hard drives to help coaches teach motor skills and team strategies.

Lorna Goodwin’s class at Suzanne M. Smith Elementary School in Levant will learn about the life cycles of butterflies through acquisition of butterfly larvae, books and a pavilion to observe that activity, and Jeannie McAlpine’s pupils now will use a CD player with wireless headsets and books on CDs.

If you are a teacher who could use funds for a special project, you should do as your fellow teachers have and visit www.DonorsChoose.org.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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