Robotics equipment. Whiteboards. Graphing calculators. Writing learning centers. For nearly 20 years, the Decatur County Community Foundation has been helping Decatur County educators purchase items like these through Thank-A-Teacher Grants.
There are a lot of teachers who would like to have certain equipment to enhance classroom learning. We know that, unfortunately, those items arent always in the schools budget, explained Kristi Jarvis, DCCF Board Member and former teacher. Teachers often rely on outside funding, or many times buy items out of their own pockets. Thank-A-Teacher Grants are designed to help fill the gaps, providing the needed funds to help with those extra projects.
The Thank-A-Teacher Grants began in 2002 to help local educators fill needs in their classrooms. That year, 11 grant recipients were awarded a total of $2,541 reaching 238 students. Winning recipients included projects like: Carolyn Hill, Building Block Literacy Program at North Decatur Elementary; Angela Parmer, Calculator Usage Program at South Decatur High School; Lisa Wilson, Assessment Portfolios at Washington Elementary; Virgie Dugle and Karla Billieu, Elementary Special Education Memory Books at Rosenmund Elementary School.
Not only have personnel changes happened since that first round of awards in 2002, but physical school buildings have closed and new ones have been built since that time, pointed out Tami Wenning, DCCF Executive Director. That is evidence of the permanent nature of this grant.
Since its inception, the Thank-A-Teacher Grant has awarded more than $87,000. Like every grant held at the Community Foundation, it is designed to last forever. Grants are made off of the investment distributions of the endowment. The original principal cannot be touched, ensuring the grants will always be around.
The next Thank A Teacher Grants will be available in January 2021. Applications will open January 1 and are due the 31st. Awards of up to $400 are available to classroom teachers in Decatur County for creative, innovative projects that would not be funded by other means. To apply, educators can visit dccfound.org, or call 812-662-6364 with questions.