Local banks provide grant for teachers to enhance learning

By: 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Teachers know: Learn the code, be flexible and ready to move, understand that education STEMs from the quad, be ready for personalized projecting, keep memories working, hear the drummer, and not to take things for granted.

“The grant dollars awarded will serve all levels. Not all requests were approved – 13 elementary requests were made,” shared Chatfield Elementary School Principal Shane McBroom, speaking of the Chosen Valley Mini Grant Program made possible through a partnership with Root River State Bank and F&M Community Bank-Chatfield.

McBroom said this year’s recipients will be using the dollars to purchase a Metalab Coding program with robots; flexible seating options; movement tools; STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – resources; project-based and personalized learning materials; working memory tools and large drums for the music room.

“The grant dollars provide an opportunity for our classrooms to be equipped with supplemental materials, providing opportunities over and above what we would be able to support,” he said.

A post on the Chatfield Public Schools Facebook page outlines the program that allows teachers to apply for extra funding courtesy of the local banks. “Root River State Bank and F&M Community Bank-Chatfield are excited to announce their continued sponsorship of the Chosen Valley Mini Grant initiative. Applications for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year will include funding of $5,000, bringing the grand total to $90,000 that has been allocated over the past 18 years to projects that would not otherwise be funded. This program is designed to give an opportunity for faculty to apply for a grant, up to $500 per project, to facilitate worthwhile endeavors that may otherwise be unavailable due to the lack of funds.”

It continued, “This year, there were 19 grant applications that were reviewed by Chatfield public school personnel and representatives of the banks. Once again, the reviewers were impressed with the variety of requests and the innovative ideas that were presented. A total of $5,000 was allocated. Some examples of projects that were approved for funding this year include music add-on kits which allow students to compose music through coding; movement tools such as elastic bands and wobble boards will be purchased to be used as part of the students’ morning routine and will help boost their energy; supplies for project-based learning in social studies, reading and language arts; power-up kits help expand the flight unit in physics and further expands the students’ exploration of physics concepts; wobble chairs that allow the students to move during the day as they learn – these chairs have shown great strides in helping students stay focused; materials to focus on the inclusion of STEM lessons in the classroom – STEM covers four specific disciplines, science, technology, engineering and math. Root River State Bank and F&M Community Bank-Chatfield are pleased to participate in this program and provide funding that will offer enrichment and learning opportunities to benefit the children of the Chatfield school district.”

McBroom noted that recipients of grant funding were announced the last week of July and that teachers and school administration are grateful for the partnership between the district and the banks.

“The program is important in regard to providing additional opportunities to our students,” he said. “The staff looks at ways to enhance learning, and with this grant, they can build on creativity which transfers into our students. We have a staff that is always looking to connect with the learning of our students, and this grant allows for outside-the-box thinking in acquiring resources that can reach learners in different ways. The partnership is an example of the overwhelming support our community has for our students and schools. The resources that they have provided over the years have created opportunities that may otherwise not have happened.”

The elementary principal concluded, “On behalf of our school, students and staff, we appreciate the continued partnership with Root River State Bank and F&M Bank. We thank you.”