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Snapping Shoals awards grants to Newton County teachers
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Snapping Shoals EMC recently awarded approximately $15,000 in grants to a number of teachers in Newton County through the co-op's Bright Ideas program. The grants, which are allocated from unclaimed capital credit funds, are designed to help teachers who wish to extend educational opportunities and activities for students by developing student interests and abilities.

"There were a lot of great ideas and they will all benefit our students," said Kathy Garber, Newton County School System grant coordinator. "Over the past six years, our teachers have received almost $100,000 in grants from Snapping Shoals and we want them to know how much we appreciate their continued support."

"Teachers have innovative ideas about how learning can be made more exciting, effective and interesting and how curriculum can be expanded to meet the needs of particular groups or individual students; however, resources are sometimes not available for special instructional opportunities," said Leigh-Anne Burgess, PR specialist for Snapping Shoals EMC. "The Bright Ideas grants assist teachers in the planning and implementation of these ideas."

"As a nonprofit organization, SSEMC's capital credits or margins, are the revenues that are over and above the cost of providing service for the electric co-op's customer-owners," said Danny Stone, Snapping Shoals manager of economic development. "These are required by lending institutions to establish financial strength for loans. Snapping Shoals EMC routinely refunds these capital credits to its members when its board of directors determines it is appropriate to do so.

"Despite all of our efforts to locate past members, there are always those whom we cannot locate to return their patronage capital. Legislation passed in 2005 allows EMCs to retain these unclaimed capital credits that historically would be turned over to the state. The unclaimed funds are used to support Snapping Shoals EMC's various educational programs, as well as other community and economic development projects."

The 2012 grant recipients and their projects are:
• Terry Badertscher, Cousins Middle School, Green Thumb. Students will build planting beds and benches to grow herbs and vegetables.

• Gail Bemis, Livingston Elementary School, Economics in Action. Students will create a school pencil business, selling pencils in exchange for Boxtops for Education.

• Beth Bryan, Monique Mitchell, Eastside High School, POP! Poll Our Population. Students will use iPod Touch to research candidates and create a valid poll of students/teachers for 2012 election.

• Cricket Butler, Jason Tester, Eastside High School, Bringing History into the 21st Century. Students will use iPads to create podcasts and find videos related to historical events.

• Tracy Clay, Kellie Keaton, Lakia Williams, Chansley Wren, David Baker, Jessica Weaver, West Newton Elementary School, BLAST: Bringing Life and Science Together. Students will use computers to produce a science newsletter and create their own Wikispaces.

• Bonnie Garvin, Veterans Memorial Middle School, Life Science in Action. Special needs students will have access to a greenhouse to plant and grow healthy vegetables.

• Eileen Hietter, NCSS Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program, Teach Me English in ASL. Students will use DVD and workbook lessons to increase English skills in American Sign Language.

• JoAnn Houston, West Newton Elementary, Give Writing a Chance. Young students will use this program to improve fine motor skills, use correct posture and grip pencils and form letters correctly and consistently.

• Kellie Keaton, West Newton Elementary, field trip to Carlos Museum. All third grade students will culminate their study of Greece with a trip to Emory's Carlos Museum.

• Hope Kinard, Rocky Plains Elementary, Using Virtual Science to Differentiate Instruction. Students will use the Instant Science digital program to improve science knowledge and skills.

• Jennifer Mask, Porterdale Elementary School, Reading A to Z. Students will use mini-books printed from this website program to increase reading comprehension and fluency.

• Leann Morris, Newton High School, So You Think You Can Teach? Students will use an iPad and Livescribe software to provide models for teaching their peers math concepts and program solving methods.

• Christy Mortimer, Veterans Memorial Middle School, Choice-Based Art Education. Students will choose from among several art studio centers, including weaving and print-making, to produce creative works of art.

• Stephanie O'Neal Rutledge, NCSS Occupational Therapy Program, The Fine Motor Filling Station. Students will use fine motor game activities that provide remediation for typical handwriting challenges.

• Christina Phyall, South Salem Elementary School, Rainbow Readers. Students will use the iPod Touch and the iMovie app to record video summaries of Accelerated Reader books that encourage other students to read the books.

• Ashley Rickard, Eastside High School, Readers are Leaders. Students will use Kindle readers to access a near infinite variety of reading materials to help them become more fluent readers.

• Regina Williams, Liberty Middle School, Mini-Piano Keyboard Lab. Students will use the keyboard lab to learn the basic elements of music by reading, notating and performing simple melodies on the keyboard.

• Claire Womack, Newton County Theme School, Essential Equipment for a New Band Program. As the Theme School adds middle school grades, more students will have the opportunity to be in a new middle school band program. Funds will be used to purchase additional music stands and a band stand rack for storage.

• Shannon Young, Liberty Middle School, Young Entrepreneurs. Students will create a business plan that includes a real estate plan, business projection, advertising plan and the full business model. Students will present the plan for parents and students at an entrepreneur celebration and competition for the best plan.