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BOE honors grant recipients in first meeting of 2018
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COVINGTON, Ga. - The Newton County School System Board of Education recognized winners of teacher-classroom grants in its first meeting of the year on Jan. 9.

The winners of teacher-classroom grants received a total of $5,981 from the Newton Education Foundation. Amber St. Clair, NEF committee member, recognized the following grant recipients:

Marcus Pollard and Cecily Bullock, Newton College and Career Academy: Pollard and Bullock co-wrote a grant designed to create a partnership between the high school FFA and elementary students in Newton County. The grant will purchase more than 300 agricultural books from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The FFA members will read with elementary students in Newton County, and the books will cover topics ranging from gardening, animals, bugs, forestry, buildings, and farming. The FFA members will be assigned to work with the students at least once a month to increase reading levels while advocating for agriculture.

Ken Meakins, Porterdale Elementary School: Meakins wrote a grant designed to increase neurotransmitters in the brain to help with reading proficiency among third graders. The grant purchased 72 Eveready active seat cushions, enough for every third grade student. The cushion requires the students to engage their core muscles, which in turn increases neurotransmitter activity. Meakins chose third grade because that grade level is a critical period for reading proficiency.

Shani Smith, Indian Creek Middle School: Smith wrote a grant designed to help students learn how to code by programming drones. The grant allowed Smith to purchase four iPads for her to use along with her sixth, seventh and eighth graders to use while learning to code and direct flight paths for her drones. The goal is for the students to program the flight paths for her drones, which will in turn allow them to improve their technical reading and writing skills.

The NEF is a local, independent nonprofit organization that supports the NCSS in the fulfillment of a concentrated focus on areas related to literacy. The NEF has two goals they plan to accomplish by the end of the 2019-2020 school year:

First, it wants to ensure 70 percent of third grade students are reading at or above grade level. Second, it wants to ensure that 70 percent of graduating seniors demonstrate grade level proficiency in technical reading and writing.

In other action, the BOE approved memoranda proposed by Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey: adoption of the FY 19 tentative budget calendar; renewal of a contract valued at $472,602 awarded to SupplyWorks of Austell, Georgia for a comprehensive custodial program; approval of proposed meeting dates for the Newton County BOE; and disposal of surplus property.