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Foundation’s grant to help West Newton ES transform school space
West Newton
From left are Aaron Chestnut with Georgia United Credit Union, Principal Leah Green, Sarah Clower and Leigh Gant with Georgia United Credit Union. - photo by Special Photo

The Georgia United Foundation has included a Newton County school among its 2021 School Crashers grant recipients and will give a makeover to space in its building for students who may need sensory assistance or to be alone during the school day.

The School Crashers grant program is designed to unite communities, donors and volunteers to complete and support local improvement projects for deserving schools, a news release stated. 

West Newton Elementary School, which has 723 students, is a Title I school serving the largest population of students receiving free and reduced lunches in Newton County, was among the eight recipients. 

This grant will allow the transformation of West Newton’s Wildcat Woosah into a specially designed sensory room for kindergarten through fifth grades to receive self-regulatory support. 

In addition, the grant will allow for Cozy Corner sensory kits to be created for classroom checkouts to help decrease classroom disturbances and inappropriate classroom behaviors. 

This place will be a great benefit and continue to provide multitiered systems of support for the ethnically and diverse student population at West Newton Elementary.

Other recipients include Sims Elementary in Conyers, and schools in Atlanta, Stockbridge, Lawrenceville, Stone Mountain, Dalton and Athens.

The School Crashers nomination period opened in March to all accredited K-12 schools in Georgia. Interested schools were asked to include a photograph along with a 250-word essay describing why their school should receive a makeover. 

Nominations were received from 36 school systems and after a rigorous judging process, eight schools have been slated to receive school improvements over the summer.

Over the last seven years, School Crashers has positively impacted the learning environments for children at 50 schools with improvements valued at $1.4 million. 

Each year, the Duluth-based Georgia United Foundation partners with Georgia United Credit Union to offer its School Crashers program to K-12 schools in Georgia. 

This marks the eighth year of the program to enhance the learning environments for students and educators.

“We are looking forward to serving our communities and strengthening our school systems through the eighth annual School Crashers program,” shared Debbie Smith, president and CEO of Georgia United Credit Union. “The Georgia United Foundation, credit union team members, generous donors, community partners and volunteers make this a collaborative community service event, where we provide inspiring learning spaces for the students, faculty and staff. We want the students to have an increased pride in their school and be motivated to learn when they return in the fall.”