CHARLESTON -- A project to provide more reading choices for high school students topped the list of grants this year from the Charleston school district's Excellence in Education Foundation.
The more than $17,000 in grants the foundation awarded also funded computers and other items for middle school math students, electronic science books and more.
The foundation has been in place for about 30 years and each year considers teacher applications to fund projects for which school district resources aren't available.
The foundation was impressed by this year's applications and how they tried to address a variety of academic areas, foundation board member Tim Hutti said.
"We're really excited," he said. "The grants this year were really wonderful."
The largest of the nine grants was for just less than $5,000 and was awarded to the Charleston High School English department.
The grant money will be used to buy about 350 copies of various books to give freshman and junior students choices for books to use during a study unit, CHS English teacher Kristen Runyon said.
"We're going to try to make them as diverse as possible," she said of the book selection.
Runyon said the book choices will provide the students with "buy-ins and engagement" with the unit by being able to choose books that interest them.
The foundation's larger grants also included just more than $2,600 to Charleston Middle School math teacher Tiffany Richter, who said it will be used for work stations.
The computers, chairs and other equipment for the stations will allow some students to receive supplemental instruction, Richter said. She also said it will allow her to better see the students' "needs one on one."
Also, Jacob Roskovensky and Chelsie Doughty received a $2,500 grant for the CHS library for e-books for use for science student research.
The rest of this year's grants were awarded to:
- Suzie Bosler, Carl Sandburg Elementary School, $1,500 for laptop computers.
- Kaj Holm, CMS, about $1,200 for math instruction materials and about $630 for maps for geosphere study.
- Emily Jacobs, Mark Twain Elementary School, just more than $1,400 for "flexible seating" for kindergarten students.
- Angela Warman, CHS, nearly $1,300 for electronic bands to monitor heart rates.
- Jessica Krahnke and Holly Pantle, CMS, just more than $1,200 for equipment to analyze book-to-film conversions.
Hutti said the foundation's selection criteria include how many students a proposed project will benefit. The group also tries to fund a variety of projects and to reach every school in the district if possible.
A program with Consolidated Communications and fundraising events providing the foundation with the money for the grants.