The students of the Sedalia School District 200 will once again be hitting the books Thursday when summer vacation ends and they go back to school.
For many teachers in the district their vacations have been considerably shorter as they have worked throughout much of the summer setting up their classrooms, working with lesson plans, and curriculum development.
For 10 teachers and support staff, their planning and dedication to the students of the district have paid off as they have been announced as the recipients of the 2015 Mini Grants awarded by the Sedalia School District Foundation Inc.
“The grants are an opportunity for us to give some teachers and their students the extras that they may otherwise not be able to obtain,” Foundation President Deidre Esquivel said. “It’s a way for the teachers to be creative and try something that they hope will enhance their curriculum.”
The Foundation has been awarding grants for nine years, Esquivel said.
Typically, the grant totals average $10,000 to $12,000 per year. The average award per teacher is typically $1,000.
“The grants are just another example of the Foundation being involved in the school district,” Superintendent Brad Pollitt said. “It’s an excellent way for our teachers to get some added materials and resources for their classrooms.”
The Foundation may receive as many as 25 to 30 applications from teachers a year.
“When we make our selections, we try to see how many students the grant will reach,” Tim Noland, Foundation board member, said. “We also look at how teachers are trying to promote different technology and resources in the classroom that they may not otherwise have.”
Teachers may submit applications every year board member, Becky Munson said.
“This year we had a request that was very special to me,” Munson said. “I can’t tell you what it meant to award this one because it really is unique.”
Last year, Missy Arnold, a sixth grade English Language Arts instructor, received a grant for classroom sets of the Caldecott and Newberry books for the students at Sedalia Middle School.
Because of the realignment of students, the sixth graders will now be attending Smith-Cotton Junior High, but the resources that were purchased with the grant last year will remain at the middle school.
“Missy submitted a grant this year asking that we purchase a literature set for the junior high,” Munson added. “It will help the entire sixth grade with their reading skills, which are so important to me.”
Arnold wrote in her application, “(The purchase of the books) will affect all sixth grade students in the ELA classes at the junior high. With three teams and an average of 120 students per team, that is 360 students that will be positively affected.”
Arnold requested 60 book sets, eight books of each title or 480 books.
“The chosen books are of varying reading levels and will ensure that no reader will be overlooked,” Arnold wrote. “The materials will help students to apply concepts and rules within a targeted unit of reading, writing or oral language.”
Arnold’s former administrator Sara Pannier, SMS Principal, said she was very happy to hear Arnold had received one of the grants.
“Missy has a passion for making sure her students know how to read,” Pannier said. “She helps her students overcome obstacles they may encounter with their reading.
“We hate to see her go but I knew it had to happen in this transition year,” Pannier added. “She certainly has impacted a lot of different students and cultures in her years of teaching,”
Smith-Cotton Junior High Principal Jason Curry said he was pleased to welcome Arnold and the sixth grade team to his building.
“I know from our conversations that Missy is excited to get the books into the hands of her kids,” Curry said. “She is on a mission to help her students, and all the students to be successful in their education.
“We are all grateful to the Foundation for helping to make that happen throughout the District,” Curry added.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484