Project Lift is handing out $300,000 in innovative grants to teachers working at the nine challenged Project L.I.F.T. schools. The hope is the money will allow teachers to be creative and offer ways to better engage students in the classroom.
Statesville Elementary school fifth grade teacher Greer Winslow-Carter wrote a grant for her classroom. She was awarded $30,000. She will use the money to buy 10 iPads, 15 laptops, about 30 Ereaders, known as Nooks, and use money to purchase other equipment that will promote literacy.
"It's just really important," Winslow-Carter said. "I think it's foundational for everything. Just a life skill, not just to get through academia, but life itself."
90 teachers applied for the grant but only 19 teachers received them. Their amounts range from $1500 to $30,000. Some teachers used the money to take students on a trip to Washington, DC and Atlanta. Others used the money to pay for their students to write and produce their own play, while Winslow-Carter used her grant money on technology.
"Kids are like this microwave society," the teacher said. "They want to do it right now. They want to do this with these gadgets. How better it is to meet them where they are."
Her students are grateful for the money.
"I think that shows that they really care about us," Statesville ES student Amaya Chambers said. "And making sure we have an amazing education."
Other students like having the technology, they claim it will make them better students and finish their class work quicker.
"Sometimes it takes all day for the teacher to write on the board," Statesville ES student Garry Davis said. "Or we can just go on the website and look stuff up. It would be more easier."
The hope is these grants will boost academic achievement. In five years the school district wants the Project L.I.F.T. schools to be 90-90-90. 90% of students on grade level, 90% of students achieving more than a year's growth in one year, and 90% of students graduating from high school on time. Will the grant money work?
"There's no guarantee," the teacher said. "But I think with that technology, there's no doubt we are going to make some gains."
Project L.I.F.T. is using the more than $55 million it received from the community to fund the grants. More grants will be given out next year.
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