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GCRTA Awards Grants to Teachers

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By Colleen Lockhart

The Geauga County Retired Teachers Association (GCRTA) recently awarded their annual Teacher Grants to three teachers in the public schools in Geauga County. The $250 grants are intended to be used to support, in part or in whole, an innovative educational project that would otherwise not be possible because of a lack of school funds. The teachers and their school districts are explained below with specific information on each project.

 Kristen Hendl, grade level pre-K through 6 at Ledgemont Elementary School, received $250 to help her purchase and use Adapted Books for her classroom and students and help the Berkshire School District develop an adapted core book library for students with disabilities. Hendl’s grant application explained, in part, that “many students with disabilities have low verbal or nonverbal skills. Teachers, parents and speech-language pathologists work to teach these students core words. Core words are words that are frequently used in language and are used across a variety of settings and activities. In order to promote gains in both language and literacy, including the core words in adapted books would be highly beneficial.”

Sharon Stotts, Science for grade 7 at Cardinal Schools, was awarded $250 to help improve the vocabulary skills of her students through the construction of a word wall to better engage students in vocabulary acquisition. Stotts explained that covering the cupboards that line her classroom with metal sheeting would allow her to use magnets to enable her to manipulate the vocabulary cards more readily. She advised that “I do not have any bulletin boards in my classroom and only limited wall space.”

Josefina Ventimiglia, grade level 4 at Kenston Local, received $250 for the purchase of an ELMO Tt-02 document camera for her classroom that would allow teachers and students to show work to the whole class. She included “They are a dynamic presentation tool students can use to show thinking and provide examples. The image can be manipulated to increase/decrease in size. It can be incorporated with the Smartboard I currently have. A document camera would be a powerful communication tool to use with my students for all areas of the curriculum.”

 GCRTA Funds for the grants are raised at every chapter meeting through a 50/50 member’s raffle. Additional donations are from the East Geauga Kiwanis, the Huntsburg Grange, Bob Evans, and author David Hancock who donates proceeds from the sale of his books.

Traditionally, the GCRTA holds a recognition ceremony at their August meeting. Because of COVID-19, the meeting has been cancelled. Congratulations to all recipients of the grant funding. If you are an educational professional with an interest in joining GCRTA, please contact Jean Paine at 440-286-4992.   

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