MANATEE -- Christmas came early for Palma Sola Elementary School -- one of two Florida schools chosen by Bealls Department Stores shoppers to receive a surprise $10,000.
Bealls representatives presented the check to the school Monday morning.
"We all know being in Florida that everyone has struggled with the economy," said Karen Filips, Bealls director of marketing operations and media. "This is really a way to give back to education. They're on limited budgets and we felt this was something people could get behind and support."
This is the first Bealls school giveaway.
Principal Scott Boyes of Palma Sola Elementary said the money will be used to
hire substitute teachers to assist with the Tier 2 Intervention program. The program allows students falling behind to be pulled aside with a teacher for separate assistance before moving on with the rest of the class.
"In an ideal world, if 20 percent of the students didn't understand a lesson, they would be able to get the information again in a more individualized setting," Boyes said. "This helps students understand the benchmarks in a smaller group."
Boyes said in a Tier 2 Intervention, struggling students get an extra 30 minutes to go over material and concepts they need to learn.
Palma Sola Elementary has done Tier 2 Intervention in the past. Last year, the school had seven teachers in the program, but those staff members were lost to district budget cuts.
Boyes said the Bealls donation will support two intervention teachers until Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test time.
On Thanksgiving night, shoppers could nominate their school for the giveaway. Every Bealls location handed ballots to the first 500 customers in line between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Palma Sola Elementary encouraged parents to vote together on the Thanksgiving holiday.
"It is nice to see the community getting involved like this," Boyes said. "They have a huge stake."
A second Florida school was also chosen to receive $10,000. Filips said the school will receive its surprise donation this week. She said she did not want to name the school until the check presentation.
Bill Webster, Bealls director of public and government affairs, said the second school is not in Manatee County.
Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.