Kim Evans will soon be able to bring more music to her students thanks to a special $1,000 grant awarded by the Manatee Education Foundation.
“I think it’s wonderful... I based mine on ordering new music for my sixth grade band in particular — all kinds of music for my program,” said Evans, a band teacher for sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Lincoln Middle School in Palmetto. “We’re going to order a bunch of new books for our class and then music for our concerts in March and May that are coming up.”
Seated inside Renaissance on 9th on Thursday evening, Evans’ face brightened as she spoke of how she will use the grant to help enrich her students’ music education. The Bradenton resident was one of 100 teachers who won classroom grants to fund educational projects for their students. The reception presenting the educators with what are called “teacher IMPACT grants” brought them all together over refreshments, fruit and cheese platters, and cookies.
The teachers received more than $100,000 in grants, awarded to a record 45 schools, according to a release. Officials said that awarding the funds at the end of first quarter will allow for plenty of time to use the funds for classroom materials, programs and supplies.
“Like many others, I’ve always felt there’s three components to a great education. One, you have to have caring families. I think we do. Second, you have to have a motivated student,” said MEF chairman Harry Kinnan, who delivered welcome remarks. “But thirdly, and so importantly, you had to have inspiring teachers. They’re the ones who we’re honoring today — the inspiring teachers.”
The educators, the majority of whom were women, clapped. Some cheered.
When you apply for these $1,000 grants, you’re applying for things that enhance your instruction, that make learning come alive for our students and those are the things that your students will always remember.
Manatee County School District Superintendent Diana Greene
Grants were funded in categories that included arts and culture; STEM (a term used for science, technology, engineering and math); literacy; disadvantaged and at-risk youth; environment; children with disabilities; health and fitness; and teacher development.
Manatee County School District Superintendent Diana Greene also spoke at the reception about the legacy of those teachers who received grants.
“When you apply for these $1,000 grants, you’re applying for things that enhance your instruction, that make learning come alive for our students,” she said, “and those are the things that your students will always remember.”
MEF executive director Mary Glass delivered her own message, thanked sponsors and announced each teacher. One by one, the teachers walked onstage and shook hands with Greene and other officials. After stepping off stage, they posed in front of a backdrop with envelopes in their hands containing the grants.
Toy Brown, a graduation enhancement technician at Manatee Elementary School in Bradenton, smiled big as she stood alone in front of the backdrop. The Palmetto resident said she was surprised to win a grant. Some students at her school, she explained, experience roadblocks that prevent them from arriving to school on time, such as lack of transportation or clean uniforms.
“But I think this could help me motivate my students to come to school, give incentives and help the parents — motivate them to get to school as well,” she said, adding that the grant will help her purchase bus passes, uniforms, laundry detergent, and other materials. “I think this is a good incentive to help my kids get to school and push them to get here on time everyday.”
Brown said she felt proud.
“I feel excellent,” she said, smiling again. “That’s my first time getting a grant, so I was really excited to get it.”