In the Dec. 3 meeting of the Ashe County School Board, the Ashe County Ford Teacher Scholarship Foundation grants were awarded to teachers from the different schools in the county.
Jeff Dollar of Ashe County Ford thanked the board and teachers for its hard work.
“We want to be able to give back, and one of the best ways to give back to our community is to give back to our kids,” Dollar said.
This was the first year that the scholarship foundation awarded grants. Dollar said he hopes Ashe County Ford will be able to continue awarding teacher grants in the future.
Of the 25 applications from all of the schools in the system, seven grants were awarded. Each school was eligible for a maximum grant amount of $1,000.
Ashe County High School teachers Ronnie Pruitt, Kassee Roberts, Linda Bennett and Jennifer Treva accepted a check and certificate for their grant, “Education Through Recreation.” Their program focuses on recreational activities for special needs students at the high school.
“These kids need as many opportunities as our regular education students,” Pruitt said, “I’m just glad to help out these kids in whatever way we can.”
Ashe County Middle School teacher Julie Taylor received a grant in the amount of $1,000 for her submission, “A Hero Lies in You,” a focused reading project.
Also receiving grants for reading projects were Heather Parsons for “Grow a Reader” and June Neaves for “Auto-Be Good” from Blue Ridge Elementary School.
The Mountain View Elementary School’s fourth grade teachers were awarded a grant for their “Versi-Tile Learning” concept. Teachers Kelly Lambert, Kathy Maloney, Tina Key and Sarah McLeese were there to accept the check and certificate.
Westwood Elementary received two grants, both for their kindergarten classes. Teachers Sherrie Phillips, Jessica Greer, Charlene Goodman, Cheryl Gamble and Erin Hayes submitted an application for “Rainy Day Recess” and were granted the funding to buy equipment for indoor recess activities.
Also from Westwood, Michelle Blevin’s “Let’s Sound it Out” reading project was awarded with a grant.
“Thank you to the Ashe County School Board for allowing us to have this time and opportunity,” Dollar said, after thanking all of the teachers for their hard work and dedication.
Grants being written, submitted
Ashe County Superintendent Dr. Todd Holden updated the board on grants for a digital learning consortium and a panic alarm system.
The Ashe school system is looking to write the digital learning consortium grant in conjunction with Alleghany, Cawtaba and New Conover Counties. Ashe is more likely to receive additional points towards the grant if it is part of a larger consortium with other counties in the state.
The grant would fund the development of a curriculum to “get teachers ready to use technology in the classroom,” Holden said.
Board member Dr. Lee Beckworth asked when they could expect an update. Superintendent Holden expects preliminary results by the next board meeting.
A second grant, for a panic alarm system in all Ashe County schools, has been submitted with the help of the Director of Maintenance, Kenny Richardson, and the Ashe County Sheriff’s Department.
The school system worked with the Sheriff’s Department to ensure that an emergency response protocol was put into place. An emergency response protocol was one of the stipulations of the grant.
Richardson said that the cost for the panic alarm systems would be approximately $2,200 to $2,800 per school, depending on location.
In response to Beckworth’s inquiry as to each school also requiring a designated phone line, Holden said that they would be able to use the schools’ existing alarm lines. The school system will need to pay an additional yearly monitoring fee of approximately $220 per school in order to have efficient communication with the Sheriff’s Department.
It is not guaranteed that each school in the system will receive the dollar-for-dollar grant, but Holden is hopeful for at least one or two schools being chosen to help defuse the cost of funding the project system-wide.
In other actions taken by the board:
• Board member Charlie King was nominated by board member C.B. Jones to be chairman. The nomination passed unanimously.
• Board member Terry Williams nominated C.B. Jones to be vice chair of the board. The nomination passed unanimously.
• Holden was contacted by Senator Dan Soucek seeking representation from the school system to attend a meeting on the state of education in the district on Thursday Dec. 5, in Deep Gap. Administrators Phil Howell and David Blackburn will attend as representatives.
• The board approved personnel recommendations.
• In attendance were: Superintendent Dr. Todd Holden and board members Polly Jones, Dr. Lee Beckworth, Terry Williams, vice chairman C.B. Jones and chairman Charles King. The next meeting will take place Monday, Jan. 13 instead of the planned date of Jan. 6, based on a request from Holden.