Teachers across Jackson Public School District received over $100,000 in grant money on Thursday.
Spann Elementary School teachers and teams received $18,514.15, the largest amount awarded to 17 elementary and middle schools.
For 27 years, the Junior League of Jackson and the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson has partnered with JPS to provide funding for enrichment, learning and motivational projects that fall outside of the school’s operating budget. This year they gave away $103,514.07.
Lois Crump, a fifth grade teacher Spann Elementary School, received over $8,000, the largest award this year, for a program to alleviate what she sees as a district wide concern—vocabulary.
“Hopefully by strengthening our student’s vocabulary it will also strengthen comprehension and fluency skill,” she said.“It’s for the Word of the Wise vocabulary program and it’s designed to go from Kindergarten to fifth grade. We want to monitor the kindergarteners we have now to see growth. We expect to get anywhere from an 80 to 85 percent growth rate from Kindergarten to fifth grade and those will be the 2019 fifth graders.”
Three other teams of teachers at Spann received grants that will fund projects like building book nooks in classrooms, promoting phonics development and creating classroom libraries for second graders.
In the spring, teachers submit applications through a Mini-Grant process. Winning teachers are handpicked by Junior League volunteers and winners are announced each fall.
Melanie Hataway, Junior League Community Vice President, said teachers submitted about 150 applications last spring and said choosing this year’s 25 winners was a tedious process.
“We really look at the impact that it can make at each school and how it can help the students,” she said.
The Community Foundation of a Greater Jackson CEO and President Jane Alexander said she believes Spann’s encouraging leadership made a difference in how many awards the school received this year.
“They really encourage their teachers to take advantage of these resources and they support them so much in their grant application process that it’s no wonder they got the most grants and the most money,” Alexander said.