AUBURN, Mass. – Auburn teachers were pleasantly surprised last week when Auburn Chamber of Commerce representatives walked into their classrooms with supersized checks and balloons, awarding mini-grants to support school activities and study units.
The Auburn School-Business Partnership of the Chamber awarded $3,000 in mini-grants to teachers across the school district. Thirty-one applications were submitted, and 14 mini-grants (which were $250 and less) were awarded.
This year the Chamber decided to award the grants in “Publishers’ Clearinghouse” fashion. Rather than invite the grant recipients to a breakfast, the Chamber instead made surprise visits to the winners’ classrooms to announce their success in front of their students.
“It’s a very fun way to present it this year with the students right there, and it’s fun to see the teachers’ and students’ responses,” said Pakachoag Principal Deb Kozik. “The teachers do a lot of work, trying to figure out what they can bring to the district, to our school, to our students, and they’ve put a lot of time into planning the grant writing.
“They cross their fingers every year, so it’s nice we have so many recipients this year,” Kozik added. “I’m very proud of them, and I know everybody works hard to create something new and interesting each year.”
Some of the grant projects include a Wii fitness program, walking club, “Mystery Readers” where special guests read to the students, art programs and many more.
The following teachers in the Auburn Public Schools are grant recipients for 2012: Andrea Carlson; Patricia Horgan; Ann Guinane; Christine Ohristo; Christine Savage; Kathy Charlupka; Corinne Murphy; Deborah Hughes Johnson; Laura Walsh; Jillian Hakins; Lisa Williams, Gail DeFrino, Alissa Cobill; Shelley Hamm-Moyland; Anne Elsaid; Ann Williams and Sharon Hennessey.
The following are criteria for projects, according to the application:
- Innovative and creative teaching ideas.
- Benefit to students – there should be a primary goal, with two or three objectives.
- Enrichment – how does this project enhance the curriculum?
- Budget – If costs exceed $250, there must be sources of additional funding to complete the project.
- Anticipated number of students reached per year
- Shelf life of project – how many years may the project be repeated?
Since 1991, the Chamber has awarded a total of $53,524 in mini-grants to Auburn Public and Bay Path School teachers. All teachers are eligible to apply for a grant for up to $250 towards a project for their class. Grant funds must be used within the school year awarded.
The $3,000 in mini-grants was raised through the Auburn Chamber’s School/Business Partnership Golf Tournament, which was held in September for the 18th straight year.