Thanks to support from the Parker Griffith Family Foundation, Jefferson County Federation of Teachers, University of West Alabama, Black Belt Teacher Crops and Susan McKim, Sandra Thomastan and Horace Williams, the Rural School Collaborative recently announced eight grant winners across Alabama.

This was the second year Alabama was included in this national program.  More than 50 teachers applied. recipients are:

Guntersville Elementary School, Teresa Zimmer, Gifted Specialist, $800, Making Makers, Growing Givers, project will provide opportunities for 3rd-5th grade gifted students to become “makers,” allowing them to learn by doing and become designers, innovators and entrepreneurs of the future.

Haleyville City Schools, Michael McCandless, $350, Physics Project, physics students studying optics, light reflection and refraction will make use of their recently learned principles of light to construct a parabolic reflector solar heater and cooker to demonstrate how alternative sources of energy can be used to cook food, heat water, and heat indoor living areas. Under the supervision of the teacher, local engineer, and local contractor, these students will video the conceptual design and construction of a 48″ parabolic reflector.

Livingston Junior HIgh School, Black Belt Teacher Corps members, Haley Richardson, Elizabeth Waddell and Austin Bishop, $3,000, Makerspace/STEM Lab project at Livingston Junior High School

Madison Cross Road, Annette Sears $255, Gardens to Go, students will be responsible for the care, distribution, and written instructions for home care of the plants that they start from seed. The students will be involved in making transplant bags, which will be made from woven ground cover material. The families will be able to take the bags and transplant the new plants

Pisgah High School, Brad Moore, $1,000, Eagles Working for Wood Ducks, a project to teach students construction, conservation, chemistry, ecology, and public relation skills. The program is placing wood duck nesting boxes, constructed by the students, on to local cattle farm ponds while measuring water conditions. This involves, but is not limited to nest box construction, contacting local landowners about placement of boxes, installing and maintaining boxes, and monitoring water pH conditions and chemical make-up.

Wedowee Elementary School, Tammy Simpson, $1,000, Wildlife Tracks Station Project, students will use the wildlife tracks station to track and record wildlife animals that visit the outdoor classroom.

Westside Elementary School, Demopolis, Black Belt Teacher Corps member, Paige Gandy, $1,000, Lights, Camera, Teach, a reflective video model focusing on teaching and student learning.

Westside Elementary, US Jones Elementary, Demopolis Middle School, and Demopolis High School, Black Belt Teacher Corps member, Allie Marques, $1,000, The Sprouting Minds Garden project to engage students and community.

Congratulations to these winners and thanks to all supporters who made this happen.  Alabama had nine winners last year.  I visited all of them.  It was money very well spent.