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Grants from CUs help schools, teachers make the grade
MADISON, Wis. (7/17/14)--Students may still be on summer vacation, but credit unions are helping teachers and schools prepare for the upcoming school year with financial support for programs, training and infrastructure.
 
In New York, students from 61 schools submitted videos for Municipal CU's Build a Better School contest ( New York Daily News June 23). The $2 billion-asset credit union granted $5,000--matched by another $5,000 from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT)--to four schools for a greenhouse, a weather station, computers and science lab equipment.
 
The largest grant of $10,000--also matched by the teachers' union--went to School by the Sea, Far Rockaway, Queens, where $20,000 will help fix classrooms destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.
 
"We judged them on the basis of need, creativity, collaboration and community," Corey Fernandes, Municipal CU vice president for business development, told the N ew York Daily News .  
 
Build a Better School, which will accept grants next year, was sponsored by Municipal CU, the New York City Department of Education, UFT, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the City University of New York, WPIX-TV 11 and the Daily News .
 
Moss Point (Miss.) High School chemistry and physical science teacher Myeshea Holmes, left, and department Chair Qwantina Barlow are using the grant from Singing River FCU to restore a greenhouse that will ultimately house a produce market. (Mississippi Credit Union Association Photo)
In Moss Point, Miss., Singing River FCU awarded three $1,000 grant to local teachers because they are "dedicated, passionate teachers," said Jimmy Smith, president/CEO of the $196 million-asset credit union ( CU Connection July 9). "They're also spearheading innovative projects that will inspire students and parents alike, with no additional dollars in their budgets."
 
Kelly Walters, who teaches third grade at Martin Bluff Elementary School, will invest in technology that will allow her students to write and publish interactive digital textbooks.
 
Myeshea Holmes, a chemistry and physical science teacher at Moss Point High School, will team up with the school's carpentry department to restore a neglected greenhouse on the campus in order to establish a new gardening program. Eventually, Holmes said, "we'll open a produce market run by our business students and sell fresh vegetables to the public."
 
Mississippi's history and natural resources will be the focus in Sharon Thompson's classroom at Central Elementary School. The "Rockin' Round Mississippi" curriculum will allow students to celebrate Mississippi natives such as Oprah Winfrey, Brett Favre and Elvis Presley.
 
"Every student understands and remembers in his own way, and this material allows for learning across multiple intelligences," said Thompson, a special education inclusion teacher.
 
The A+ Education Foundation, a philanthropic arm of $1 billion-asset A+ FCU, awarded more than $72,000 in grants to 81 educators in central Texas. Since 2004, the Austin, Texas-based foundation has awarded more than $500,000.
 
The grants cover the cost of programs, supplies and training to improve the classroom experience for students. This year's winning submissions include a literacy lab, college readiness, music in play, circuitry in engineering, integrating technology to foster and develop mathematics and assistive technology to conquer dyslexia.
 
"We continue to be impressed by the innovative and creative grants submissions we receive each year," said foundation President Kerry A.S. Parker.


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