The Center for the Teaching Profession allocated $160,000 for the grant program.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
Four area teachers are being recognized by the state for their commitment, creativity and dedication to education.
Gov. Bob Taft and Ohio School Superintendent Susan Tave Zelman were to honor the four during a luncheon Sunday in Columbus.
The red, white and blue gala, titled "Celebrate Teaching: A Star-Spangled Profession," honored 80 Ohio teachers who are receiving mini-grants to support specific educational programs in their schools.
UBrittaney Jones, a fifth-grade science teacher said her pupils at Leavitt Elementary School in the LaBrae School District are excited about a planned outdoor environmental lab, part of which will be constructed beginning Nov. 30.
Jones said she's grateful for the grant to help pay for it. She estimates she spends between $200 and $300 of her own money each year for projects and supplies.
UJanet Vitko, a language arts intervention teacher at Neal Middle School in the Mathews district, was awarded a grant for her literacy program for remedial readers, titled "Moving Reluctant Readers into Lifelong Readers."
Vitko said she'd encourage other teachers to seek grants "because there's so much that teachers want to buy but boards of education only have so much money."
UThe funds going to Linda Dye, a third-grade teacher at MacDonald Elementary School in Wellsville, will help buy a TV, VCR and other gear for her program "Teaching Through Learning Channels."
Dye said equipment will also allow the wall-mounted TV to be used as a monitor for the computer when she uses the Internet during a lesson.
"I'm just very anxious to get all the equipment," she said, explaining that help with classroom expenses is always welcome.
UJudy Migliore, a sixth-grade math teacher at Crestview Middle School in Columbiana is getting funding for her program "MCAA," a math activity involving 95 sixth-graders.
A contest called "Math Madness" is held in March and the money will be used to buy new electronic buzzers, posterboards, markers and prizes.
Migliore said MCAA stands for Math Collegiate Athletic Association and is patterned after the NCAA basketball tournaments.
"I'm so excited we got this," she said. "It was a fluke; I never thought we would."
Spending: Zelman said a majority of Ohio's 112,000 teachers routinely spend money out of their own pockets to buy supplies and pay for programs in their classrooms.
"We wanted to give back to those teachers by providing some extra money to implement their ideas," she said.
The Ohio Department of Education's Center for the Teaching Profession allocated $160,000 for the competitive mini-grant program to fund proposed projects.
The Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers collaborated with ODE in implementing the program by distributing the grant application forms to their members and assisting in the review process.
Officials say the response was overwhelming -- more than 1,150 proposals were received.
Awards range from $6,000 for Cleveland Municipal Schools to establish a leadership institute, to a $500 award to an elementary school teacher in Madison County for a hands-on learning project focusing on reading and math.
The state says it's looking for additional money to fund more proposals in upcoming months.