‘I’m just excited, ecstatic, shocked’: College Station ISD Education Foundation surprises teachers with grants

‘I’m just excited, ecstatic, shocked,’ College Station ISD Education Foundation surprises...
‘I’m just excited, ecstatic, shocked,’ College Station ISD Education Foundation surprises teachers with grants(KBTX)
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 5:54 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Over $300,000 in grants were awarded to College Station ISD teachers during the district’s annual Grant Patrol Thursday.

The grants, which are funded by the College Station ISD Education Foundation, give local teachers the opportunity to include fun and innovative learning tools in their classrooms in addition to regular instruction.

Executive Director Theresa Benden says these grants are an investment in the future success of district students.

”This is kind of like the whipped cream and the cherry on the top of learning. They have a chance to just excite our kids, give them something a little bit more innovative to try more hands-on things,” she said.

One of those grants went to Amy Toland, the enrichment teacher at Creek View Elementary School and put programmable Lego sets into the hands of her students, providing them with valuable STEM instruction.

“They’re getting hands-on experience already in elementary school with coding, and engineering, and mathematics,” Toland said.

The skills her students will learn with this technology will stick with them past their elementary school years, and Toland said this will give students the opportunity to learn through play.

Without the grant, accessing the programmable Lego sets wouldn’t be possible.

“The Education Foundation tries to come alongside our teachers to provide extra innovative projects, things that they want to do,” Benden said.

Many of the grants that were handed out will be used for academics, but others address a kind of learning that doesn’t come from a textbook.

“Each child is getting an opportunity to be impacted in different ways, and hopefully something that is impactful for them,” Benden said.

At Cypress Grove Intermediate School, two teachers are using their grants to connect students with different cultures.

“They heard us and they heard our heartbeat and they saw our vision,” LaBridget Lewis said, “I’m just excited, ecstatic, shocked, overwhelmed.”

Lewis and fellow teacher Amanda Byrne are on the culture committee at Cypress Grove. The two host a yearly celebration of traditions from around the world.

“During our Culture Fest, we had kids and their parents come and show off their cultures, and they were dressing in their traditional dress,” she said.

Their plan for the grant is to build on the event by including flags from every country. Byrne said one of her students, who has Japanese heritage, was excited to learn that the Japanese flag would be included in the display.

“They are seen, they’re not invisible. We do know them and we are becoming more conscious about who they are, what their cultures represent,” Lewis said.

The College Station ISD Education Foundation raises money through various fundraising events during the year.