Hamilton County Schools Benefit From Unum Grants

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Unum presented 52 Hamilton County school teachers with more than $50,000 in mini-grants at its annual Strong Schools Grant teacher luncheon Wednesday.

Part of a multi-year partnership between Unum and the Hamilton County Department of Education, the grants will help pay for education materials and programs that engage students and improve their achievement levels. 

“We’re fortunate to have a lot of educators working hard to provide Hamilton County school kids with a great education, but each year these grants recognize the very best teachers in the area,” said Tom White, senior vice president of investor relations for Unum. “Selected out of 112 applicants, these teachers are receiving grants for classroom projects that promise to provide exceptional learning opportunities for their students.”

One grant awarded this year goes to Jennifer Brownlee of Red Bank Elementary School. Ms. Brownlee is a literacy coach that created the program Growing Families through Literacy, where the goal is to provide support outside of the classroom for students. The grant from Unum will be used to purchase books for the students to use at evening book clubs hosted by their teachers where families are welcome to join.

Another went to Jonathan Richard Johnson of Lookout Valley Middle/High for his project, Hablar por Chattanooga, or Talking Chattanooga. This program will allow students to use an iPod touch and educational apps to record themselves speaking as they learn Spanish.  Mr. Johnson explained that when a student can listen to a recording of themselves it helps them remember words and learn clear pronunciation. 

Since 2008, Unum has awarded 323 Strong Schools Grants as part of its commitment of more than $950,000 to Chattanooga public schools. In addition to the Strong Schools Grant program, other initiatives include: 

Principal Leadership Academy: The company has given $400,000 to fund a program to train prospective principals in the county school system on how to be strong leaders and effectively manage their schools.

STEM High School: Unum provided $100,000 to help fund the build out. 

Elementary School Technology Grant: Unum awarded seven well-performing elementary schools with two state-of-the-art Promethean Collaborative Teaching Systems each. These systems are interactive whiteboards that engage students with vivid images, video and audio.

Technology Challenge Grant: To encourage other businesses, organizations and individuals to give, Unum used this grant to match donations to schools specifically for Promethean technology. Fifty-nine Technology Challenge Grants were awarded in the first phase of the partnership. 

Mentor Program: Through a partnership with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Unum employees are trained and matched with sixth-grade students at an elementary and middle school. 

Here are the names of the recipients, their schools and the title of the projects for which they received grants. 

2014 Unum Strong Schools Grant recipients

School, Teacher, Project title
Allen Elementary, Nikki Howell, Master Typers
Alpine Crest Elementary, Lisa Young, Math & Movement Family Fun Night 
Barger Academy of Fine Arts, Susan Dorsa, Bits of littleBits
Big Ridge Elementary, Megan Neves, Technology for Social Skills and Video Modeling for Autism
Big Ridge Elementary, Heather Prairie, Adding Technology in 1st Grade
Big Ridge Elementary, Sonal Patel, Rocking Readers
Brainerd High, Mary A. Rausch, Grad Nation: Senior Super Bowl Scholarship Blitz
Brown Academy for Classical Studies, Ashley Lawrence, Continued Technological Advancement
Brown Middle, Kristina Culberson, Classroom set of updated novels 
Center for Creative Arts, Sandra Howard, Artful Advertising
Central High, Brielle Farrow, Spectroscopy Project- What's the concentration of blue dye in blue Gatorade?
Central High, Donna Sellers, Is That Really Alive?
Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Caleb Bagby, 1-2-3D!
Chattanooga School for Arts and Sciences, Soeung Chov, Genomic DNA Extraction and Gel Electrophoresis Experiment
Chattanooga School for Arts and Sciences, Mary Vlasis, Start the Presses!
Daisy Elementary, Diane Stacy, Multiplication is Magnificent
Dalewood Middle, Raquel Clark, Teaching Mathematics through Technology
East Brainerd Elementary, Amanda Turner, Biographies Build Better Citizens
East Brainerd Elementary, Nicole Galletta, Book Blasters!!!
East Hamilton Middle/High School, Teresa Molnar, Just Be Nice
East Lake Academy of Fine Arts, Callie Branam, Capturing My Culture
East Lake Elementary, Jill Blackmon, Science Investigations
East Lake Elementary, Sara Durst, Science Investigations
East Ridge Elementary, Marilyn Medley, Medieval Keyboard Quest
East Side Elementary, Ali Dullen, Keeping Students Highly Engaged in a Technologically Advancing World: iPad Integration in the Classroom
East Side Elementary, Catherine Patronis, Writer's Workshop
Falling Water Elementary, Sharon Leath, Math & Movement: Using Movement to Boost Student Achievement
Hixson Elementary, Julia Warren, Math & Me
Hixson Elementary, Aaron Wood, Counting to 100   
Hixson High, Rachel Carr, Robotics 
Loftis Middle, Scott Rosenow, Leveled to Build
Lookout Valley Middle/High, Jonathan Richard Johnson, Hablar por Chattanooga
Normal Park - Upper, Carrie Willmore, Real-Time Engagement in Reading for Middle Schoolers
Ooltewah High, Grey Briggs, Painting with Words
Ooltewah Middle, Regennia Martin, Math Field Day
Orchard Knob Elementary, Mary Hendricks, Math & Movement Family Fun Night 
Orchard Knob Middle School, Kristin Roberts, S.U.C.C.E.E.D in the Community
Red Bank Elementary, Jinlin Baker, Giving Students with Limited Mobility and Visual Impairments the Opportunity to Play
Red Bank Elementary School, Jennifer Brownlee, Growing Families through Literacy
Red Bank High, Leah Keith, Red Bank High School Hanging Garden
Rivermont Elementary, Dan Basler, Team Building Challenge Course Partnership
Bess T. Shephard Elementary, Delores Hill, Making Winners of Struggling Readers
Bess T. Shephard Elementary, Quailla Hatcher & Kimberly Jackson, Flat Stanley Project
Wallace A. Smith Elementary, LeAnn Maretti, Making Sense out of Cents- Classroom Economy
Wallace A. Smith Elementary, Sharon Dodds, Math and Movement
Soddy Daisy High, Susan Acuff, Power Reading 
Soddy Daisy Middle, Tyler Roberson, Critical Film Review
Thrasher Elementary, Julie Bell, Walking, Listening, Learning, Creating
Tyner Academy, John K Cooper, Physics is outside?
Tyner Academy, Jerry Webb, Renewable Energy outreach project
Woodmore Elementary, Emmie Stuart, WHO WAS?-A Transliteracy Biography Research Project
Woodmore Elementary, Ashley Frogg, Comprehension Cafe

For more information about the Strong Schools Grant program, please contact Cathy Barrett at 240-6741. 

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