Teachers receive grants from Ascension Fund

Grants from the Ascension Fund will continue to help Gonzales Primary School students improve their reading and other skills.

While the tools were purchased with grant money earlier this year, the rewards will be seen by students in years to come.

Several teachers at Gonzales Primary were awarded grants from the Ascension Fund to promote new ideas and provide new materials at Gonzales Primary.

Among the grant recipients were Meagan Roblin, Sarah Williams Taranto and Mariam Whiddon, who were each awarded a $1,000 grant.

“It’s so wonderful to have this excellent community resource for our students,” Taranto said.

Taranto’s grant was used to buy a visualizing and verbalizing program for special education students.

Special education students, she said, struggle with making mental images of what they read — a major road block for students with learning disabilities in academic success.

Through the grant from the Ascension Fund, the special education department at the school was able to purchase the program’s training DVDs to view and discuss.

The Ascension Fund also has assisted teachers with buying materials to integrate reading instruction with core subject areas, including math, science and social studies.

The Connecting Math and Reading grant funded by a Neese Industries Inc. Endowment provided Roblin with a variety of text options for her third-graders.

Thanks to the new materials, Roblin said, students have access to information sources including read-alouds, leveled readers, big books and paired fiction and nonfiction book sets.

“This text provides multiple opportunities for students to interact with mathematical concepts they may find challenging,” Roblin said. “The books help to differentiate the material to the students’ varying abilities and needs.”

The exposure to a variety of text, especially nonfiction text, is a key component of the new Common Core State Standards that were put into place with the primary purpose of preparing students to be college and career-ready upon graduation from high school, a news release from the teachers says.

Reading Across Genres was the title of the grant written by Whiddon and funded through the Ascension Fund.

Through the grant, Whiddon was able to purchase a variety of biographies of current personalities, a set of multiple copies of American folklore books, books explaining figurative language and other books.

The grant was provided by the Dupont Burnside endowment, the teachers said.

“While each of these grants touched the lives of students and classrooms in distinctively different ways, all three teachers are excited for future grant opportunities and look forward to starting a new school year better equipped to meet the challenges of a new curriculum,” Roblin said.

The materials purchased with the grant money will be available to other teachers and students, she said.