Foundation for Educational Excellence presents grants

Brandon Smith of Bluffton Middle School is awarded with a grant for a literacy project.

More than 40 Beaufort County public school teachers from 19 schools were surprised April 25 with balloons and oversized checks presented to them by board members from the Foundation for Educational Excellence.

The teachers were recipients of the Foundation's Innovative Teacher grants, innovative school resource, and student enrichment grants for Spring 2017.

The 25 grants ranged from $133 to more than $2,700 and totaled more than $21,236. These grants will offer more than 6,000 individual learning opportunities district-wide in classes ranging from pre-kindergarten through high school.

A record number of 79 grant applications were submitted.

Funded projects included grants from a variety of disciplines including the construction of a butterfly garden, a giant abacus for math, the purchase of ukuleles for a Polynesian music experience, an ocean study connected to the Charleston Aquarium, and support to help fund a team for a robotics competition.

The Foundation for Educational Excellence raises funds for teacher grants that support classroom innovation. Established in 2007, the Foundation awarded its first grants in 2009 and has awarded more than $168,000 in grants to the teachers and students in the public school system since its inception.

This grant cycle was partially funded by contributions from The Rotary Club of Okatie, individual supporters, and the Foundation's major fundraiser, "Jewels and Jeans." The event is held each spring and offers an opportunity for attendees to "Fund a Grant" by pledging money towards partial funding of the Foundation's grants.

"The Foundation is so grateful to all of its supporters that make these grants for well-deserving teachers and their students possible," said Jackie Rosswurm, chair of the Foundation. "It is our pleasure to see the amazing impact these financial contributions will have on countless students throughout the district through implementation of creative and innovative projects in the classroom and beyond."

Bluffton recipients for Spring 2017 are:

Brandon Smith, "Literacy through SC History," Bluffton Middle School

Randi Harms and five first grade teachers, "Up Close to Our Ocean," Red Cedar Elementary

Erin Reichert, "Google Explorers," Bluffton High

Christina Cook, "Math Escape: Who's Got the Math," Pritchardville Elementary

Chandra Payne and Jennifer Bell, "Grow Up," River Ridge Academy

For more information about the Foundation and grant applications, visit

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