Pawz Patrol presents nearly $12,000 to Baldwin teachers
Walking Friday down a Baldwin Junior High School hall, Baldwin school board member Ruth Barkley confessed this was her favorite day of the year.
The reason was obvious when Barkley and the group she was with dropped in unannounced on the classroom junior high language arts teacher Patty Flory-Evans.
“I know what this is,” Flory-Evans said, clasping her hands in glee.
The group was there to present Flory-Evans with an innovative project grant of $800 so that she could bring the two-man show “Poe in Use,” to the school later this year. The show features one man reciting the works to the 19th century writer to the riffs provided by an electric guitar player.
In relating the news to her classroom, Flory-Evans shared her excitement with her students, explaining what Edgar Allan Poe meant to her and the influence he continued to have on literature.
The check-presenting group, which included Baldwin USD 238 Superintendent Paul Dorathy, Baldwin Education Foundation president Patty Irick and executive director Kathy Gerstner and donors, visited all four district schools, informing teachers Friday their grant applications had been selected for grant funding. When they were finished, 22 grants totaling nearly $12,000 had been awarded to 41 teachers.
The 22 grants awarded were chosen from more than 35 projects submitted by district teachers, Gerstner said.
“We had the most applications this year we’ve ever had, and this is the most awards we’ve ever done,” she said.
Grants from $52 to $800 were given for curriculum enhancing materials like the “Poe in Use,” iPods, e-readers, smart boards and other technology upgrades or character building programs such as a junior high program emphasizing interpersonal social skills in an age of texting and social media.
“Many students spend their time texting people when there are real people right in their presence,” said Baldwin Junior High School technology teacher Rachelle Patterson when receiving an $800 grant for the program. “It has a lot to do with issues we’re beginning to notice because of all of our technology.”
The Baldwin Educational Foundation raised the money for the grants from its annual spring luncheon, an alumni mailing and various other fundraisers. Also this year, it received memorials from the families of former Baldwin City police officer George Rebman, and former Baldwin High School teacher and football coach Merle Venable, and his son, Steve Venable.
“Our community is very generous,” Gerstner said. “We’re very appreciative of that.”
Dorathy said it was always fun to pass out money, especially when the checks allowed teachers to offer something that the school district’s budget couldn’t provide.
“All the money that everybody puts into this, this is what it was all about today,” he said. “For teachers to help kids in the classroom. It allows them to do things they don’t normally get to do.”