Cape teachers earn grants from CenturyLink
Two teachers from Cape Coral public schools got a big surprise Monday morning in their classrooms.
They learned they were among seven Lee County public school teachers to earn CenturyLink: Teachers & Technology grants for developing the best plans to implement technology in their classrooms, regardless of the subject they teach.
Shelly Chitwood, market development manager at CenturyLink, said the program, funded through the Clark A. Williams Foundation, is meant to bring communities together through K-12 education.
“We support our schools through technology grants. We have a broad range of teachers who apply for these grants who are innovative in implementing new ways to use technology for learning,” Chitwood said.
Jeanne Stratton, a K-5 STEM teacher at Gulf Elementary, and Quinn Schnabel, who teaches eighth-grade language arts at Diplomat Middle School, received the surprise visit from foundation president & CEO Marchall T. Bower and other officials from the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and CenturyLink.
Stratton received a $4,258 grant as a result of her involvement in Project Lead the Way, a group which is trying to teach children to be engineers through the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
Stratton, who said she usually isn’t at a loss for words, was tongue-tied when she learned she won, but managed to thank the administration for its hard work.
“It involves lots of technology and the school helped me buy 10 iPads and charging stations, but it needs more,” Stratton said. “We need to charge them all and make sure the kids have access to them.”
Gulf Elementary has partnered with FGCU, which has offered the training for the program, sending seven teachers, said principal Kim Verblaauw.
“With any new program, there are start-up costs that we would not ordinarily have in our budget. Thanks to the foundation and CenturyLink we will be able to continue this project,” Verblaauw said.
Schnabel, a Golden Apple finalist this year, got a $5,000 grant, which she will use to buy word processors to better the students’ typing skills.
“The kids will get a lot of use from it. They’ll be able to save files and use it at their desk instead of leaving the classroom,” Schnabel said, adding she constantly seeks grants from the foundation and other avenues.
“Quinn is a great teacher and she is using technology to make sure her students can use it in the real world for typing,” said principal Maura Bennington. “We want the students to be comfortable with typing and getting their thoughts down quickly and not pecking their letters.”
Of the 96 applications that were received statewide, 25 of them came from Lee County. Of the 25 winners, seven came from Lee County, by far the highest number of recipients in the state.