At their meeting Tuesday, members of the Greenville ISD Board of Trustees decided to give the $5,000 they received as part of an Excellence in Education Award to the Greenville Educational Enrichment Foundation to be used for teacher grants.
In January, GISD’s school board was announced as one of five finalists for the award, which is given out by Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B.
The criteria that H-E-B’s award committee used in its selection process in its Outstanding School Board category were:
• Designing and communicating a bold vision
• Identifying, assessing and prioritizing community needs
• Addressing and working through challenges
• Using creative methods for community engagement
At Tuesday’s school board meeting, the trustees and Superintendent Demetrus Liggins discussed what could be a good use for the cash award. The two options that, by far, gathered the most support were using the money for scholarships for graduating seniors, or handing it over the GEEF, to allow the foundation to address even more teachers’ instructional needs.
Each year, GEEF provides teacher grants for educational opportunities that aren’t otherwise funded by the state or city. In years past, funds raised by the foundation have been used to award grants to teachers for things ranging from new solid-state hard drives to chicken egg incubators for hands-on farming experience.
Because of H-E-B’s award being a “one time deal,” the members of the school board reached a consensus and decided that they would prefer that the funds be used for teacher grants, to purchase equipment and materials that could, in many cases, be used in classrooms for the next several years, rather than create a scholarship fund for this year only.
Typically, GEEF distributes the grants with a lively parade through the hallways of each campus, complete with a drumline, cheerleaders and members of the Flaming Flashes. But, this year – because of interruptions caused by COVID-19 – the foundation has decided to announce the grant recipients at the district’s convocation before the 2020-21 school year.
This year, GEEF received a total of 25 grant applications from teachers, GEEF liaison Amy Wade told the Herald-Banner.
Earlier this school year, in February, the foundation raised about $10,000 at its Eighth Annual Adult Spelling Bee. In addition to the spelling bee, the foundation also receives donations through voluntary teacher and staff payroll deductions, as well as donations for local businesses and individuals in the community.