Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 7, 2014

Kerens Education Foundation distributes grant awards

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Kerens — Members of the Kerens Education Foundation paid a surprise visit to the Kerens ISD campuses Friday, distributing grants for classroom use in Kerens schools.

A total of over $5,700 in awards were presented to four special programs that were selected from applications for the grants.

Several board members of the Kerens Education Foundation helped distribute special oversized checks to the teachers who applied for the grants, surprising them and their classrooms with the good news.

Grants were awarded Friday in support of programs including reading, science, technology and the school district’s “Bobcat Broadcast” webcast produced by students.

The Kerens group was formed in 2011, inspired by the successful Corsicana Education Foundation. Kerens board member Darcel Shelman had served on the Corsicana group’s board, and was part of the group that formed the Kerens effort.

Her husband, Tom Shelman, is the current president of the Kerens group. He said support for the Kerens Education Foundation has been strong.

“It comes from residents and from the teachers, too,” Shelman said. “It’s from a lot of people who want to give back to the schools and the teachers.”

Shelman said the importance of supporting and encouraging learning at an early age is well-documented.

“If you can really get them interested in science, math and technology at a young age, you can hold that all the way through college,” Shelman said. “If you can do that and make a cycle of that, you can make an impact on a nation ... one child at a time.”

Shelman said the group is also encouraging those who benefit from the Education Foundation’s giving to help others by “paying it forward.”

The grants awarded Friday included $2,095 for a project called “Brain Pop” — an educational website for children and people who work closely with them. The site specializes in teaching concepts in fields including social studies, science, math, engineering, current events and other areas in ways that help engage the students in all grades. The program is accessible by students, teachers and parents via traditional computers and tablets.

Also receiving funding in the amount of $1,516 was a program for the school’s aquatic science program that will help pay for two large aquariums that would be maintained by students to help teach concepts including fish farming, the ecology of Texas species, hydroponic plants and farming, and even chemistry in relation to the testing of water samples.

A grant for $1,914 awarded for a wireless learning center library will go to help fund a “listening center” that will allow several children to listen to a book on CD at one time. Educators say the program will help build listening skills and reading comprehension in the classroom.

The foundation also provided a grant for equipment to support the daily web-based video production of the “Bobcat Broadcast” — a student produced newscast of activities taking place in the Kerens ISD. The $224 grant will help pay for a new microphone system for the video project.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com