The Austintown Alumni Association awarded $1,500 in mini-grants to Austintown teachers last month. The grants will enable the purchase of supplies and programs to enhance learning for Austintown students.
''The mini-grants supplement curriculum in the classroom,'' said association member Patti Griffin. ''It helps fund something that is not covered under the school's budget.''
This year's grant winners were Gina Cardillo from Fitch; Tracey Mackovick, Susan McCree, Jared Thomas and Angela Yohman from Austintown Middle School; Heather Landgraver, Dana Patrick and Joya Villani from Austintown Intermediate School; and from Austintown Elementary School, Kelley Mills and Julie Toth.
Photos Special to the Town Crier
Austintown Alumn Association member Bill Sulenski poses with Austintown teachers Susan McCree, Angela Yohman, Kelly Mills and Jared Thomas after they were named recipients of the association's mini-grants recently.
Alumni Association member Bill Sulenski said each year there is a limit for the grant amount.
''It all depends on how much money we have from donations and our fall raffle,'' he said. ''This year's limit was $150 per grant.''
The Alumni Association does a raffle at the annual Athletic Hall of Fame game that brings part of the funds for the grants. Some of the proceeds are used for scholarships as well.
''We give out scholarships to graduating seniors,'' Griffin said. ''Last year we gave out eight scholarships.''
For the mini-grants, teachers fill out an application. Normally it involves materials, technology, and programs that would not be covered under the school district's budget. It can be anything from books, CDs and materials that enhance the subject being taught. As an example, one of this year's mini-grants will be used to purchase materials to construct a model of a plant cell and an animal cell for a science class.
Once the teachers submit the applications, the next step is reviewing them. The association elects a panel on members who go through the applications and select the ones that would have the biggest impact on the students in that classroom.
''We get more requests than we have money for,'' Griffin said. ''The committee looks at every one of the applications, and they have to see how each request will work and benefit the students.''
The committee doesn't have an easy time deciding who gets the mini-grants, but they have to select the number based on the year's funds.
Once the decision is made, the teachers are awarded the grants. Griffin said the association has been giving out the mini-grants since 2001, and the members have seen the difference made in the classroom.