UnExPECTed Aid

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

Students in Carol Rupert’s class at Mooreville Middle School can read books together and look at microscopic slides much more easily this year.
Rupert was one of 46 educators in the district to receive a grant this year from ExPECT, which provides funds to teachers and administrators in Lee County Schools to buy equipment or materials.
Rupert, who teaches eighth-grade reading, used her $579 grant to buy an ELMO, a projector that uses a video camera.
The camera can display the pages of a book, allowing the entire class to read along even if Rupert has only one copy of that book. It can also display images seen through a microscope. Using just one microscope, the entire class can look at a slide simultaneously.
“It really has been a wonderful enhancement to the classroom,” Rupert said. “It allows me to be able to interact with students more than if I was just reading from my book and they were reading from theirs.”
ExPECT fully funded 29 grants this year and partially funded 17, doling out $27,352. It received about 80 requests, totaling more than $68,000.
Funding comes from United Way contributions, corporate donors and individual donors. It also comes from the dues of about 400 members. Annual dues are $50 for businesses, $20 for families and $10 for teachers. ExPECT treasurer Lynn Keith said all of that money funds grants.
Teachers submit grant proposals and a committee reviews them to determine which ones will be funded. The goal is to fund projects that teachers have no other resources to get.
“We try to look at how many students it is going to affect and if it is something that will last for a while,” ExPECT President Pamela Sanders said.

Other grants awarded include:
– Shannon Middle School eighth-grade math interventionist Robin Haygood – to purchase a computer program that displays the screen of her TI-84 graphing calculator on a projector board. The program also shows what keys she has recently pushed and makes it easier for students to follow what she is doing.
n Mooreville sixth-grade reading teacher Casi Dees – to buy $2,450 worth of classroom sets of books for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade reading and gifted students. She received about 50 titles, and many of them will be used for literature circles in which students will study a book as a small group.
– Shannon High School biology and earth science teacher Laurie Bishop – to get an LCD projector screen that allows her to display what is on her laptop. She said she uses it to show pictures and videos to her classes.
“The ExPECT committee has its work cut out for it every year,” said Shannon High School English teacher Ginny Miller, who received a $1,000 grant for an interactive touch-screen board. “There are always several innovative projects that are requested. It is a valuable tool for teachers.”

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.