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Students to Benefit from Grants Awarded to Springfield Educators

About 30 volunteers helped the Springfield Public Schools Foundation surprise teachers across the city today.  They handed out Back to School grants for a variety of projects to benefit students.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

More than 100 Springfield Public School teachers, librarians and principals have money for special projects now after being surprised with grant awards today.

The Foundation for Springfield Public Schools sent volunteers to 43 schools to hand out more than $246,000 in funding.

One grant awarded today will allow Jarrett librarian, Karen Martin, to bring author April Henry to the school in November.  Kids who read three of Henry’s books will get to have lunch with her.  Martin hopes that will get the whole school reading.

"I've got a sixth grade boys group that's going to start reading one of her books tomorrow because I was so hopeful that I would get this, so I think that's going to encourage reading, which I believe as a librarian is so very important," she said.

Martin also received a grant to buy a set of app-enabled and programmable robots for her students.  She couldn’t believe both her requests were granted.

"Last night when I was saying my prayers I was like, 'oh, I just want both of them.'  I couldn't even pick one over the other," she said.

Phelps Center for Gifted Education teachers Carolyn Hurd and Lindsay Gathright received money for a trip to Nathanael Greene-Close Memorial Park to study science processes.

And Debbie Clary, who teaches science to grades 4, 5 and 6 at Phelps, received money for field trips.  Those, she said, will allow the students to see a practical application of chemistry.

"We learn about the periodic table, and we learn about gases and all different kinds of chemicals, but what do they actually do besides make water and make gases?  How do they use them?  And so now when they see a neon sign out in the world they say, 'yeah, I know what that is,' and when they talk about double-glazed windows that have argon gas in them, that's important for them," she said.

Clary plans to take her chemistry students to Springfield Hot Glass and Pinnacle Sign Company.

The Back to School grants are made possible through donations from community members, businesses and individuals.