The Verizon Foundation awarded $5,000 grants to 10 Tennessee schools and school systems to enhance their science, technology, engineering and math programs using resources at Thinkfinity.org, an educational website with free materials for teachers and students.
• Brentwood High School (Williamson County)
• Franklin County School District
• Gallatin Senior High School (Sumner County)
• Homestead Elementary (Cumberland County)
• Lake City Middle School (Anderson County)
• Rhea County Schools
• Stone Elementary School (Cumberland County)
• Union City Schools (Union City, Tenn., in Obion County)
• William James Middle School (Dickson County)
• Woodbury Grammar School (Cannon County)
Source: Verizon Foundation
Two area school systems were among 10 in Tennessee that got part of $50,000 in grants awarded by a national cellphone company foundation to enhance teacher development and pay for training so they can boost student performance.
Regionally, Franklin County Schools and Rhea County Schools each got a $5,000 slice of the money pie aimed at enhancing science, technology, engineering and math programs -- known among educators as "STEM" programs. Franklin and Rhea were among 10 grant recipients to receive funding, Verizon Foundation officials said.
Rhea's grant allowed Rhea County High School chemistry teachers Stephanie Able and James Harrison to attend the Tennessee Science Teachers Association annual conference in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Rhea County assistant director and secondary education supervisor Walta Tolliver said.
All high school juniors under the Tennessee Diploma Project must take either chemistry or physics, Tolliver said, so the extra help in the area of science and technology is well-timed to help teachers deliver the material better.
"We'll compare their spring ACT scores with their sophomore plan scores," she said.
The grant for the Franklin County School District will allow the district to implement the use of the foundation's Thinkfinity.org site for professional development for about 20 teachers, according to Franklin County Director of Schools Rebecca Sharber.
Franklin's school staff already has a "Thinkfinity" trainer on board so funding could be spread around more, Sharber said.
"We are using it with three schools who were targeted under No Child Left Behind for reading," she said. Teachers at Decherd and Rock Creek elementary schools and South Middle school will get needed training to boost students' performance, she said.
The other eight recipients were scattered across Tennessee, two of them elementary schools in Cumberland County, according to the foundation's news release.
Cumberland's Homestead Elementary will use funding to support the Going the Extra Mile for Students and Helping Our People Excel programs, and Stone Elementary will fund implementation of science and engineering clubs and give students access to scientific instruments, officials said.