Two Hamilton County Schools awarded $50,000 Leonore Annenberg grants

East Ridge Elementary students Jaelyn, Josh, Boeyden, Malachi, Johnny and Makayla, from left, stand with HomeBound founder Kelsey Butler.

East Ridge Elementary and DuPont Elementary will get major library upgrades thanks to a grant from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children.

Each school will receive a $50,000 grant, and these awards mark the tenth and final year of grants from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children. The fund has given $7 million to 91 public elementary schools that are in financial need and serve a high proportion of children from families living in poverty over the past decade.

photo Garrett Payne uses an iPad at DuPont Elementary school Tuesday morning. The school has purchased dozens of iPads for use in their fourth- and fifth-grade classes to familiarize the students with the idea of using technology to find information.

DuPont plans to remodel and repurpose the existing library into the "Epicenter of Learning and Collaboration." The center will have new books and e-readers, along with refurbished areas dedicated to technology, along with a "Mealtime Conversation" learning lab.

East Ridge will build a "Synergy Station," that will provide students with updated reading materials, literary technology and new seating.

This is the eighth year the Public Education Foundation and the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children have partnered to support 14 area schools, and more than $1 million has been distributed to schools in southeast Tennessee.

Previous local grants have funded diverse projects including a reading lab, multimedia facility, art studio, media center, classroom technology, playground improvements, science lab, classroom book nooks, Chromebooks, a student leadership program, software, and technology upgrades.

Dan Challener, president of PEF, said Leonore Annenberg was committed to improving the lives of children, particularly those who, with support, will become leaders.

"These grants certainly underscore the heart of her mission to provide students resources to help them shine brightly," Challener said in a statement.

Gail Levin, director of the Annenberg School Fund, which is administered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, said these grants have sought to create new learning opportunities for public elementary school students.

"We are grateful for the steady, hands-on support of our regional partner organizations, the commitment and passion of teachers and staff in each school recipient, and especially the children who gave joy and meaning to our collective efforts," Levin said.

Leonore Annenberg was the U.S. Chief of Protocol for President Ronald Reagan and wife of the late Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg. Leonore Annenberg established the grants to support her lifelong commitment to public service, education and the arts.