Grant will fund ‘desk pets’ to teach math, personal finance, art and technology

114
From left are School Board President Steven Harris, A+ Coalition Chairperson and Natchitoches Parish Library Director Jessica McGrath, Grant Recipient Iris Yount, Chamber President Laura Lyles and Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi.

The A+ Coalition, an initiative of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, announces the recipient of the 2021-22 STEAM in Education grant. Iris Yount, a fifth grade English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics teacher at Fairview Alpha Elementary will be awarded $6,800 in materials such as an air print printer and Apple pencils.  The materials purchased through this grant will enable students to do a special project entitled “Picture This.”

Students will be given “desk pets” to care for throughout the year. Their desk pets will be their companion in their classroom studies, and assist the student by helping them visualize what they are learning. Additionally, students will be learning financial planning and budgeting by tracking their “earnings” and “expenses” for the desk pets. Through this project, students will learn to utilize their tools to create, build and/or problem solve. This project comprises three of the five subject areas encompassed by the grant: technology, arts and mathematics.

This article published in the Sept. 16, 2021, print edition
Motel 6

“Today’s students are surrounded by technology both at home and in the classroom but most often it is not in their hands or not used as a productive tool,” writes Yount in her grant application. “The primary purpose of this project is to directly impact student skills and confidence in using current technology for productive purposes, to give students a way to visually express their understanding of concepts in ELA and math, and create awareness of the impact of their actions on their personal economy.”

Fairview Alpha Elementary is a rural school with students in grades PK-6 where 85% of the students are from low socio-economic backgrounds.

The A+ Coalition formally recognized Yount at the Natchitoches Parish School Board meeting Thursday, Sept. 9.  “We are excited to be able to award this year’s grant for such a versatile and impactful project,” states Chamber President and A+ Coalition committee member Laura Lyles.

The A+ Coalition, an education initiative of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, offers a platform for organizations and individuals to get involved, stay informed and give of their time and resources to make an impact on and advance education in Natchitoches Parish.