Bright Ideas grant

Monica Daniel, Midway Hills Primary School

Tri-County EMC recently surprised 24 teachers in Baldwin, Jasper, Jones and Putnam Counties with educational grants totaling $30,000. Since 2008, Tri-County Electric Membership Cooperative has provided more than $300,000 in grants to local schools. Funded by unclaimed capital credits, the grants help teachers improve education in their classrooms through innovative projects that would otherwise not be funded. Georgia certified public or private school teachers in grades Pre-K through 12 in Baldwin, Jones, Putnam, Jasper, Twiggs and Wilkinson counties qualify to apply.

This year, outside judges evaluated the 67 blind applications that were submitted for innovation, goals, objectives, student involvement and budget. Thanks to all teachers who applied in 2020 and we look forward to seeing your applications in 2021.


Gloria CaldwellDames Ferry Elementary School

Growing Great Readers, $1,500

This project will allow children who are struggling in reading and math to grow as readers by using the Guided Readers Books set. By putting more books in these children’s hands, their learning ability will be enhanced, and hopefully their love for learning will be as well.

Amelia DiPietro, Gray Station Middle School

Student Connect, $1,481.19

Research has shown that when students are actively engaged, learning skyrockets. With funds from this grant, students will be equipped with remote clicker devices to participate in classroom activities. The goal is to increase student engagement in classroom lessons while incorporating technology to make learning fun.

Layla FrostClifton Ridge Middle School

Interactive Board in a PEC Classroom, $1,500

This project will allow students in a PEC classroom to have a new creative way of learning interactively while using kinesthetic and visual learning skills. The goal is for learning to be able to take place in a technologically advanced way and allow students to learn using different learning strategies.

Heather Jackson, Gray Elementary School

Headphones for Successful Learning, $1,302.03

The goal of this project is to increase the students’ ability to learn letters, sounds and numbers and ultimately increase their reading and math skills. By purchasing microphones and headphones, students will be able to record and listen to themselves reading. Headphones will also increase opportunities for independent learning through targeted assessment-driven lessons.

Lauren Hoffman, Jones County Pre-K

Light Up A Sensational Sensory Room, $1,462.08

Funds from this grant will allow a sensory room to be enhanced with sensory lights, seating, mirrors, sensory tiles, manipulatives and interactive wall panels.

Dana Hutchison, Jones County High School

Collaboration is Key, $1,193.40

With the purchase of collaborative tables, the goal of this project is to create a cooperative learning environment for students who may struggle with academics/motivation and need a different type of support than a traditional student.

Lisa Mullis, Wells Elementary School

Orff Instruments, $1,439.99

This project will grow the music program at the school by allowing the purchase of barred instruments with several octaves that produce a richer sound, such as a xylophone. By using the Orff approach to teaching music, students will have hands on experiences with the opportunity to be creative and make their own melodies both on their own and with other students.

Rusty Owens, Dames Ferry Elementary School

Dark, Camera Action!, $1,275.85

In previous STEM research, students determined there is a growing mosquito population around the school that could be controlled by attracting more bats into the ecosystem. This project would allow students to safely estimate the bat population on the campus with the use of infrared trail cameras.

Sarah Tanner, Jones County High School

Science and Crime, $1,497.50

The goal of this project is to build the forensic science program by creating a hands-on learning environment where students can explore the science behind crime scene investigation in every unit of study.

Mary Christin White, Dames Ferry Elementary School

Plant These, Save the Bees, $1,095.98

This grant will allow students to plant four raised pollinator gardens to attract bees as well as other pollinators. This will supplement their research of declining bee populations and colony collapse disorder.




Linda Colwell, Lakeview Primary School

Amazing Mirrors, $1,208

This grant will allow students with special needs to use mirrors to become more expressive and practice social behaviors taught in the classroom.

Monica Daniel, Midway Hills Primary School

From Pots to Pans: Sowing Knowledge and Seeds, $525

Students will learn patience, consistency and how to care for the environment by creating a school garden. Students will apply their writing and math skills by journaling their progress and science skill by tracking watering, placement of containers and sun exposure.  

Tammy Fietkau, John Milledge Academy

Innovation Station, $1,258.23

The basis, goal and need of this project is to provide students with enriching learning experiences through a Makerspace/STEM lab. With the purchase of STEM materials, students can come together to design, create and explore through inquiry-based learning.

Joycelyn Robinson, Midway Hills Primary School

Growing Engineers: STEMulate our Learning!, $1,409.95

Through this project, students will develop critical thinking skills through the use of exploration, trial and error, and reasoning with the use of Mobile STEM Labs. 

Andrea Sammons, Georgia Military College

Art Around the World, $1,302.03

This project combines both Art and Georgraphy by allowing students to learn about different cultures by creating artwork derived from cultures around the world.

Janice Zeigler, Oak Hill Middle School

Read Woke at Oak Hill, $1,500

With this project, students will be challenged to read books that challenge the social norm and give voice to the voiceless. It will allow students to have a safe space to read about and discuss important issues of the day and how those issues impact their daily lives.





Tyson Harty, Jasper County High School

Building and Audio Video Studio, $1,500

The goal of this project is to enhance the growing AV/filmmaking program at Jasper County high school with the purchase of new and upgraded equipment. This will allow students to be more competitive in national film contests and festivals.

Amanda Jenkins, Jasper County Primary School

Good Things are Croppin’ Up, $1241.60

The goal of this project is to create a student-centered farm which will allow students to observe and participate in the preparation of the soil to the harvesting of the crops. The farm will be used to support students in STEM-based learning, community outreach and a healthy lifestyle.

Laura Rolader, Jasper County Middle School

Project Wet, $874.81

The purchase of a ground water table will allow students to engage in learning opportunities related to erosion, new landforms and water cycles.



Amy Butler, Putnam County Primary School

STEM Station Superstars, $1489.78

By using Osmo, STEM learning bins and LEGO sets, students will enhance Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills through the use of hands-on learning experiences. 

Angela Farley, Putnam County Primary School

Texts For Me, $1,277.21

This project will benefit students by increasing their reading level and motivation to read by purchasing multiple sets of leveled books so students can read to their level.

Christina Hinz, Putnam County High School

Outdoor Learning Space, $1,495

This project will create an outdoor learning space for high-school students to plant and grow a garden, complete outside science projects and outdoor literacy lessons.

Summer Rhodes, Putnam County Primary School

Adventures in Storytelling, $541.04

By expanding the classroom’s library, budding readers will be kept engaged with the ability to read new books each day.  New reading material will keep budding readers interested and encourage a love of reading.

Becky Wall, Putnam County Elementary School

Virtual Reality for PCES, $1,427.90

With the purchase of iPods and Virtual Reality Headsets, students will be able to take virtual field trips, visit ecosystems and hold and observe 3D objects. Students will have immersive experiences without ever having to leave the classroom.

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