Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence (TFAE) has provided a total of $77,105.82 in grants to Terrebonne Parish public school teachers for the 2019-2020 school year.
Members of TFAE and the school board traveled from school to school today, delivering checks to surprised recipients.
The TFAE Innovative Ed-Venture Grant, which “encourages teachers to submit bold and innovative ideas and projects that would actively engage their students,” was awarded to 10 teachers. The grants ranged from $263 to $14,400.
The highest one — $14,400 — was given to Terrebonne High School teacher Rayemona Boyd for a high-tech, fully functioning science lab for her students.
“I'm so excited. I think I've written two or three grants in the last 21 years — never really got funded. Maybe have gotten a few little things here and there, but this is by far and large the biggest donation,” she said. “This equipment is so expensive that the school could not afford to purchase it. The district has shown interest, but again, it's a rather large amount. So, we would have had to do a lot of fundraising. TFAE has done that fundraising for us, and we are very appreciative.”
Other Innovative Ed-Venture Grants recipients include Broadmoor Elementary School teacher Allyson Fonseca, who is taking her fourth graders on a field trip to learn about westward expansion by taking a real train ride; Bayou Black Elementary School teacher Trisha Authement, who is creating a “makerspace” library that includes technology, coding tools and hands-on activities; and Houma Jr. High School (HJH) teacher Rae Bangs, who is using the funds to acquire technology and hands-on materials for her special needs class to learn about coding.
“I'm going to give them an opportunity to do problem solving on a different level, especially with coding,” Bangs said after she received the grant. “That's something that they've never done before.”
“[The grant] is going to let them explore the different things that are conductive to make the closed circuits. So, we'll give them experience that they’ve never had as well,” added HJH teacher Jennifer Hopkins, whose “Closing the Gap with Closed Circuits” project awarded her a $1,511.49 grant.
In addition to the Innovative Ed-Venture Grants, TFAE also handed out 77 New Teacher Grants. Teachers new to teaching — or new to a subject or school — each received the $500 grant. TFAE aims to ease the financial burden for these teachers by funding such classroom necessities as crayons, pencils, papers, storage and dry erase boards, among other items, through this grant.
TFAE also partnered with The Bayou Board of Realtors to provide three teachers with the Bayou Board of Realtors Journey to Careers Grants, which awards funds to teachers of a business or career class.
Since 2012, the local non-profit TFAE has awarded over $1 million grant dollars to Terrebonne Parish public school teachers. TFAE’s grants are funded through donations made to the organization’s endowment as well as direct donations to the grant program.
“The teachers of our parish are so dedicated to their students. It is incredibly inspiring to see firsthand,” TFAE Executive Director Katie Portier said. “They deserve all the support they can get. Thanks to our many donors and sponsors, TFAE is proud to be able to offer grants to help teachers and students achieve academic excellence.”