Armed with balloons, bells and silly string, members of the Copperas Cove Education Foundation presented teachers at eight schools with grant checks Tuesday morning.
With more than $30,000, the grants were split between teachers who had developed original teaching ideas that wouldn’t fit into the district’s annual budget.
Lisa Mullen, a physical education assistant, and Teegan Carpenter, a music teacher, at Martin Walker Elementary School were presented with $576 to purchase an Xbox Kinect system to supplement the school’s “Fun and Fitness” PE program.
“We’ve seen a system in ... catalogs and we just thought it looked neat,” Mullen said.
“Instead of purchasing a full big system, which is around $15,000, we decided to slowly start putting our own system together piece by piece.”
The funds were available by Tuesday afternoon, and both teachers were excited to purchase the new system and different cardio and dance games.
“We had received a grant from the Education Foundation last year and weren’t sure we were going to be so lucky this year,” Carpenter said.
“Two years in a row is a surprise for us. It’s exciting.”
Other schools received grants between $1,700 and $4,947 to support e-books, robotics and other technology programs.
President of the Education Foundation board, Bradi Diaz, said 23 applications were received for grant funds this year.
“We look for innovative teaching ideas, something where (teachers are) thinking outside the box to grasp the students attention,” Diaz said.
“Teachers are always elated, because they are able to do things in a classroom they wouldn’t be able to do through a normal funding stream.”
Interrupting a class to present a large check, said Diaz, doesn’t hurt the teacher’s excitement either.
Money for the grants was raised at fundraisers conducted throughout the year by the Education Foundation.
Last year, the foundation presented more than $25,500 in grants and met its goal of presenting more than $30,000 this year.
“We’re just really excited,’ said Mullen.
“I just got message from the principal that funds are available. We’re hoping they get it in to use next week or the week after."