Tullahoma Schools receive nearly $80,000 from Tullahoma Educational Foundation for Excellence

During the summer months, Tullahoma City Schools received exciting news as it learned that the Tullahoma Educational Foundation For Excellence had approved several grant requests totaling $79,999.02.

“I am so thankful for the Tullahoma Educational Foundation For Excellence,” said TCS Director of Schools, Dr. Catherine Stephens. “This foundation continues to prove yearly the commitment to ensuring that all students and staff members flourish. These grants go a long way to providing our students and staff members with a plethora of new educational opportunities. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank the foundation enough for their work toward making these grants possible.”

Bel-Aire Elementary School received $27,950, which will go toward Boxlight Interactive Panels. Grant author Jordan Dilley stated that the goal is to replace all of the interactive whiteboards in each classroom at the elementary school. With the grant approval, Bel-Aire can purchase 10 Boxlight Interactive Panels for Bel-Aire.

“With these devices, up to 10 students will be able to participate interactively during our lessons,” Dilley said. “I am so thankful to be able to give equal access to interactive learning to all students in our school building. Thank you to the Tullahoma Educational Foundation For Excellence for making this dream a reality.”

Tullahoma Virtual Academy received $15,000 for its mobile coffee shop. With the grant, TVA and the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department at Tullahoma High School plan to join forces in developing a school-based enterprise project, a student-operated mobile coffee shop.

“We are extremely excited for the students of Tullahoma Virtual Academy and Tullahoma High School to have this opportunity,” said TVA Director Dr. Greg English. “Building off the design of our onsite learning lab, the TVA Cafe, we chose to propose a mobile coffee shop. The goal was to involve students from as many CTE departments as possible at some point during the project. We are currently completing the primary purchase for the project, a 16′ double axle cargo trailer. The transformation of the trailer into a concession trailer will be completed by our welding and machining students.”

Business, marketing, digital arts and broadcast media students will begin developing the business model. Additionally, they will learn about the applicable regulations and codes, naming the business, designing and creating logos for the trailer, marketing materials to advertise the business and opening and running the business.

“We understand the value that work-based learning opportunities provide for our students and community,” said THS CTE Director Jessie Kinsey. “This grant will allow TCS students to develop a school-based enterprise from the ground up. We are grateful for the generosity of the Tullahoma Educational Foundation For Excellence, and this will certainly improve the educational experience for TCS students for many years to come.”

Tullahoma High School saw three grant proposals approved for $16,246.80. The most significant sum went to the visual arts department at the high school for a grant titled Back to the Drawing Board. In the proposal, author Kelly Orr noted that she wants to help prepare the visual arts program for the art and design workforce.

“To say I’m ecstatic about this grant being approved is an understatement,” Orr said. “My goal as the visual art teacher at Tullahoma High School is to build a studio space that promotes exploration and collaboration in creating art and design with current technology.  With the grant money, we can purchase 10 additional iPad sets. Our fine art students will be able to explore & create like never before using iPads and the best software, preparing for innovative careers in animation, graphic design, illustration and interactive media design.”

The e-sports lab at Tullahoma High School was the recipient of $3,227 from the latest grant. With the funds, the e-sports club is committed to purchasing LED lights and lamps and gaming consoles and controllers for students to compete. Additionally, the grant funds will go toward purchasing 20 gaming headphones.

The goal of the grant is to help bring students together and provide a way for students to continue to do something they are passionate about while also learning about teamwork, socialization, communication, critical and strategic thinking. Additionally, the grant will allow students to rise in leadership positions as game coaches and team chairs and engage students in school life and academics by providing a safe place to be involved. Lastly, the goal is to help students earn opportunities for college and scholarship opportunities that would otherwise be nonexistent.

Tullahoma High School also received $1,150 for a Change Mindsets and Behavior grant. The funds will be used to purchase the behavior flip program and headphones for students in the Alternative Learning School. The program aims to develop a positive learning culture and support students with interventions and restorative practices. The program will help students and staff in making these changes and continuing with success.

Little Cats Learning Academy received $5,738.50 from two approved grants. The daycare will use $3,085.50 for professional development for staff members. The additional $2,653 will be used for STEM equipment and materials to help students explore their curiosity, creativity and inventive thinking.

“First, it’s so exciting to have these grants approved,” said Little Cats Learning Academy Director Fawn Briggs. “This professional learning will provide our teachers with the confidence to manage classroom behaviors, support each developmental domain and provide a positive, loving environment for our children. The funds will also cover CPR training for each staff member so that we are all prepared in an emergency. We are so appreciative of the opportunity to enhance the environment for our children. This is such a blessing that the Tullahoma Educational Foundation For Excellence has given to Tullahoma’s littlest learners.”

East Middle School received $4,013.77 for a grant titled Creation in the Classroom. The project aims to take engineering, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) creation and 3D modeling to a higher level to create full-scale, usable objects for the school. The largest portion of the funds will be used to purchase a Prusa Original XL Filament Printer to aid in that objective.

“One of our biggest goals of this project is to teach students how to design and solve problems quickly and efficiently,” said grant author Drew Cochrane. “We have been able to use 3D printing and modeling in our classroom to create tools, common household items and student-inspired art projects. We plan to identify needs within the school that can be met by modeling and printing.” 

Robert E. Lee Elementary School received $1,049.95 for its grant titled Make the Stories Come Alive. The school will purchase fairy tale and folk tale kits from Lakeshore Learning for students to use in small groups to work through scenarios to learn critical thinking and problem-solving.

West Middle School received $10,000 in grant funds used during the summer months, as Future Business Leaders of America had 15 Bobcats represent Tullahoma at the National Leadership Conference in Chicago. During the competition, West saw five students place, as Lillian Villamar, Ellie Simpson, Edward Henry, Thomas Anderson and Jonathan Rathjen Vallejos all received national recognition.

“I wish somebody had been keeping up with overall TN FBLA statistics regarding placements because I think West would have been close to a state record,” said West FBLA Advisor Franklin Cammack. “I know it is the best Middle-Level performance that Tennessee has had. What a great conference it was for our West Middle School students. I want to especially thank the Tullahoma Educational Foundation For Excellence for the $10,000 grant awarded, which helped make this trip for our WMS FBLA students possible. Knowing we had those grant funds and the donation money from many businesses across Tullahoma made this whole thing a reality for our students.”

During a presentation, Jim Woodard, President of the Tullahoma Educational Foundation For Excellence, expressed his appreciation for not only the grant authors but all TCS staff members.

“Myself and the other board members are always honored to support our educators in this first-rate school system,” Woodard said. “During the grant application and award process, we focus on supporting excellence in education. Through this process, we put our beliefs and words into action. I am excited to hear from our grant recipients about their successes in the near future.”

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. News and Sports Director for Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1, and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (31 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 4,002 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served four years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for six years at Grundy County High School.

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