SAN ARDO — Four South County teachers were recently awarded Impact Grants totaling more than $2,000 from Aera Energy to provide financial support for school programs that enhance the academic development of local students.
“Helping local teachers and students helps to build a stronger community. That’s something we believe in strongly,” said Kathy Miller, Aera public affairs coordinator for Monterey County. “Teachers have great ideas and projects they’d like to bring to their students, but they don’t always have the funds to do so. We want to help bring some of those great ideas to life.”
Applicants must apply for the grants and provide a description of their desired project, how students will be impacted and how success of the project will be measured.
This year, grants were awarded to San Ardo Union Elementary School District teachers Amy Ardouin and Joanne Mapalo. Each teacher received $500 to boost their classroom libraries with new books.
“I have received a grant from Aera for several years now, which has enabled me to build a nice classroom library,” said Ardouin, who teaches fifth and sixth grade. “I started with virtually no books, and this year I expanded to a whole new bookcase. The books are a key part of helping my students develop a love for reading and to improve their literacy skills.”
Bradley Elementary School teachers Lindsay Lopez and Joan Tomooka also received grants.
Lopez’s grant for $575 will fund the purchase of non-fiction books as well as an area where students can read and discuss the books, complete with a comfortable couch.
Tomooka, who received a $500 grant, will use the funds to buy science supplies for her classroom.
“Aera’s grant has enabled me to purchase science equipment and supplies to enhance student participation in science lessons based on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics,” Tomooka said. “Student-scientists must practice critical thinking and be creative. By providing them with new lab coats, safety goggles, gloves, microscopes and books they can think and feel like a real scientist. It is motivating for them.”