Dishman and Treasure Hills receive grant for outdoor project

The students at Dishman and Treasure Hills Elementary School will soon have the opportunity to expand their knowledge in the great outdoors.

Claudia Pompa, kindergarten teacher at Dishman, Larisa Vento, first grade teacher at Treasure Hills, and Ranjhani Ramalingam, a parent and campus council member at Treasure Hills, were awarded the Lowes Toolbox for Education grant. The grant is given to teachers to fund school improvement projects and engage students in the learning process.

The $5,000 grant Dishman received will go to the Dishman Dynamo Learning Center. The center will be an outside educational facility where students can get together and learn from hands on experience. The facility will have a butterfly garden, birding area and a section for science related lessons.

“We are very fortunate to have received the grant,” said Irma Davis, principal at Dishman. “It speaks highly of our teachers to take that initiative.”

Treasure Hills will use their $2,380 grant to build the Connecting with Nature project. The project will allow students and staff members to come together and grow fruits and vegetables. They are also planning on placing bird feeders around the garden to attract local birds. To incorporate academics into the garden, the area will also be used as an outdoor classroom.

“We hope for students to find inspiration outside of classroom,” said Vento.

The grant brings excitement for what the projects will mean for students at both campuses. Those involved look forward to the opportunity to keep students active while promoting their basic understanding of science and the environment. They also hope to promote campus unity.

“The garden can be an excellent community connector,” said Ginger Armstrong, principal at Treasure Hills. “We already have organizations that want to volunteer to help our students get started.  It will be a great opportunity for our students to connect with the community they live in.”

Pompa and Vento credit the hard work of all those who helped get the information together in being awarded the grant. They worked diligently to get all of the details ready for consideration, and planning was key factor in their success.

Inspiration for the ideas came from their recent participation in the Stellar Workshop, which emphasized the benefit of incorporating physical activity with education.

Both campuses are planning to get started on their projects in the near future.

Campuses applied for the grant in October through a vigorous online application process. Over 100 schools were awarded grants from across the nation.

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