A series of grants recently announced by the Bexley Education Foundation will support technology to help Bexley City School District students learn in innovative ways.

The foundation awarded grants totaling $50,937 in the fourth quarter of 2017 to fund the purchase of electronic readers and tablet computers to assist students who struggle with reading and writing; seating options that enable teachers to configure classrooms to best fit students' needs; and several other initiatives.

In evaluating the grant requests teachers had submitted, "we look at the most students reached, the most impact and creativity, innovation and teacher collaboration," said Pamela Glasgow, the foundation's executive director.

"The grants tend to fall into three categories: learning environments, technology and special projects," she said.

School librarians across the district were awarded $7,000 to pilot an eReader lending program. The electronic readers will provide digital access to books required for class reading and deliver audio for struggling readers.

Montrose Elementary School intervention specialists were awarded $4,468 to purchase 10 tablet computers to support students who struggle with writing. The tablets will enable the students to use voice-activated technology to dictate their writing.

"Technology continues to impact the world of education," Glasgow said.

A $2,500 grant will be used to expand seating options in a Bexley High School world language classroom to include balance-ball chairs and other unconventional arrangements.

In addition, Montrose Elementary was awarded $17,544 while Cassingham Elementary School received $10,289 to purchase rocking chairs, cushions and other options to create less rigid classroom environments, Glasgow said.

"It's really an expansion into the two other elementary schools" after Maryland Elementary School previously received a similar grant, she said. "They really want to meet kids where they are -- students who want to get up and move around."

Other grants include:

* $2,300 for Bexley Middle School math classroom technology that enables teachers to access real-time data and ensure math students are understanding the concepts they are learning.

* $1,211 to provide new technology to the middle school's Active Voice Documentary project. Seventh- and eighth-grade students in gifted-language arts classes will conduct research and create documentaries that will be screened during a film festival at the Drexel Theatre.

* $4,350 to bring the Freedom Sings program of the national interactive Newseum to Bexley elementary and middle school students. The program explores the First Amendment through music and will culminate with a community concert.

* $1,275 to match funds raised by the district's Special Education Parent Teacher Organization. The funds will be used for the See Me in Books program, which purchases books that feature main characters with disabilities, increasing the awareness and inclusion of students with special needs.

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