Creative ideas can get county schools $350,000 in grants
by Lindsay Field
August 05, 2012 12:54 AM | 2447 views | 4 4 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Cobb Schools is awarding up to $350,000 in grants to county schools that develop an idea to encourage creativity and innovation in the classroom.

“We’re trying to do something different with some of our existing resources and redeploying them so that we can get new ideas from the principals and the teachers, not from us,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa said. “I think the community would be excited that we are taking some of our current dollars and redirecting them to try and spur some innovation.”

The Promising Practices Competitive Grant will be awarded to 10 schools “promising practice that is creative and innovative in approach,” according to Chief Academic Officer Dr. Judi Jones’ description of the grant in a letter to Hinojosa last week.

Hinojosa said Jones introduced the grant idea to him a few months ago when his staff began revising the Strategic Plan that was originally set to run through 2014.

“We said, ‘Look, what do we need to do to try and get these things going in our district?’ It just kind of came from her division, her staff. She brought it to us and we said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s a great idea,’” Hinojosa said.

Each school can apply for up to $35,000 to implement the ideas for the 2012-13 school year. Schools were notified two weeks ago about the grant, for which applications are due Aug. 17.

“(The grant) provides them the opportunity to think about innovative ways to instruct our students and to try them out and learn if they work,” Jones said. “If we find some outstanding practices that can be replicated in other schools across the county, there will be the opportunity for those receiving the grants to share with their colleagues the best ways to implement them.”

Schools can apply for the grant under any of the following categories: cultivating a positive environment, incorporating STEM initiatives, expanding literacy, innovative assessment practices, building leadership capacity and instructional innovations.

The funding can be used for an array of things, including approved technology needs, substitute teachers for teacher training, materials and supplies, contracted services and instructor pay.

Jones said a team of central office staff will review the applications.

Hinojosa said the idea for the grant did not come from any lessons learned at the Model Schools Conference in Orlando, Fla., the last week of June. Nearly 150 Cobb Schools employees attended the four-day conference to learn more about technology-based learning and innovative teaching methods.
Comments
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How do you apply?
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August 06, 2012
I work for CCSD as a teacher and I'm equally concerned about where these funds come from but wise enough to know that they provide a great opportunity that shouldn't be wasted. Heck, the money will get spent...might as well be at my school to help those in our community.

I was not notified of the opportunity to apply for this grant and would like to pursue it with a few innovative ideas that would really benefit the students at my school. Although, I can't find anything that links to an application for Cobb County. Does anyone have more info on how to apply?

Thanks in advance.
Miss Scarlett
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August 05, 2012
This is why I will never again vote for an education SPLOST. We really do have money to spend on upkeep, we just choose to spend it on ridiculous items like this and trips to Fla.! Come on School Board, you are wasting our money!
Teacher2112
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August 31, 2012
Wish I saw your comment earlier. Do you know what this could do for a classroom or community? This could completely change the future for a school. One component of getting the grant is to sustain it. I could do so much with this, it's incredible to think about. Closed minded, negative people such as "Miss Scarlett" aren't bright enough to realize the impact this could have. I'd like to use the technology to educate kids better than Miss Scarlett was.
JCB in Cobb
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August 05, 2012
How will this grant be funded? Where is this money coming from? Where did this idea come from? How, exactly, will the "winners" be chosen? What strings are attached to the funds?

Cobb is constantly claiming they are out of funds. We have cut teachers to the bone and expect more cuts for 2013-2014. Our teachers and paraprofessionals are making far less than they did four or five years ago--needing summer jobs simply to keep a roof over their families' heads. We have dilapidated buildings in some parts of this county, while others get brand spanking new Taj Mahals. We have schools that are making do with outdated materials and failing AC and electric systems, despite all the, largely unnecessary, fancy technology. We know we need new buses to get kids to school safely--and more bus drivers to drive them! We cannot even staff our school libraries adequately--let alone school cafeterias, after school programs, or non-athletic extracurriculars. We don't need more "creativity", we need more wise stewardship of county funds! Hinojosa needs to go, now! And, he can take the rest of the General's men (and women) with him. It is time we put real educator's in charge.

I, for one, remember when Cobb County was viewed as one of the very best in the Southeast. Now, we are a joke.
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