Calera Elementary School receives Carmax Foundation grant for science lab

Published 4:21 pm Monday, November 4, 2013

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

When Calera Elementary second grade teacher Kristina Harper inquired about the Carmax Foundation Regional Grant Award last spring, the school received a visit from Carmax’s Atlanta Regional Manager. Participation in the program is by invitation only.

“He invited us to apply for the grant at that point,” Harper said. “I worked over the summer getting the information together, getting a budget written and writing the grant, which was submitted in July. I received an email the first of October informing me we had been awarded $10,000, the highest amount given.”

Recipients of the award must be a nonprofit organization that promote educational opportunities, youth leadership or wellness and show a need based upon demand for the program or population served by the program. At CES, the grant will stock the science lab with furniture, safety equipment and materials to provide activities that will extend the school’s AMSTI (Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative) activities.

CES science teacher Bari Rasco was hired when the science lab was implemented. “Kindergarten and 1st grade will come every other week, 2nd grade every week,” Rasco said. “Right now we are learning about the water cycle and growing a tadpole.”

AMSTI Math/Science Specialist Kimberly Davis said she is excited about the wonderful things happening at CES.

“I am excited about this because instruction kids get in the classroom will be reinforced through hands-on teachings in the science lab,” she said. “Sometimes science is put on the back burner, but this school is realizing the importance of giving every subject a fair playing field.”

Principal Celita Deem said funding is difficult to come by. When the school does get funding, it is used for technology and commodity-type items the school needs in order to keep teachers from paying out of their own pockets.

“Having something like this to instill a love of science at such in early age will make a huge impact,” she said.

An outdoor classroom will be added so students can see what they are learning about in books. Harper’s goal is for students to find something they love to use in higher education and careers.