SURPRISE! The Board of Directors for the Foundation for Educational Excellence recently had the distinct pleasure of presenting $500 checks to (10) first and second year teachers across Beaufort county as part of the Building A Teacher’s Toolkit initiative.
“It was a special treat to see the reaction of these new educators as we surprised them with their grant checks,” stated committee chair for the initiative, Cindy Sturgis. “Some were even brought to tears! It was a sweet reminder of why The Foundation works hard to help these passionate teachers."
These “toolkit” funds are intended to help ease the needs beyond regular school supplies for new teachers in the Beaufort County School District (BCSD). We were excited to see the number of applicants this year…demonstrating the need for this type of assistance. It not only helps the teachers monetarily, but also lets them know that we are “in their court” as they begin their career.
First launched in late 2021, Building A Teacher’s Toolkit was spurred by interest and discussions with Foundation Board members - many who are retired educators. These board members are aware of the struggles that new teachers often have in the classroom their first few years.
Did you know that for the 2022/2023 Beaufort County school year, there were over 250 new teachers in the district? We wanted to recognize these valued new teachers! So, The Foundation committed to annually awarding $500 grants to first and second year teachers in the BCSD to help them purchase supplies and valuable teaching tools for their classrooms or schools.
But we couldn’t have done it alone! We are so thankful to say that this was a TRUE community effort. This grant cycle, the Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island (WAHHI) awarded funds towards the initiative for grants for schools south of the Broad. And a generous Board member, Chris Epps, with Incircle Architectural firm, funded 1 of the grants in memory of long time educator, Mrs. Rachel T. Tiller. With the help of both contributors and funds raised by the Foundation, we were able to award (10) grants this year.
Some of the proposed supplies were books, white boards, puzzles, and flashcards. Typical teacher things. But a handful of the educators got even more creative – requesting funds for flexible seating options, stress relief items and musical instruments for their students. The common thread was that all the supplies are helping to create more hands-on learning opportunities and improve the learning environment for students. That “thread” is something the Foundation feels very passionate about! Students benefiting from the grants include Pre-K through high school across the district.
“We are thrilled to help these newer educators build their ‘toolkits’ one piece at a time,” explains Lisa Carroll, Foundation Board Chair. “As they begin this invaluable career, having the right tools is paramount to providing a great classroom and schoolwide environment for their students.”
The educators receiving grants included: