Mini-grant funds boost instruction

JOHNSTOWN – The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education recently heard presentations from teachers on grants they received through the faculty union to improve their instruction.

Teachers gave mini-grant presentations to the board at its monthly meeting Wednesday at Knox Junior High School.

“Programs have been enhanced,” Superintendent Robert DeLilli said. “Things we’ve done in the classroom were made better.”

Every school year, each school building is encouraged to submit applications to the Johnstown Teachers Association for the so-called mini grants. The union has given out thousands of dollars in mini grants for projects at all the district’s school buildings over many years.

“Thank you to the JTA,” DeLilli said. “It’s very much appreciated.”

Elementary art teacher Julia Fisk said recent JTA mini-grant funding has helped in her classrooms, such as purchasing glaze for projects. Those projects included a shoe project for kindergartners, and clay projects in the third and sixth grades. She said in some projects, the children are “sad they couldn’t take them home right away.”

“I appreciate the money and the kids love doing it,” Fisk said.

Elementary school physical education teacher Cyndi Cromer said a mini grant helped purchase a new stereo system with a remote control for the Glebe Street Elementary School gym.

“My students love to exercise to music,” she stated.

Kristin Meashaw, a second-grade teacher at Pleasant Avenue Elementary School, said her grant funding went toward reading.

“I enhanced the library in my classroom,’ she said.

Meashaw said she’s a big promoter of the elementary reading program, having purchased 20 to 30 accelerated reader books.