Lowe’s has awarded Grant Elementary $5,000 to be used for the Willoughby school’s Outdoor Learning Center (OLC).
Grant Elementary is one of more than 1100 schools or parent organizations to be awarded a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant for parent-initiated school improvement projects benefiting K-12 public education across the United States during the 2011-2012 school year.
The OLC will be used primarily for science and math classes, but will be available for all the teachers to use with their classes for reward days, art class, lunch/recess and any other way they see fit to enhance the kids’ learning experiences.
In addition to providing the structure for the classroom, the OLC will contain “green”, science based components that connect to the curriculum. The roof run-off will drain into gutters on the building connected to eco-friendly rain barrels that will capture the water, providing an opportunity to teach the kids about storm water runoff and serve as a source of watering for the gardens.
Adjacent to the pavilion, a monarch butterfly habitat will be planted, and Grant will seek to certify the garden with the Monarch Watch Monarch Way Station. The garden will be a place where kindergartners can release the butterflies they watch metamorphose in their classrooms and where 3rd graders can learn more about butterfly habitat. In addition to providing habitat for butterflies and other animals, the plantings will provide an aesthetically pleasing enhancement to the space.
While the pavilion construction will be contracted out, the school envisions the planting portion of the project to be a collaborative effort between the parents, students and teachers. The kids can feel good about helping to create something at their school while learning, and the parents and teachers can interact to build a stronger community.
Construction is scheduled to begin by late summer/early fall 2012.
“Lowe’s is committed to recognizing and supporting efforts that enrich the lives of our neighbors and customers,” said Marshall Croom, chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “By supporting schools like Grant, we know we are contributing to a cause that’s important to our customers and employees and helping build stronger communities.”
Launched in partnership with PTO Today, a leading organization serving parent-teacher groups, the Toolbox for Education program has provided nearly $30 million through more than 6,000 grants since its inception in 2006. The grants have affected more than 3.7 million schoolchildren. Grants are available to public schools in the United States for a wide range of improvement projects and large schools or school districts may be eligible to receive Toolbox grants up to $100,000 for school improvement initiatives. All K-12 public schools in the United States are eligible. Parent groups may apply by visiting www.toolboxforeducation.com.
Since its inception in 1957, Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has helped communities nationwide through employee volunteerism and financial contributions.
Submitted by Maureen Frey, Grant Elementary Parent Teacher Council (PTC)