David Ayers and Lauren Connelly, both teachers at Youth Middle School, were recently recognized among the 37 recipients of the New Teacher Assistance Grant from Georgia Power.
Teacher nominations were submitted to Georgia Power by the 19 public colleges and universities with public education programs. To be eligible, candidates had to be in the top 25 percent of their class academically, be a first-year teacher employed by a public school in Georgia and demonstrate a high aptitude for teaching.
"Teacher retention continues to be major issue in Georgia," said Kevin Fletcher, vice president of economic development for Georgia Power. "As new teachers begin their careers, we have found that offering them incentives early on in their profession encourages them to continue helping to educate the future work force of Georgia."
The $1,000 grant can be used to purchase items such as books, educational CDs or DVDs, computers or projectors.
Ayers, an eighth-grade language arts teacher, was nominated for the grant by his department at Kennesaw State University because he won the Regents Award.
"This means I can give my students the extras that I devise for them," Ayers said. "I intend to buy books for the class library and digital media for creating digital book reports."
Connelly, a seventh-grade special education teacher, was nominated by a professor at the University of West Georgia.
"I would like to use the money to bring strong assistive technology into my classroom, such as Interwrite board, online programs, document cameras and a strong classroom library to build success for my students," Connelly said.
Georgia Power began the New Teacher Assistance Grant in 2004 as a way to encourage new teachers to stay in the profession and to provide them with funds to purchase classroom supplies, equipment or materials not provided by their schools.
"The average teacher spends approximately $500 out of his or her own pocket each year on classroom materials and supplies," Fletcher said. "This award helps ease this burden by allowing the teacher to purchase items to use in their classrooms as they see fit.
"The new jobs being created in Georgia require an educated workforce, and businesses must lend their support to improving the quality of education to ensure Georgia's economic viability continues to flourish. This program is Georgia Power's way of telling new teachers that we appreciate their contributions and we hope they will remain committed to the profession."
--The Walton Tribune, 10-31-10