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Innovative teachers receive innovative teaching grants

More than $172,000 worth of Innovative Teaching Grants are now in the hands of some College Station ISD teachers.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Since the beginning of the pandemic, teachers have been coming up with solutions to teach while adjusting to the new normal. Some might call it innovative teaching. The College Station ISD Education Foundation Grant Patrol awarded grants to teachers just for that purpose Wednesday. 

“We are so excited to be able to get the money in the hands of these teachers to implement these programs," said Teresa Benden, the executive director for the CSISD Education Foundation.

The Innovative Teaching Grants are awarded to CSISD teachers annually. The money goes towards programs within the classroom that would not otherwise be funded by tax dollars. 

Grants are selected by a committee comprised of board members and curriculum/instruction staff.

“We know how taxed [teachers] are this year and how much they had to rise to the occasion to deal with all of these different learning challenges," Benden said. "We are so thrilled to offer this opportunity to them.” 

CSISD teachers have received 45 grants totaling $172,461. The money will go towards equipment for outdoor classroom use, more virtual initiatives, fine arts activities and much more. Grants will benefit over 13,000 students at every campus in CSISD.  

"We needed some lights in our classroom, so I thought, ‘Hey, there’s a need there,'" said Emily Sanders, a theater teacher at A&M Consolidated Middle School.

This is Sander's first year teaching in the district and was excited to apply for a grant. She applied for a grant with other theater teachers and one by herself. Her grant will add more lights to her theater class and even give students a chance to operate a lightboard. 

“I didn't even get experience working with lights or the lightboard until I was in college,” Sanders said.

For Sanders, being a teacher means going the extra mile for her students. The grants awards allow the opportunity for her and others to go outside the four walls of their classroom. 

“It invests in teachers and says, ‘Hey we see you, we recognize you, we want to reward you and your students and we want to give you these resources so you can continue to work with them in that way,'" Sanders said.

Businesses and people around the community are able to help make these grants possible through annual donations and fundraising events. 

The CSISD Education Foundation has awarded 616 teacher grants totaling $1.65 million since its inception in 1999.