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Georgia Foundation for Public Education awards $115,000 in Rural Education Fund grants to schools and districts

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office,

August 31, 2021 – The Georgia Foundation for Public Education today awarded its fourth round of Rural Education Fund grants, providing 12 grants to Georgia schools and districts.

Totaling $115,003, this year's Rural Education Fund grants will fund middle-school literacy programming; a STEM racing team; mental health supports for students; virtual reality goggles to help elementary students experience and explore the world; science and math instruction; computer science learning; an EMT Career Pathway program; a computer science e-sports club; vocational training; and a curriculum to help students with disabilities prepare for college or career.

Rural Education Fund grants are flexible and can be used for a wide range of initiatives – applicants are asked to propose a project that will solve a current challenge within their school or district and drive positive student outcomes.

“Over the last several years, we have seen Georgia school districts utilize Rural Education Fund grants to support bold, creative, and student-centric projects – and this year's grantees carry on that legacy," GFPE Executive Director said. “We know the need is greater than ever as schools cope with the effects of the pandemic, and due to the generosity of so many donors statewide, we've been able to increase the amount of funds available for individual grants to $10,000. I can't wait to see the work this year's grant recipients accomplish."  

The Rural Education Fund was created to help rural schools and districts meet their students' needs. Any public school or district located in a Georgia county with a population of 35,000 or less was eligible to apply for the 2021 grant cycle.

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2021 Rural Education Fund Grant Recipients 
Appling County Middle School of Appling County: $10,000 for Project ABC Literacy
Project ABC literacy will engage community partners, including First District RESA, the Baxley News-Banner, and the Okefenokee Public Library System, to deliver high-quality reading content – both digital and physical materials – and programming to students attending Appling County Middle School. 

Fitzgerald High School College & Career Academy of Ben Hill County: $10,000 for Electrathon America Racing Team
Fitzgerald High School College & Career Academy (FHSCCA) will launch an Electrathon America Racing Team, a competitive club that will give students the opportunity to design, construct, test, and develop electric vehicles. Through the program, FHSCCA hopes to stimulate student interest in STEM.

Burke County Middle School of Burke County: $10,000 for Calhouligan Nation Reading Program
Burke County Middle School will implement the Calhouligan Nation Reading Program, which is designed to make reading competitive. Specifically, classrooms will create reading teams where they will name the team, create a corresponding moniker flag, and track how much each member of the team reads. 

Cook Elementary School of Cook County: $9,265 for Bounce Back
Cook County has experienced significant traumatic events, including natural disasters, food insecurity and, most recently, the pandemic. Cook Elementary School will launch Bounce Back, a program aimed at building resiliency in school-aged children. Specifically, Bounce Back targets childhood trauma and stress relief, which Cook County Elementary School identified as an area of need. 

Emanuel County Schools of Emanuel County: $10,000 for Virtual Reality
Emanuel County Schools will purchase virtual reality goggles for its 1,892 kindergarten through fifth grade students. The goal is to enhance the standards-driven learning environment by providing students with the opportunity to take students out of the classroom to explore the world virtually. 

Claxton Middle School of Evans County: $8,718 for WozED
Claxton Middle School will implement WozED, a standards-based program that engages students in scientific and mathematical inquiry. Through interactive kits, students will gain exposure to real-world STEM situations and have the opportunity to solve problems using the scientific method. 

Heard County Comprehensive High School of Heard County: $10,000 for BraveLIFE
Heard County Comprehensive High School (HCCHS) will implement BraveLIFE, a special education curriculum that creates real-world, job-related experience for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The goal is to ensure that HCCHS students with disabilities will be prepared for either college or career upon graduation. 

Lamar County Middle School of Lamar County: $9,020 for Computer Science
Lamar County Middle School seeks to expand its standards-based computer science courses by developing a program that focuses on robotics, drones, and simple circuitry. By offering the additional technology, students will gain greater exposure to the various computer science-based fields. 
Oglethorpe County High School of Oglethorpe County: $10,000 for EMT Career Pathway Program
Oglethorpe County High School will launch an Emergency Medical Services career pathway program. The Rural Education Fund grant will complement other grant funds to furnish the lab, including acquiring a medical mannequin and wound kits for hands-on learning experiences. 

Pickens High School of Pickens County: $10,000 for E-Sports
In 2018, Pickens High School (PHS) expanded its computer science course offerings by launching the E-sports club. Since inception, the club has created opportunities to learn, practice, and compete in E-sports and has, in turn, created high demand for participation. PHS seeks to expand its E-sports club by adding more equipment to engage additional students. 

Furlow Charter School of Sumter County: $10,000 for Dinosaur Diplomacy
Assessments indicate that reading proficiency has fallen as a result of the pandemic slide. In response, Furlow Charter School (FCS) will implement Dinosaur Diplomacy, a project-based learning literacy and peace initiative. Using the program, FCS will target students showing the greatest deficits. 

White County High School of White County: $8,000 for Vocational Training Curriculum
Only one third of White County High School's (WCHS) students with disabilities graduate into an employment, a post-secondary, or a vocational setting. WCHS will implement Hands-On Task, a pre-vocational curriculum for students with intellectual disabilities. The program simulates an employment setting where students can learn interpersonal and job-readiness skills to successfully prepare its students for a work, post-secondary, or vocational setting.