September 14, 2022 – The Georgia Foundation for Public Education (GFPE) today awarded its fifth round of Rural Education Fund grants, providing seven grants to Georgia schools and districts.
Totaling $70,000, this year's Rural Education Fund grants will fund elementary school literacy programming, an elementary agricultural program, band instruments for student use, support for a STEM program, virtual reality headsets to help elementary students experience and explore the world; and an after-school extracurricular program.
Rural Education Fund grants are flexible and can be used for many initiatives. For example, applicants are asked to propose a project to solve a current challenge within their school or district and drive positive student outcomes.
“From the first disbursement of the Rural Education Fund grants, we have seen schools and districts utilize the funds to support bold, creative, and student-centric projects. The 2022-2023 grantees carry on that legacy," GFPE Executive Director Paige Pushkin said. "The Rural Education Fund is funded by the purchase of 'Educator' and 'Support Education' Georgia license tag and I appreciate all those who made it possible. I cannot wait to see the work the seven 2022-2023 grant recipients accomplish."
The Rural Education Fund (REF) provides traditional public schools, charter schools, and school districts located in counties with 35,000 or fewer residents up to $10,000 to use however they wish to drive student outcomes. Any public school or neighborhood in a Georgia county with a population of 35,000 or less was eligible to apply for the 2022 grant cycle.
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The Georgia Foundation for Public Education – the philanthropic arm of the Georgia Department of Education – exists to support educational excellence for students in Georgia. All proceeds from the sale of Georgia “Educator" or “Support Education" license tags benefit GFPE, which provides simple ways for donors to impactfully serve students in Georgia's K-12 system – by investing in a current project or working with GFPE to fund their vision. Learn more at GFPE.org.
2022 Rural Education Fund Grant Recipients
Dawson County Schools of Dawson County: $10,000 for Fine Arts Education
Dawson County will use the Rural Education Fund grant to support fine arts education in its rural community. The grant will support the purchase of supplies for music, art, and drama programs throughout the district.
Franklin County High School of Franklin County: $10,000 for Band Instruments
Franklin County High School (FCHS) will use the Rural Education Fund grant to purchase instruments for the band program. The band serves over 60 students, and purchasing eight instruments and supplies would help the school meet the programmatic goal of providing every student with a high-quality, school-owned instrument.
South Dodge Elementary School of Dodge County: $10,000 for STEM Success
South Dodge Elementary School will use the Rural Education Fund grant to promote the academic success of all students in the STEM pathway. Specifically, the school will integrate more manipulatives for students to complete hands-on learning experiences.
Quitman Elementary School of Brooks County: $10,000 for Agricultural Program
Quitman Elementary School will use the Rural Education Fund grant to grow a pollinator garden for its bee colony to pollinate. Students will learn about plant reproduction and different types of pollinating insects. They will also learn to determine which plants will grow best based on the school's geography and climate. The school will partner with the Farm Bureau and the local Women's Committee, whose members will serve as guest speakers.
Tate Elementary School of Pickens County: $10,000 for StoryWalk Literacy Program
Tate Elementary School will use its robust outdoor space to implement StoryWalk, a program that promotes literacy, wellness, and movement in communities and neighborhoods across the United States. Tate Elementary School will use the Rural Education Fund grant to purchase books, materials, and supplies to create the Storywalk area. The area high school construction class will help build the Storywalk, and the county library will partner in selecting age-appropriate books.
Unity Elementary School of Meriwether County: $10,000 for Virtual Reality
Unity Elementary School will use grant funds to purchase virtual reality headsets and an instructional curriculum for science, language arts, and social studies to supplement traditional lesson plans. Students in all grades, with a particular focus on third through fifth graders, will be able to transport to facilitate experiential learning virtually. The school is partnering with the Meriwether Chamber of Commerce, Meriwether Family Connection, and other local groups to provide supplemental lessons related to virtual reality lessons for students.
Wheeler County High School of Wheeler County: $10,000 for After-School Program
Wheeler County School District will partner with the Wheeler County Chamber of Commerce to launch an after-school program at Wheeler County High School. Inspired by the district's mission statement, "Inspire, Care, Support, Lead" (ICSL), the program will address students' needs and promote community service and leadership. The REF grant will fund after-school transportation and supplies for ICSL service projects.