Many who donate to the foundation each year work or have worked in education in some capacity.
This year students in Carolyn Ellis’ third-grade class at Taylor Elementary School are benefitting from a grant made possible by a donation from Cleveland State Community College president, Dr. Carl Hite, and his wife, Clare.
“We both believe very strongly in education, both higher education and K-12,” Hite said.
The couple designated their donation to the foundation specifically for Taylor Elementary.
“Taylor Elementary has a special place in my heart,” Hite said.
This began with Cleveland State becoming Taylor Elementary’s BEST partner.
Hite said over the years the two schools have been able to do much together.
“They’ve got some great kids. I try to get out there a few times a year,” Hite said. “We really do feel our relationship has done great things for the school.”
Ellis said the grant purchased nonfiction books for the classroom library. As the school system makes the transition to the common core standards, students will be required to read more nonfiction books in addition to their regular textbooks.
“We have lots of fiction books, but my personal classroom library did not have much of nonfiction,” Ellis said.
She said the minigrant allowed her to purchase book series that build on what students were studying in science and social studies.
“There is a whole collection on natural disasters ... our children will be so excited to get those additional resources,” Ellis said.
The books will also serve as resources for in-class reports and research.
“In common core, we want to challenge our students to go beyond just the minimum. These books will challenge them in improving there reading skills and comprehension,” Ellis said.
The common core includes a detailed analysis of a section of an assigned reading. The detailed readings will build vocabulary and writing skills preparing students for the essay-style answers that will be required on end-of-year tests.
Another part of common core requirements is to complete specific math tasks outside of the textbook.
Ellis said she found fiction books with mathematic themes could fulfill this requirement. She found lesson plans that incorporated many of these kind of books into the curriculum.
“We found out that we didn’t have all of the books here in our (school) library, and we wanted to do math tasks every week,” Ellis said.
The teacher said the books are actual stories, but they highlight math skills. An example was “One Hundred Hungry Ants,” which divides the ants into different groups throughout the book.
“It’s a piece of literature that has a math theme,” Ellis said.
In addition to the minigrant made possible through the Hite donation, Ellis also received a minigrant made possible by the faculty and staff at Taylor Elementary.
Between the two grants, Ellis was awarded $1,800. This translated into 78 nonfiction books and 35 fiction.
Many of the books purchased through the grants can also be used in the school’s Accelerated Reader program.