Batesville Educators Emphasize Literacy, Learning In Third Annual Citizens Bank Education Initiative

Date of Release: 
Monday, August 12, 2013

BATESVILLE, Ark. – August 12, 2013 – Projects that focus on improving literacy and learning skills dominate the eight projects that will share in $15,000 in grant monies provided by the Third Annual Citizens Bank Education Initiative for the Batesville School District.

“This year’s grants increase to $45,000 the amount Citizens Bank has invested in the creativity and effectiveness of educators in the Batesville School District in the three years since we established this Education Initiative,” said John Dews, Citizens Bank President and Chief Executive Officer.  “This initiative directly benefits students, encourages and rewards imaginative teaching, and provides a vehicle through which educators can share their best ideas.”

The 2013 grant recipients, announced at a banquet Monday night, are:

  • A “New Library Media Center” for students, teachers and parents will be established by a grant of $4,253 to educator Alysia Horton at Sulphur Rock Magnet School.  Ms. Horton plans to create an inviting atmosphere that enhances a love for learning among students in Kindergarten through the 6th grade, in a space that also can be used by teachers, parents and the community.   She said the media center will engross students in text and technology, and allow them to listen to stories, participate in discussions and take part in research activities.
  • “Family Literacy Nights,” conceived by Lorrie McClure of the Batesville Preschool, will receive funding of $4,200 to allow the “Parents As Teachers” program and the Ozark Foothills Literacy Project to conduct family literacy nights each month, featuring food, fun and literacy-related activities for parents and children from pre-school age through the 5th grade.  The funds will be used to purchase books and reading materials for families and will help lay a foundation for learning through literacy building.
  • An “After School Literacy Project,” proposed by Laura Hance of Central Magnet, will receive more than $2,000 in monies to allow 25 students selected from grades 1-3 to participate in an hour-long literacy program for three weeks.  Students will select books and learn to read during the program, which will provide resources for two certified reading teachers to work with students who have been identified as “at-risk” in the area of reading.  Program goals include improving literacy scores, building students’ personal libraries and instilling a lifelong appreciation of learning.
  • “Create Independence for Future Success,” created by Kristi Cox of West Magnet Elementary School, will receive $1,000 to foster independence among Kindergarten through 5th grade special needs students in order to gain academic success in their current grade level as well as in the future.  The grant will be used to purchase software and equipment to develop reading comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, word analysis and study skills to achieve at least grade-level reading skills.
  • “Engaged with Clickers,” designed by Paul Barrett and Patty Mishark of Eagle Mountain Magnet, will receive a $1,000 grant for 6th grade Literacy and Math students.  The educators plan to purchase a set of “2Know! Classroom Response System” responders (“clickers”) and related software to help students improve math and reading skills, classroom engagement and testing scores.  The system enables students to use the “clickers” to answer test questions to increase student involvement and quickly check for understanding of content.
  • “Gotcha! Books That Grab You,” a literacy program developed by Julie Reardon of Eagle Mountain Magnet, will receive $1,000 in funding.  The project is intended to improve reading skills and testing scores by creating a partnership with parents to provide support outside of the classroom for students in Grades 4 to 6.  “Teachers have found if they send home two copies of a book and asked parents to read along with their child, they did!” said Ms. Reardon.  “Parental involvement is critical to students reaching their full potential.”
  • “Pottery: Molding Clay and Lives,” developed by Katie Milum of Batesville Junior High, has been selected for a grant exceeding $900 to purchase an additional pottery wheel to be used by 7th through 9th grade Art class students.  The objective is to use pottery projects to help students enhance who they are, how they connect to themselves and the environment, and develop more effective skills – communications, task completion, performance and team membership – they will need and use throughout their lives.
  • “40 Book Challenge,” created by Carlie Qualls of Eagle Mountain Elementary, was allocated more than $600 to purchase two “e-readers” and a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books that appeal to students in print and digital formats. Ms. Qualls will motivate her 5th grade students to read 40 books over a variety of genres before the end of the school year.  She says research suggests that children who are successful in school are those who enjoy reading.

A Selection Committee comprised of members from the Social Sciences and Secondary Education Division at Lyon College anonymously evaluated the grant applications and determined the recipients.

The Education Initiative awards banquet was held at Elizabeth’s Restaurant in Batesville.

About The Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank of Batesville was established in 1953 by a group of local businessmen who shared a vision of creating a bank that would be committed to serving the working people of Batesville and Independence County.  Today, Citizens Bank is Independence County’s largest financial institution by market share, and has expanded its service area to include Lawrence, Randolph, Sharp and Stone counties.  The bank operates 10 fully staffed financial centers in Batesville, Cave City, Imboden, Mountain View and Pleasant Plains.

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These photos show the Batesville educators who received the Citizens Bank Education Initiative grants discussing their projects following the banquet. 

In the photo above are (from left):  Lorrie McClure, Julie Reardon, Patty Mishark, Katie Milum and Laura Hance.  In the photo below are (from left): Paul Barrett, Kristi Cox, Carlie Qualls and Alysia Horton.