Southside School District Projects Compete for Citizens Bank Education Initiative Grants

Date of Release: 
Friday, April 25, 2014

BATESVILLE – April 25, 2014 – Eight projects conceived by educators are being evaluated for funding from $5,000 in grant monies available in the Second Annual Citizens Bank Education Initiative for the Southside School District.  The applications will be reviewed and selected by a panel representing Lyon College; grant recipients will be notified by June 1. 

“The success of this Education Initiative program is measured by the creativity and the deep personal commitment of these educators,” said Penny Thornton, Citizens Bank Executive Assistant, who is championing the program at Southside.  “These grants help the teachers enhance the classroom experience without having to spend money out of their own pockets.”

One grant approved last year – “SOS - Scoping Out Science” – allowed Science Teacher Becky Carlile to increase student knowledge of the structure and function of living organisms through the purchase of 15 duo-scope microscopes.  Prior to the grant, the school district had just two microscopes that had to be shared by all 5th through 8th grade Science students.

Mrs. Carlile said she has noticed an increased interest in science among her students.  “After my first period class, many students in the following periods know they will be utilizing the microscopes during class because the previous students are so eager to tell fellow classmates.” 

Because incoming 5th graders usually don’t know much about science, Mrs. Carlile said it is exciting to see them become enthusiastic about learning. 

“This grant money is so worthwhile,” she said.  “I am very appreciative that Citizens Bank made these funds available so we were able to buy microscopes that will last for years to come and organs to dissect that otherwise would have taken away classroom funds.”

Last year’s other Southside grant recipient projects included:

  • “Bringing Books to Boys,” developed by Felicia Johnston to interest Kindergarten boys in reading by providing men within the district who read books to them on Fridays; to purchase books to increase students’ vocabulary and comprehension through “read alouds”; and reduce the gap in the levels of achievement between male and female kindergarten students.
  • “Record and Submit,” designed by educator Teri Kimmer, is helping at-risk 9th through 12th grade students successfully complete oral communications requirements and overcome a fear of public speaking.  “I am very happy and thankful for the grant after knowing and seeing how it has benefitted the students and allowed some to graduate,” Mrs. Kimmer said.  The grant’s funds will help about 130 high school students each year. 
  • “The Nook Program,” which was created by educators Kim Poole and Mandy Blevins to benefit all 2nd grade students, is helping increase students’ vocabulary knowledge by listening to books on a Nook “e-reading” device; increase comprehension through exposure to new vocabulary and storylines found in upper level reading books; and increase writing abilities by expanding word choices.  Students listen to books on the Nook that are too challenging for them to read, but not too challenging for them to comprehend.

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.

Becky Carlile, a Southside Elementary Science Teacher, helps Bo Trucks view a native stone under one of 15 microscopes purchased last year through the Citizens Bank Education Initiative program with the Southside School District.