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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Local teachers receive grants from U.S. Cellular

  • Comic books, iPads and math tools were some of the supplies given to local teachers through U.S. Cellular’s 2013 Calling All Teachers campaign.
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  • Comic books, iPads and math tools were some of the supplies given to local teachers through U.S. Cellular’s 2013 Calling All Teachers campaign.
    The campaign funded nine projects from schools in McPherson, Moundridge and Newton. These projects are valued between $100 and $1,000 and provide students with necessary and helpful learning tools.
    “We love giving back and adding value to the community, and what better way than through our schools?” said Levi Sides, owner of U.S. Cellular McPherson. “We are super excited to have been able to support so many teachers through this program.”
    Carmen Zeisler, a fourth-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School, received math games and manipulatives worth $657 to help her teach kids about fractions, decimals and percentages. She said these activities help students see math as something fun, not scary.
    “I am constantly telling my students that they are mathematicians,” Zeisler said. “I want them to realize and believe that themselves.”
    Barbara Wagoner, who teaches kindergarten at Roosevelt, requested an iPad to help provide students with personalized learning opportunities.
    “The iPad is used throughout the day by students to help strengthen their skills in areas that they need extra practice,” Wagoner said. “Some students might use it to help their fine motor skills in handwriting, others to practice letters and sound recognition, while some are learning to read sight words.”
    Wagoner also said it will help students get a feel for the technology around them.
    “I want them to feel comfortable in all the avenues of technology that I am able to provide for them,” Wagoner said.
    Meanwhile, Roosevelt’s library will have a greater selection of comic books to help kids transition from picture books to chapter books. Amanda Harrison, the school librarian, said having comic books makes the sometimes difficult transition to chapter books easier for some students.
    “Getting funding for this project is a great opportunity,” Harrison said. “Not only am I excited to use these materials to teach our students, but it also shows our students how important education is to people in our community.”
    Sides said this year’s campaign helped 886 teachers across the country with 72,548 students positively affected. For Zeisler’s students, the change has been clear.
    “We just received our three big boxes two weeks ago and already I can see a difference in the excitement of the students with math,” Zeisler said. “I am honestly so excited. I love seeing my kiddos have access to such a variety of math supplies.”
    Wagoner said she hopes more businesses will support schools as well.
    “Teachers spend more and more of our personal money for the classroom as our district sees rising costs and decreasing budgets,” Wagoner said. “We need businesses, such as U.S. Cellular, to care enough about our children’s future to financially support classroom projects like mine.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Zeisler said seeing her students learn is all she wants.
    “In just the few short weeks of having our new supplies, our math time is so much more interactive,” Zeisler said. “Students are thinking deeply, and they are showing what they know. That is all I could ask for as an educator.”
    U.S. Cellular will run another campaign called Calling All Communities from Nov. 4 to Nov. 25. People can visit www.uscellular.com and vote for the school they want to win $25,000. At the end of the month, the 20 schools with the most votes will win.
    Contact Josh Arnett by email at jarnett@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @ArnettSentinel.
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