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Teacher grants spark interest and help Manatee County students grow in the classroom

Source: Manatee County School District

In November 2023, PRECO (Peace River Electric Cooperative’s Operation) announced more than $10,000 in mini-grants approved for Manatee County teachers.

This week we’re looking at how the funds are benefiting students.

Parrish Community High School forensic science and chemistry teacher, Jessica Beihl, used the grant to purchase materials for a flame lab.

On Thursday, we joined students as they used a cotton swab to test chemical salts and determine the elements in each sample.

Mrs. Beihl loves hearing the oohs and aahs as flames turn bright hues of green or blue across the laboratory classroom.

“It allows us teachers to do more,” she said, when asked why education grants are important. “This is something that these kids are going to remember forever.”   

She knows the flame lab has the potential to spark interest in her students to go into a science-related career field.


Meanwhile, popularity is growing for Tara Elementary School’s digital arts club with 20 students enrolled so far.

Art teacher Kevin Olson used the mini grant to purchase an Apple iPad and Apple Pencil to start integrating digital art into his classroom.

“Students get the freedom to explore projects that inspire them,” said Mr. Olson. “They work on projects such as t-shirts and sticker design that they can take as a life-long skill.”

He says young artists get real-life exposure to programs used in today’s growing digital arts field of careers.

To read more about the good news happening in our schools, please visit our website at www.manateeschools.net/goodnews.

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