Landry, Lowery Elementary receive grant

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR

Lowery Elementary School received a School Impact Grant given by the Ascension Fund Grant thanks to the writing of fourth grade teacher Amber Landry. The grant allows e-readers to follow the students from one grade level to the next, so the grant impacts the entire school instead of just one class, according to Landry. In addition to using the e-readers for classwork, students can also use them to read their Accelerated Reader (AR) books. 

“I am so excited about receiving the grant,” Landry said, who is in her 10th year teaching. “I think using new technology in the classroom is critical for preparing students for their futures.”

Landry spent many hours writing the grant and thinking about how to “greatest impact my students with the grant money.”

“By reading more and taking more AR tests, students' reading levels and comprehension abilities increase,” Landry said, “which will directly impact their growth on state standardized tests.”

Dawn Love, principal at Lowery Elementary said the grant is beneficial to the school because it allows it to provide the students with the resources they need to be successful in today’s world.

“Teachers are able to take into account the needs of their individual students and apply for the grant based on what they need to be successful,” Love said.

Landry said she decided to write the grant last year while teaching at Lowery Middle School. She was on the “one-to-one” team, which is where all of the students use Mac computers to complete their classwork.  She said at LMS, they did most of their work online using Blackboard and various websites with appropriate reading material or activities.  The students loved using the Macs to do their work and Landry said they were more “excited to read when they pull articles on their Macs.”

“So, I decided to write the grant for a class set of e-readers, specifically Nooks or Kindles,” Landry said. “I figured since students were so motivated by the use of technology, we could use the e-readers for reading news articles or articles on Scholastic.com or TimesforKids.com while working on the Macs.”

Unfortunately for Lowery Middle, during the summer Landry was transferred to LES and thus the grant came with her and needed to be changed. Lowery Elementary already has a class set of e-readers, so Landry rewrote portions of the grant and will order iPads instead.  Students will be able to use the iPads the same way as they would use the e-readers, plus, with the one-to-one program with the Magnet students at LES, the school was able to support the technology with carts, cases, and additional iPads for students to use during classroom instruction, according to Landry.

“The world and the job market change so rapidly and it is imperative that students are prepared to be competitive in tomorrow's economy,” Landry said, who received both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Nicholls State University. “Teaching with technology is even more fun for me because I can become more of a facilitator with the students.  I can meet them at their individual level and provide more one-on-one instruction for students on any level.”

Love echoed Landry and said because the world is ever changing, the job for educators is to prepare them for jobs of the future that haven’t been created yet.

“Our goal is to produce students who will be successful in a technologically rich world,” Love said. “Integrating instruction with technology is a key step in ensuring our students are building the skills needed to succeed in the future.”

Landry said the effectiveness of the grant will be measured at the end of the year. She will pull the students AR reports, and hopefully show growth in several areas:  their reading level (measured as their zone of proximal development in AR), their success on the quizzes, and the frequency of tests taken.  She also said she will measure the effectiveness of the e-readers by students' growth on benchmark tests and LEAP/iLEAP scores. 

“According to research, the better students can read, the better students can perform on standardized tests,” Landry said.

Landry said she will definitely continue to apply for the Ascension Fund Grant in the future so that she can continue to use the latest technology in her daily lessons.

She added: “Although many local Ascension businesses contribute to the Ascension Fund Grant, I would like to thank Ruth B. Scanlan Endowment in memory of Arthur G. Scanlan for funding my grant.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for funding a project that will surely motivate my students and prepare them for successful futures.”