Sullivan schools receive $61,000 in Utrust grants

Rick Wagner • Mar 21, 2019 at 9:30 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Eleven Utrust mini grants totaling $61,000 have been won by Sullivan County Schools and will be used to buy everything from a telescope and computers to music equipment and software.

Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski applied for the Utrust grant and stipulated that all teachers in the county system would be invited to complete a request for funds for any educational project of their own choosing, which would enhance their teaching and their students’ learning. The proposals were judged by a panel not affiliated with Sullivan County Schools. Proposals that received the same rating were selected by a drawing until the funds were exhausted.

“We are grateful to Utrust for providing funds for projects that our employees feel will enhance learning for their students,” Rafalowski said. “We continuously strive for excellence in Sullivan County Schools, and our teachers and administrators can put to good use any available grants.”

Sullivan County is one of 51 school systems in Tennessee that will receive Utrust mini grants this month totaling more than $1 million. The grants are given to improve educational opportunities for students.

“We are pleased that Utrust is able to fund small projects that will make a big difference. We believe each one of these projects will make a big difference to teachers and their students in Sullivan County Schools,” Utrust administrator Dan Tollett said. “We appreciate each teacher who submitted a request. Every proposal was worthy of funding, and each one would enhance learning in Sullivan County Schools. We regret that we could not fund every request submitted.”

Following are the Sullivan County proposals that were funded:

— Holston Elementary, special education teacher Kim Bell, 12 Chromebooks and charging cart: $5,123.

— Blountville Middle, fifth grade teacher Jada Sherfey, 10 Q Ball microphones and schoolwide software subscriptions to Flocabulary, NEWELA Pro, Access and Kahoot: $6,039.

— Sullivan East High School, special education teacher Michael Sheffield, 10 Chromebooks, mixer board and video production equipment: $6,140.

—Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, science teacher Ryan Lovelace, 20 iPads: $6,000.

— Sullivan Central High School, chorus teacher Denise McReynolds, Yamaha pianos expansion kit and accessories: $6,140.

— Bluff City Middle, librarian Sherry Lilly, Library Makerspaces: $5,535.

— Bluff City Middle, seventh grade social studies teacher Megan VanHoy, VR 10-Student Kit: $4,800.

— Sullivan Central High School and Sullivan South High School, science teachers Tom Rutherford (South) and Jeremy McLaughlin (Central), Feed Horn radio telescopes: $5,742.

— Holston Middle, technology teacher Sandra Clark, robotics equipment: $5,800.

— Bluff City Elementary, fourth grade teacher Leigh Ann Zollo, Rocketbook Everlast electronic notebooks: $5,670.

— Sullivan South High School, math teacher Chelsea Seguin, TI-84 calculators for class: $4,340.

Utrust is an organization that assists school systems in Tennessee with unemployment issues and in recognizing, supporting and appreciating school employees. It sponsors the Utrust Appreciation Program, a student leadership initiative that seeks to help students recognize and express appreciation to people who make their lives better each day.

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