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8th Grade Academy enters grant competition to win iPads

Public can vote daily through Dec. 19

Students Sam Knight, Lan Nguyen, Amanda Elwell and Connor Joy hope to throw paper away and turn to iPads. Greenfield 8th Grade Academy is a nominee in a Clorox grant competition.  (Submitted photo/Lauren Matteo)

Students Sam Knight, Lan Nguyen, Amanda Elwell and Connor Joy hope to throw paper away and turn to iPads. Greenfield 8th Grade Academy is a nominee in a Clorox grant competition. (Submitted photo/Lauren Matteo) Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — Teachers from the 8th Grade Academy long for a day when their students can replace broken textbooks or stacks of copied handouts with iPads.

And they envision classrooms where students can dissect a frog, read “Romeo and Juliet” and see a step-by-step animation of how to solve a math problem — all with an iPad.

The school of about 120 students took a small step toward making that dream a reality by entering the “Power a Bright Future,” a grant competition from The Clorox Co.

Monetary prizes of $25,000 to $50,000 are given to schools that collect the most votes between Nov. 12 and Dec. 19. Anyone can vote two times a day, online and via text.

If Greenfield collects the most votes, or wins a separate judges merit prize, the ultimate goal would be to have an iPad available for each of the academy’s students, teachers said.

To text a vote for Greenfield, send the message “2200pbf” to phone number 95248.

To vote online, visit https://powerabrightfuture.clorox.com/nominees/detail/?nid=2200.

On Tuesday afternoon, the 8th Grade Academy was placed 30th out of 1,596 schools in the competition’s “explore” category for education-focused programs. There are 2,502 total schools in the competition.

The school that receives the most votes in the “explore” category will receive a $25,000 grant from the company. A school can use the money for whatever it wants, but had to declare its plans for the money when submitting its nomination form to the competition.

A judges panel, made up of Clorox employees and education experts, will also choose a school from the “explore” category based on merit. Three factors will be considered: quality of submission, impact of program on children and adherence to contest theme of helping children.

The school with the most votes overall — across the “explore,” “play” and “create” categories — will win $50,000.

In addition to saving paper and reducing backpack weight, the iPads would improve the educational experience for academy students, said team leader Kerry Heathwaite.

“We’re looking at 21st-century skills,” she said. “The iPads would give instant feedback for teachers, would tie into smart technology and would give us up-to-date interactive texts.”

Meredith Herdter — a student teacher at the academy and member of a University of Massachusetts graduate program — helped oversee the grant application, and is promoting the competition on social media.

Herdter created a Facebook event — “IPads for Education! Start Voting!” — that can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/405299219541911/.

You can reach Chris Shores at:
cshores@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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