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Funding education
Business owners asked to donate to Farragut schools’ mini-grant program

Farragut Intermediate and Middle School PTA and PTSA volunteers are asking businesses to make donations for a teacher “mini-grant” program.

The FIS and FMS parent-teacher groups give $200 apiece to about 50 full-time and certified teachers at each school.

“We don’t want teachers using money out of their own pockets” to purchase classroom supplies, Julie Ford, PTA parliamentarian at both schools, said.

“If we don’t [provide money] they go without the extras that might be helpful in teaching the children, or they spend their own money,” FIS PTA president Shannon Warden said.

The grant program involves a review process, Ford said, in which the teachers explain what they will use funding for. The money must be used for tangible, classroom items that can be used for years. That means ‘no’ to printer cartridges but ‘yes’ to teaching aids.

“The purpose is for it to go back to our kids, ultimately,” Warden said.

Past items purchased with grant money have include everything from posters and books to playground equipment and computer programs. The purchased items become property of the school; they do not belong to individual teachers.

“If it helps the teacher get excited about something, then it’s contagious to the students,” Ford said.

The FIS PTA and FMS PTSA are looking for businesses to donate funds to the pool of money. Donations must be made by December so teachers can use the grant money in the second semester.

Ford said there were perks to being a donating business, including advertising in school newsletters, Web sites and being named as sponsors at school events.

“We have levels of sponsorship, and if they donate, we recognize them accordingly,” Ford said.

“So the $200 level, their name would appear in the school newsletter every time it’s published to more than 1,000 families.

“It’s a good way to advertise for businesses because they will be recognized, so many families will see it.

“We try to give some perks to the businesses for partnering with us,” she added.

Parents and community members also can make donations.

Checks for donations can be made to the school’s PTA or PTSA program and sent to the individual schools: FMS at 200 West End Ave. and FIS at 208 West End Ave.

Donations are accepted for PTA and PTSA throughout the year, but the mini-grant program donation drive is a fall event.

“We’d like it as soon as possible because we are trying to do these grants for the teachers … because we want these things in the classroom,” FMS PTSA president Lori Moczadlo said.

“We want to have stuff in there by the end [of the year],” she added.

“I can tell you that the teachers so look forward to this,” Farragut Intermediate School principal Kay Wellons said.

“They pore over their catalogs and really try to pick something they think really will have an impact on student learning,” she added.

For more information, visit, and

Or call the schools, Farragut Intermediate at 865-966-6703 and Farragut Middle at 865-966-9756.


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