BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Since 2009, the Boardman Schools Fund for Educational Excellence has awarded more than $85,000 in grants. The money helps teachers purchase learning tools to give students hands-on experience.

We spoke with some of this year’s grant recipients to find out how that money will be spent.

Boardman Local Schools has been awarded about $14,000 in grant money to be used for special projects. Those projects are things students normally wouldn’t be able to do through state funding alone.

“One criteria is longevity, how sustainable is the grant,” said Lynda Beichner, with the Boardman Schools Fund for Educational Excellence.

This year, nine projects made the cut for funding. One is a solar generator that will allow students to power electronics outside of the classroom.

“We’re going to be able to plug stuff into it — equipment like iPads or microscopes out in the field. So we’re going to be able to go off the grid a little bit,” said Laura Frost, an eighth-grade science teacher.

Through this grant, Boardman Local Schools has a plan for all the COVID-19 plexiglass dividers: turning them into greenhouses.

“We’re still figuring out how to attach them together. So a learning process for everybody involved. It might work, it might not work, but that’s life and that’s real learning,” Frost said.

Over at the middle school, they will be getting an updated studio for televised morning announcements.

“New cameras, new microphones, new editing material to bring our studio into the 21st century. All of our equipment is 29 years old,” said Lori Szoke, a sixth-grade TV crew advisor.

All of these projects are expected to serve students for years to come.

“They want to paint this blue area and paint it gray and put a Spartan head in the background,” Szoke said.

The Boardman Schools Fund for Educational Excellence gets its money from donations and grants.

Other projects the $14,000 will go toward are:

  • A 3D printer bundle with filament spools for students to design and print architectural pieces
  • PASCO Scientific Dissolved Oxygen Gas Sensors to help teach the water cycle and photosynthesis
  • Physical education (funding transportation, referees and gear/apparel for new wheelchair basketball)
  • A Mobile Sky Imaging and Observation Workstation for the high school planetarium, science club and physics classes
  • Language Arts/Health and Wellness (providing a positive learning environment through books)
  • Equipment to create a “Peace Corner” in each classroom, where students can self-regulate their emotions
  • Digital microscopes