Many teachers like Jennifer Friend-Kerr of Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts, Jill Fernandez of Hilton Head Island IB Elementary School and Yonna Porter of Royal Live Oaks Academy of the Arts and Sciences develop innovative classroom projects but lack the funds to implement them.
Palmetto Electric, along with the Palmetto Electric Trust, sponsors Bright Ideas, an educational grant program that provides funding for innovative classroom-based projects that fall outside of normal school funding. In Friend-Kerr’s classroom, students were able to create fictional stories using “Ozobot Evo” smart robots, purchased with her Bright Ideas grant this past year. Students in Porter’s classroom put math concepts into action by building communities using Minecraft, while Fernandez’s classroom integrated art into their math lessons using Art and Math Integration Kits purchased with funds from Bright Ideas.
In 2021, 50 grants were awarded to deserving teachers totaling $40,365. Since Palmetto Electric launched the program in 2004, teachers in southern Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties have received over $640,000 in grants. Bright Ideas is supported by The Palmetto Electric Trust and funds from Operation Round Up, a program in which Palmetto Electric members round their electric bill up to the nearest whole dollar. Teachers in grades Kindergarten–12 from private or public schools in southern Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties can apply. A school may submit more than one application, but a teacher is limited to only one application per school year. $1,000 is the maximum grant amount teachers can apply for.
To complete a Bright Ideas application and view a complete list of requirements, please visit palmetto.coop/bright-ideas. The deadline to apply is Sept. 8. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (843) 681-0075 with any questions.