RMS receives donation from local business

Thanks to a grant through a local business, students at Russellville Middle School will be enjoying new resources and supplies this year.

RMS received grants totaling $4,500 from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for the current fiscal school year.

This is the second year RMS has received funding through this grant.

According to RMS Library Media Specialist Molly Bates, these new funds will be used to purchase fiction and non-fiction books for the library, including the recently popular graphic novels.

“Graphic novels can be used when it comes to helping our English language learners and our weaker readers,” Bates said. “Besides giving the students the opportunity to be more engaged in reading, the graphic novels help the students not only pay attention to character, plot and dialogue, but they also help them to process the visual elements as well.”

These new funds will also be used toward purchasing an additional student response system and software, which is an interactive learning tool for students and teachers.

Funds from last year’s grant helped purchase the first student response system.

The software for the system was installed on each teacher’s computer and it is checked-out through the library.

The system is composed of hand-held devices that the students use to answer questions that are projected onto a smart board set up in the classroom.

Students are able to answer multiple-choice questions on the device, which then transmits the students’ answers back to the teacher’s computer.

Mike McCandless, seventh grade science and aerospace teacher, said the system is an invaluable teaching tool.

“The way the system is set up, it allows for instant feedback on how the students are doing,” McCandless said. “That really helps me as a teacher because it saves time and it allows me to instantly see where my class is on a certain topic.

“If only sixty percent of the class is getting a question right, I know that there are some things I need to go back over with 40 percent of the class. You just can’t beat that.”

Dollar General District Manager Randy Hughes, Highway 43 Store Manager Ken Donelson and Downtown Store Manager Byron Fretwell were present at the library on Thursday to present Bates with checks from the grant.

“Every penny we collect for literacy goes to that fund,” Hughes said. “It’s just awesome to see the money collected at those stores coming back to this area,” Hughes said.

We’re glad we can do something to help the teachers save time and help the kids learn,” Donelson said.

Fretwell added that people in this area needed to be aware that donating their change at Dollar General stores is for a good cause.

“Most people don’t realize when they come to our stores and the clerks ask them if they want to donate their change to literacy that the money will go to benefit kids around here,” Fretwell said.

According to Bates, for two consecutive fiscal school years, school libraries in Alabama have received zero funding from the state so grant money is very important for them to be able to offer students the resources they need.

“We are very grateful to the community and corporate entities that support our schools,” Bates said. “Without the Dollar General grants, we would not be able to purchase any new materials for the library.”

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