Abernathy Elementary School Earns Operation Round Up Grant

January 16, 2017
The Learning Carpet

“The third-grade students at Abernathy Elementary love using The Learning Carpet. The Learning Carpet is really an asset to any classroom and can be used cross-curricular,” said Abernathy science teacher, Denise Christopher. “The grant was so helpful! It made it possible for the students to become independently creative while learning.”

The $500 Operation Round Up grant is funded by the members of South Plains Electric Cooperative.

The Operation Round Up Board of Directors initiated a program offering small, $500 grants to teachers. Grants were available to K-12 teachers in music/art and science for the 2015-2016 school year. The funds are made available by South Plains Electric members who ask to have their monthly bill rounded up to the next dollar. The extra change, averaging only $6 per year, funds projects like the teacher mini-grants, scholarships and much more. The program is also funded by the generosity of members like Glen Williamson, who donated $1,500 to fund three of the grants. He made this donation because he believes in supporting education.

Operation Round Up was established in 1993 to help communities and individuals needing a hand up, not a hand out. The program’s tagline, "neighbors helping neighbors," is at the heart of why South Plains Electric Cooperative exists.

During the past 24 years, Operation Round Up has helped hundreds of individuals and organizations. Many donations go unpublicized out of respect for the individual recipients. Operation Round Up, under the guidance of a 10-member board, sometimes works quietly to improve members’ lives.

Ten teacher mini-grants were awarded for the 2015-2016 school year. The other recipients were: Cindy Starcher, Shallowater; Candace Cameron, All Saints Episcopal School; Kathy Taylor, Ralls; Ollie Hart, Abernathy; Rachael Hendrix, Frenship; Sara Masten, Shallowater; Sandra Ramirez, Patton Springs; Jana Simmons, Lubbock-Cooper; and Jeremy Wagner, Frenship.

The Operation Round Up board approved continuing funding the teacher mini-grants because it’s been such a successful program. Applications are available online for the 2017-2018 school year. The applications are due back on May 15, 2017.

Abernathy students master science vocabulary using The Learning Carpet

Denise Christopher, a third grade teacher at Abernathy Elementary, utilized the grant awarded to her by South Plains Electric Cooperative (SPEC) to buy The Learning Carpet for her classroom. She hoped the carpet would help students with science vocabulary. Here is her story:

The third grade students at Abernathy Elementary love using The Learning Carpet. They create crossword puzzles, play spelling and vocabulary games, all while learning cooperatively. The Learning Carpet is really an asset to any classroom and can be used cross-curricular. The grant was so helpful! It made it possible for the students to become independently creative while learning.

While we are very thankful for the newly remodeled school and the science labs are fun and exciting, the assessment of student knowledge can sometimes be monotonous. The Learning Carpet offers a way to assess students’ knowledge without the traditional paper and pencil test. Students participate "hands on" while using manipulatives on The Learning Carpet to gain knowledge of science vocabulary and graphing. This assessment promotes student cooperative learning.

Third grade students have an attention span of less than 30 minutes. Our job as educators can be difficult when trying to keep the students excited about learning. The Learning Carpet has created an excitement in my students and a desire to learn.

Thank you to the members of South Plains Electric Cooperative for funding this grant. It has ignited a passion for learning in my students. That is every teacher’s dream.