Four Branson school teachers received surprise visits this month from Branson R-IV Education Foundation (BEF) members who awarded $6,270 in grants for their classrooms needs. Recipients of the classroom funds were Becky Dougan who teaches pre-school, third grade instructor Stefanie McKoy, Bradley Coker who instructs junior high and high school band students and Leeann Reusch who coaches students with special needs in physical education.
Dougan received $657 to buy equipment to support more education on dental health and nutrition for her class of Title 1 four-year-olds. "I wanted to create a program on health and nutrition because that’s a curriculum that we don’t have any of the newer information on," she said. "It’s a component that the students can learn and pass on at home."
A grant of $679 will be used by McKoy to support an audio reading library. She said audio books were effective in helping her students improve their reading. She asked her class to select 39 new audio books for the class library.
Coker, along with assistant band instructors Josh Hurt and Kirby Spayde, will purchase SmartMusic, an interactive instrumental software package costing $2,684, for the junior high and high school music programs. Some features of the software include allowing students to sight read their music, play with accompaniment, practice exercises and privately test for assessment.
Students with special needs, from kindergarten through the 12th grade, will receive $2,250 in adaptive physical education equipment. According to Reusch, such items as softer balls, bigger rackets and a bowling ramp will allow these students to be more successful in their physical education programs.
The BEF selection committee evaluated 20 grant applications submitted by teachers in March.
The BEF also awarded more than $8,000 in grants to Branson teachers last fall. BEF plans to present six scholarships to selected graduating seniors May 7. BEF’s primary funding comes from its Superhero Showdown campaign which raised more than $28,000 in September of last year. This year’s Superhero Showdown is scheduled for Sept. 15th
The Branson R-IV Education Foundation was founded in September 2010 by like-minded Branson community residents to establish a means for accepting financial donations and managing them under one roof. The Foundation is independent of the Branson R-IV School District, but serves to complement to the district. As a 501c (3) organization, the Foundation will support and fund academic and vocational instructional programs and educational co-curricular activities for the Branson school district. The Foundation will also provide scholarships and grants, and other types of financial assistance to students and teachers.
To find out more about the Branson R-IV Education Foundation and how to make a difference in a young person’s life, go to