The program supports teachers in the school district who have innovative and creative ideas for increasing student engagement. Teachers applied to receive grants of up to $1,000 to purchase equipment and technology for science, technology, engineering, arts and math courses.
Meredith Trobaugh, a fifth-grade teacher at Meadowfield Elementary, used the funds to purchase 28 ukuleles for her students. Students learned the science of sound through string vibrations that produce pitch and how to play a variety of songs sung by Pre-K and kindergarteners.
The fifth-graders then paired with Pre-K and Kindergarten students for a ukulele play date. The older students shared their knowledge and played songs while the younger students sang along.
Dreher High School teacher Rebecca Smith-Hill implemented a Cooking in the Classroom project for students with moderate intellectual disabilities. She purchased ingredients for recipes, cooking tools and bus passes for trips to the grocery store. Each week, students practiced social skills by navigating the public transportation system and shopped for recipe ingredients. Students gained math and science skills by illustrating and explaining recipe components and preparing food. At the end of class, students compiled the recipes in an easy-to-read, accessible cookbook.
Colonial Life has provided $75,000 in Strong Schools Grant funding to Richland One schools for the past three years.
The company’s commitment to the district extends beyond financial support and includes educational partnerships such as a long-term reading and mentoring relationship with St. Andrews Middle School, after-school enrichment programs with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands at E.E. Taylor Elementary School, support for H.B. Rhame Elementary School students through Harvest Hope Food Bank’s Backpack Feeding Program and College Summit’s Peer Leader Academy summer workshops with Columbia High School students.