Members of the HOO club, that’s short for Housing Ooltewah’s Owls, will soon be building up to six owl nesting boxes. Ooltewah High School biology teacher Bill Fischer, a recipient of a Unum Strong Schools Grant, hopes the boxes will entice owls – Ooltewah’s mascot – back to campus.
“We found a small wooded area that should be perfect for our nesting boxes,” he said. “The area will also make a great spot for an outdoor classroom.”
Fischer was among 60 Hamilton County, Tennessee, teachers from 38 different schools who were awarded $50,000 in Strong Schools Grants by Unum. Since the program’s inception in 2008, the company has awarded 486 grants of up to $1,000 to fund classroom or school-based projects and lessons in grades K-12.
Fischer and his students will make educational signs and lessons about the owls and their habitat and will partner with a construction class to make the nesting boxes. Fischer says his class is even working on a children’s book about the project.
“This project will provide a great opportunity to involve a lot of students outside of my classroom,” Fischer said. “If we can install a camera in one of the boxes, I’ll ask our media class to help with live video streaming or to at least make the video available to the rest of the school.”
First-time grant recipient Tina Carpenter, a second-grade teacher at Wallace A. Smith Elementary, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press she’ll use her grant money to buy four Chromebook laptop computers for her class of 17 students, bringing the total to five Chromebooks in her classroom.
“What our public school teachers do is extraordinarily important,” said Tom White, Unum’s senior vice president in Investor Relations. “We want to support the community, and we want the community to grow and prosper, and one of the most effective ways to do that is having a very strong school system. So it’s a pleasure to honor, celebrate and reward the good work these teachers are doing.