Council grants help meet student needs

The Conway Regional Women’s Council recently awarded 15 grants totaling $7,500 to area schoolteachers to support child wellness and fitness initiatives. Three of those grants were made to educators at Theodore Jones Elementary School in Conway.

“The grants we have received will enable us to expand how we reach our students,” said Theodore Jones Elementary School Principal Tammy Woosley. “While it is always our goal to reach the whole child, often we have to weigh the academic side against other areas of teaching. These grants help us purchase materials that will help us better reach all student’s needs.”

This is the second year for the grant program, which is available to schools within the Conway Regional service area (Faulkner, Cleburne, Perry, Conway and Van Buren counties). It offers PreK-12th grade educators financial support for innovative classroom programs promoting physical activity, good nutrition and/or personal wellness. 

The grants stem from the council’s emphasis in 2015 on childhood obesity awareness and prevention.

The women’s council received $3,500 in donations through the Second Annual Arkansas Give Day, held last spring, to help fund the grant program. The remaining funds represent proceeds from the annual Dazzle Daze fundraiser, planned by the women’s council.

“I am very proud to see the impact the Conway Regional Women’s Council is making on the health of our children through our Teacher’s Grant program,” said Dot Welch, associate director of the Conway Regional Health Foundation. “The leadership and dedication shown by this group of women is awesome. They truly care about our community.”

The grants will be used in a variety of ways at Theodore Jones Elementary:

Randi House will use the grant for “Wiggling with Kinders” to purchase alternative seating for her kindergarten class. The seating will promote active engagement.

This is the second year that she has been awarded a women’s council grant. Allowing students to wiggle, rock and bounce during lessons helps promote improvement in executive functioning skills. “Students need to be actively engaged in lessons,” House wrote in her application.

Brittany Shea Griffith, English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher, and Danette Dunn, second grade teacher, received a grant to support the Jones’ Joggers Running Club at the school. The club meets twice a week for a one-hour practice session.

In the grant application, Griffith pointed out that the funds will be used to increase student buy-in while motivating students to set and achieve goals.

Amy Hubbard received a grant to purchase basketball goals for special needs students. “I will use the grant to purchase adaptive equipment for students with disabilities in order to make physical activity time (recess) more purposeful,” she wrote. “This will foster increased opportunities for practicing social skills among peers without disabilities.”

Woosley said the grants will provide the financial support to purchase items that will enrich students’ learning experience. “By adding flexible seating, running materials or basketball goals, we can be sure we are meeting the emotional and physical aspects of learning and reaching the whole child,” she said. “The grants will enable us to not only reach more children and their personal needs, but it will also allow us to do our own research on what works for kids.”

The Council hopes to continue the Teacher Grant program through donations from AR Gives Day on Thursday, April 6, and other fundraising efforts. 

The staff and faculty at Theodore Jones Elementary expressed their appreciation to the women’s council for the grants. “We very much appreciate the Women’s Council for considering our needs and supporting our belief in reaching the physical side of learning,” Woosley said. “Each student learns differently, and because of their commitment to providing grants to schools, we can ensure these needs are better met.”

For more information about the grant program, contact the Conway Regional Marketing and Foundation Office at 501.513.5771, email [email protected] or visit