Mrs. Julie Roush, of Mary Morgan Elementary School in Byron, used grant money from the Byron Foundation to purchase STEAM item such as magnetic blocks, ball mazes, light blocks, building materials and games for her classroom. It’s evident that the children love her purchases!

    Two Byron Mary Morgan Elementary School first-grade teachers received grants from the Byron Foundation. They purchased items that contribute to a hands-on learning environment, helping students practice cooperative play, team-building, and problem-solving skills.

    Mrs. Julie Roush purchased magnetic blocks, ball mazes, light blocks, building materials and games that are aimed at improving fine motor manipulation and strength, and enhancing thinking and reasoning skills.

    “I believe that some skills like imaginary play, team building and problem solving are easily overlooked both inside and outside the classroom. Mary Morgan has recently built a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) lab accessible to all grades. The new STEAM supplies provided for my classroom by the Foundation, help spark imagination and build confidence daily for my students,” Roush explained. “They use independent thinking instead of depending on technology, challenge their imagination and patience in problem solving, build leadership skills and feelings of success. Thanks to the Byron Foundation, the students have increased participation, focus, and engagement in the classroom.”

    Mrs. Cammie Henkel purchased games that increase math and reading skills, as well as provide hands-on exploration of these topics. Some of the games include Domino Creations, Mouse Trap, Magna-Tiles and Candy Land.

    “With the grant money, we were able to purchase many games and STEM activities to build life-long skills and to teach the children the value of working together as a team,” Henkel said. “We are incredibly thankful for this grant program and look forward to the impact it will have on our social/emotional development.”

    The Byron Foundation, 501c3 non-profit and established in 1993, is an independent organization founded to provide the Byron School educators access and opportunity to impact learning that empowers students and provides an enriched education beyond the district tax dollars. This volunteer team of parents, educators, and community members are committed to supporting children with unique experiences to help broaden their education, expose them to enriched opportunities and to cultivate leaders.

    The Board of Directors meets four to six times a year, hosts an annual fund-raiser, accepts and processes grants that average $5,000 a year, and manages scholarship funds for other individuals and organizations. Over the past 30 years, 45 community members have served as board members, raising funds and granting over $166,000 to the Byron School staff for use in their classrooms.

    For anyone that is inspired to give their time, talents, and/or a tax-deductible gift to the Byron Foundation Endowment Fund, please contact Byron Foundation President Michelle Albert at or 815-985-5102.

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