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With all the recent talk about education and its lack of funding, the city is putting its money where its mouth is.

As part of the city's Strategic Planning Commission, Brian Pead has been assigned to help with programs that can improve educational opportunities in Orem, including Teaching Excellence Project Grants.For the past two years, Pead has been part of a committee that has awarded $600 grants for various projects such as purchasing computer software and expanding arts programs.

The city has put aside $15,000 for this program, Pead said. "They haven't given just lip service to education."

"Some of the requests are very creative," he said. "We had to choose to fund the projects that we felt would do the most good."

One of the most creative, Pead said, was a proposal to build a small kitchen area at Hillcrest Elementary School to teach mentally handicapped students to cope better with life.

Orem Mayor S. Blaine Willes said, "We (Orem) believe in education and this program was a way to show that."

The program combines the imagination and ingenuity of those in education without demanding a lot of funding, he said.

Pamela Hallam, assistant principal at Orem Junior High School, wrote to the City Council to thank them for the funding that had come to her school and said, "We are very excited to see this kind of partnership develop with public education (and Orem)."

Some of last year's recipients included Lakeridge Junior High School for a fitness program, Cherry Hill Elementary School to upgrade a reading program, and Orem High School to purchase laser discs of famous art objects for the school's art department.

But Pead said the committee does not want to limit award recipients to teachers in public education only.

"Any person involved in education in Orem may apply," he said. Those in both the public and the private sector are encouraged to submit creative proposals.In the past years, proposals have been submitted during the first two months of the year and the committee distributes the awards by April.

This gives the recipients the summer months to implement the program and prepare for the fall, Pead said.

"We sent our committee out in May to see what had been done" by those who had received money the first year, he said. "The response was tremendous."


(Additional information)

How to apply

To apply for Teaching Excellence Project Grants, contact June Hair at the Orem City Center, 224-7035. Anyone involved in education in Orem, public or private, may apply for the grants. They will be given out during the next school year.