School Foundation grants $7K for innovative projects
Posted on 02/07/2013

The Poplar Bluff Public School Foundation awarded about $7,000 to finance two educational endeavors, each of which is designed to give students—from elementary age to adults—the 21st century skillset needed to be successful.

All 130 staff members of Eugene Field Elementary School and the 5th & 6th Grade Center will now receive consultation from FranklinCovey to move the facilities one step closer to becoming official Leader in Me schools, while the 27 Technical Career Center cosmetology students will learn how to perform more advanced facials and chemical peels.

The Foundation unanimously approved the select proposals because, board members variously affirmed during a recent special meeting, they believe in the dedication of the school officials over the projects, and that the one-time expenses will lead to self-sustainability.

“One of our purposes is to try to support innovative projects that benefit students that the district does not have room for within its budget,” Foundation board member Emily Wolpers stated. “I particularly liked the Franklin Covey consultation because teachers have already begun to implement (‘The Leader in Me’) on their own, and there’s been a lot of enthusiasm prior to them approaching us, which really showed us they’re behind it.”

Foundation board member Dr. Mike Price agreed that the initiative is a worthwhile investment since educators have already “taken ownership” in the methodology, beginning in 2011. Price and Wolpers were also on the same page regarding the expansion of the cosmetology program since, they said, it will prepare TCC students for the real world.

“I like the idea because of the business aspect students are being exposed to,” Price explained. “Jobs as beauticians at salons and spas, or barbershops, aren’t just about cutting or coloring hair; you have to be able to sell some products. Once they have that seed money they will have to buy supplies and make a profit, much like running a business.”

The grant proposal submitted on behalf of the cosmetology program further iterates how retail skills are essential in the industry since workers have to be able to recommend specific home care products for optimal skin health “in an informative, nonaggressive way.”

“These higher level peels with a better quality product will allow students to look at a person and give a recommendation based on the different types of skin and conditions,” said Susan Chronister, cosmetology program coordinator. “It’s hard to teach that from looking at before and after pictures. Students will get a deeper, hands-on experience that a lot of the times they don’t see until they are in the field.”

The winning project description of ‘The Leader in Me’ details how participating schools have reported decreased student discipline referrals and increased student achievement, upon going through the steps to apply Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the basis for the culture-changing teaching philosophy.

“Everything about the program emulates the 21st century (knowhow) that businesses and industries want from us,” said Jennifer Taylor, Eugene Field principal. Partnering principal, Mike Owen of the 5th & 6th Grade Center, added: “I’m excited that (the Foundation) sees the potential in this program, and I appreciate the vision they have in our kids as future leaders.”

To make a contribution to the Foundation, a nonprofit organization that was incorporated in 1999, contact R-I Superintendent Chris Hon’s secretary Ann Smith at 573-785-7751.


Cutline: Poplar Bluff Technical Career Center Kaci Stull of Neelyville practices giving a facial massage to Brooke Baccus of Naylor in aesthetics class.

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