"Beyond just classroom teachers getting it, the grants help the whole school," Zarefoss said.
Media center specialist Charlene Knowles has used a grant to purchase story books with math lessons to help provide some extra instruction for the teachers as well as provide an incentive for students.
"They're library books, but they're about math," Knowles said, adding the books are categorized and organized for specific grade levels. "[The books] meet the Bartow County math curriculum."
She explained the books help children learn math while they read. For example, a book titled "The Greedy Triangle" tells a story that integrates a lesson in geometry.
"The response has been great," Knowles said. "You'd be surprised how many students do ask for a book about math."
Physical education instructor Joy Walker used a grant that played off the role of a school library, but gave it a twist.
"A lot of our children don't have [athletic] equipment at home so I just thought if they could borrow books from the library, they could borrow my things," Walker said.
Walker purchased with the grant 79 "homework" bags -- containing equipment ranging from balls to Speed Stack cups -- that students can carry home for one week. An AES grandparent, Debbie Edwards, painted the bags.
Walker said in order for students to have access to the homework bags, they must follow the schools "PAWS" principals -- be prepared, accept responsibility, work hard and show respect. Students and parents also have to sign a consent form to use the bags.
"Almost like having to have permission to use the Internet or take [a student's] picture, I wanted to make sure mom and dad knew [the student] was borrowing [the items], it's not just something you can just have," Walker said.
She said the response has been "amazing."
"The children are loving it," Walker said.
Counselor Wendi Rood knows students sometimes need a minute to get away, and that's why she has used grants to upgrade her office with items children will enjoy, including a karaoke machine, a Nintendo Wii and an interactive doll house. Younger students who need some extra attention are assigned a fifth-grader to be their peer mentor and the two students work together on Rood's games and materials.
"I just really wanted to build my office so everyone is comfortable there," Rood said. "I cannot even be present and the kids can use it as their home, they know where things are, they take care of it, they clean up and I've just really tried to make a relaxed atmosphere where they can come in and play, not only with their mentors but with me if needed."
Rood is like Knowles in that she provides to teachers materials purchased with her grants.
"It's for everyone. The teachers can check out the karaoke machine to use for play if it's cold or rainy outside, the board games are available, so anyone in the school can use these things I've purchased," Rood said.