Education briefs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

Grant program hosts classroom pet habitat contest

The Pets in the Classroom grant program invites pre-kindergarten through 8th grade teachers with classroom pets to enter in the Classroom Habitat Contest. Sept. 19 through Dec. 10, teachers can submit pictures of their classroom pet’s habitat. All entries are being featured on the Pets in the Classroom website, and people are invited to vote for their favorite habitat. The teacher whose entry receives the most votes when the contest ends will be selected as one of the contest winners and one additional teacher will also be selected as a winner based on random selection.  Each winner will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

The Pets in the Classroom grant program provides grants to teachers in both private and public schools for the purpose of purchasing and maintaining classroom pets. Classroom animals are wonderful resources for teachers that, when incorporated into lesson plans, can have a profound impact. Classroom pets not only provide excitement in the classroom, but they also benefit students by teaching them responsible, long-term pet care at an early age and providing the psychological and developmental benefits associated with the human-animal bond. Studies have shown that caring for pets has a positive effect on children, improving school attendance and teaching children responsibility, as well as encouraging nurturing and building self-esteem.

For more information on the Pets in the Classroom grant program or the habitat contest, visit

School board candidates to attend Tea Party meeting

This month’s Rowan Tea Party meeting will feature candidates running for the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education. Attendees may bring questions for the candidates. The Tea Party will meet on Sept. 20 at the Blue Bay on Statesville Boulevard at 6 p.m. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

Gemstones Academy and COMPASS opens food pantry for children

Gemstones Academy and COMPASS, founded by Alisha Byrd and Alex Clark, will celebrate a food pantry grand opening for children in partnership with Charlotte based Coca-Cola and sponsored by Wal-Mart on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event will take place in the rear parking lot of the Kent Executive building, 909 S. Main St., suite 225.

The initiative’s primary focus is to reduce child hunger in the community. Applications will be accepted on-site for families and children who are in need. Parents may also register their child or children for Gemstones Academy and COMPASS and Next Level Tutoring.

Food pantry donations are accepted — requested items include: small boxes of cereal, Pop Tarts, cereal and granola bars, individual boxes of grits or cereal, peanut butter and cheese crackers, Goldfish, microwave popcorn, assorted Jell-o, assorted pudding cups, pretzels, 100-calorie snack packs, ramen noodles, Chef Boyardee microwave cups, microwave mac and cheese, Beanie Weenies, Vienna sausages, juice boxes, and non-perishable white or chocolate milk.

Gemstones Academy and COMPASS is a 501-C-3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide youth with the skill sets to achieve their maximum potential by unwrapping their hidden talents, gifts and abilities with confidence, optimism, motivation, persistence, assertiveness, studiousness and success.

For more information, contact Alisha Byrd 704-640-7254 or Alex Clark 980-643-8487, or via email