BY LINDA FISH-ODA
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MASON -- A veteran teacher in the Mason City School District has earned one of the largest individual grants in the school's history.
Janice Bonham wrote a grant titled "Mathematics and Communication." It was one of 35 chosen nationwide to receive $10,000 from Toyota's Investment in Mathematics Excellence program.
"I was astounded when they told me I had won," said Mrs. Bonham, who graduated from Mason High School and now lives there.
She has taught in the district for 25 years, 18 of them at Mason Heights Elementary School. About 900 first- and second-graders attend Mason Heights.
Mrs. Bonham teaches math, science and social studies.
"My classroom is very hands-on and active," she said.
More than half of the grant -- $5,500 -- will be spent on developing a library of "readers," special mathematic workbooks that help children learn and practice problem solving.
Mrs. Bonham said the grant will be used to help try to improve proficiency test scores.
Last year, Mason fourth-graders placed in the 78th percentile in scores, ranking 33rd out of the 611 public school districts in the state.
"We're pretty good to begin with, but we're not satisfied with 78 percent," Mrs. Bonham said.
"We found the main stumbling block for fourth-graders is reading problems, figuring out how to solve them and then writing it down. The readers will give them experience in doing them," she said. More than 700 people applied for the grants, which are sponsored by Toyota and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.