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Great Stories Club-The Art of Change

Creation Growth & Transformation Grant Application


https://apply.ala.org/greatstories/
Project Director Information:
LaRae Thornton
Media Specialist
Wayne County High School/Wayne County Alternative School
Work Phone: (912) 427-1096 ext. 701
Cell Phone: (912) 294-1446
Shipping Address:
Wayne County High School
One Jacket Drive
Jesup GA, 31545-7895
My library is located within an organization that serves an at-risk population.
1) Please tell us why you are interested in applying for a GSC grant.
I believe the current theme Creation, Growth, and Transformation will be meaningful to the
individuals who participate in this program because many of the students in our Wayne County
Alternative School Program have elements in their lives inside and outside of school that have
created situations which set them up for failure. A large portion of the students in the program
live in poverty, broken homes, and drugs are in neighborhoods or homes where they live. These
students are at-risk because of the three major reasons that they have been placed in the Wayne
County Alternative School: Drugs, Sex, and Violence. These are the students who need an
emotional outlet and a safe place to express their feelings. Having a Great Stories Media Club
will allow them to grow and transform. This program will give them a way to create new
outcomes for their future and envision a life and a way to climb from poverty to success. I
envision a program where we meet each month to discuss the books they are reading and relate
them to their own lives using an anonymous sharing method. This way no one has to know who
it is, but the group can lift each other up and offer advice for success. I would like to invite guest
speakers to the group, there are several people from Wayne County who would be great for this:
Grammy award winning gospel singer Tasha Cobbs, Pro-Football Player Tre Jackson, and local
author Ed Bacon. (Please note we will try to get some of these people to come but they have
demanding schedules and they might not meet our time frame.) The Alternative School
Principal, Dr. Blackwell, and I would like to have a meeting in December, give the students a
gift card for Books-A-Million, and take them on a field trip to the closest store in Brunswick,
Georgia. Some of these students have never traveled outside of Jesup, Georgia. I envision
creating a light in their hearts by letting them escape into a good book, and developing a love for

reading. Studies have shown that students who read more increase test scores, thus raising their
success in the education environment too. Success in school will also build self-confidence, and
give them a way to climb out of poverty. I see this program as a life-line that will make a
difference in these students lives. Success is measured with the difference we can make in these
young lives. If I can raise even one student up to be successful in school, be able to move back
to day school, graduate from high school, and develop a love of reading then I will be successful
with this endeavor.
2) Describe the population from which your Great Stories Club discussion group will be
drawn.
Students who participate in the program range in ages 14-18, 40% are female, and 60% are male.
Students will be selected using the following criteria: student is economically challenged,
students Lexile scores are between 700 and 1000, and successful Alternative School behavior
record. Students currently learn using an online program using Edgenuity. There is no media
program or pull out program to encourage reading. The counselor does meet and advise students
throughout the semester.
3) How will participation in your reading and discussion group be achieved?
I will work closely with the Principal of the Alternative school program to develop group
discussions that relate to the books and allow students to relate the material to their lives. The
incentive for this program is the freedom that they will be granted during club time. Rules do
not allow students to talk or disrupt class at any time. This will give them a chance to talk and
share in a meaningful way. I plan to use what I learn in Orlando to implement the program. The
alternative school program has a strict behavior code and to remain in the Great Stories Media
Club, students must maintain a clear behavior record. Students will remain in the program unless
expelled from the Alternative School. If behavior becomes an issue, then the students will be
given a warning. After the warning students will be dismissed from that days session. After 2
dismissals the student will not be invited back for participation. In such a case an alternate will
be selected to participate in the program. I do not see participation as a challenge, because these
students are so isolated in the Alternative Program. This would be the only club that they would
be allowed to participate in since they cannot participate in day school extra-curricular activities.
This is the only access they have to any type of reading program. The community outreach will
be taking the students to the public library and to the book store. This will be the first time some
of these students have ever been to the public library and for one it will be the first time they
have traveled out of Wayne County.
4) Please clearly describe your plan to implement the Great Stories Club.
The first meeting, in August, I will invite students who qualify to participate in the program. If
students decline alternate students will be selected who have the qualifying 700 to 1000 Lexile
score who are not economically challenged, but need to increase their Lexile scores. These
students would also benefit from the programs sessions. Ten students will form the group and
the first set of books will be issued. I, as the media specialist, will lead the book discussions over
various topics from each book. Students will then anonymously write down how their lives can

relate to the books being read. We will share with each other and give advice to help these
students. For at least two sessions I plan on having guest speakers who have become successful,
grew up in Jesup, and came from economically challenged homes. One night a week the
guidance counselor is available for the students. I would like to invite her to attend some
sessions to be there for students who may need her private advice on how to deal with some of
the situations they face in their daily lives. In September we will meet to discuss the first book
and issue the next book. In October we will meet again to discuss the latest book and issue the
third book to read. In November we will meet to discuss the last book. Each of these monthly
meetings will be for 1 hours. We will also give out permission forms for a field trip to the
local library and to Books-A-Million in Brunswick, Georgia.

5) Describe how you will highlight and explore the humanities content of the Change
series.
Students will be introduced to the topic of the Growth Mindset vs the Fixed Mindset. We will
watch a short video that describes this idea and how it can promote change by thinking about
things differently. Focus on how humans learn from mistakes if they persevere and never give
up they will continue to grow as a person. I will ask guest speakers to discuss how destructive
situations in their lives were overcome and how they used these bumps in the road to become
stronger as a person. When the counselor visits we will discuss the mistakes the students have
made that led to their attendance at the alternative school. We can discuss how they could have
handled a situation differently, and how they will not be lead astray to make the same mistake
again. Discussion points can be incorporated from the Club Blog. As students read they can
post thoughts on the blog. These ideas can be used to help develop topics for discussion that are
related to the reading material. To encourage students to keep reading we plan on taking two
field trips. First is field trip to the Public Library. We will tour the library and students will sign
up for their library card. Last is a field trip to Books-A-Million; students will be given a $10 gift
card to purchase a book. These two trips will require school buses, a driver, and permission from
parents. These two trips are designed to keep students reading, and give them the opportunity to
choose what they want to read.
6) How will you evaluate your GSC series?
First I will call roll for each meeting. I will keep record of attendance using a Google
spreadsheet. One way I will keep a record will be to develop a Weebly blog that has password
protection. Students can anonymously post their thoughts and reflections about each book. The
can do this as they read the book and these can be used to develop discussion points. For the
meeting. Students can also reflect after the meeting and discuss what was the most important
point of discussion for them. This will not be required but encouraged. Their thoughts will
remain private and anonymous this will not be a public site. Only members of the group will
have the password. Student progress will be measured based on their feedback. At the end of
each session I will ask students for feedback using a Google form.

Event Type

Date

Initial Meeting

08/23/16

Projected
Attendance
10

Location

Book Discussion

09/20/16

10

WCHS Media Center

Book Discussion

10/18/16

10

WCHS Media Center

Book Discussion

11/01/16

10

WCHS Media Center

Field Trip

11/15/16

10

Wayne County
Public Library

Field Trip

12/01/16

10

Books-A-Million

WCHS Media Center

Brief Description
This is the initial meeting to introduce students to the program and to
ask them to participate. We will talk about the first book they are going
to read. Give them information about the blog and how to post
comments that are anonymous. The first book that will be issued will
be Buck: A Memoir by M.K. Asante.
(TBA Guest Speaker) Motivation Topic: Having a Growth MindsetBook Discussion Buck: A Memoir by M.K. Asante based on blog
topics and topics learned in the Orlando meeting. There will be light
refreshments for guest and students. At the end of the meeting I will
have students complete the Discussion Evaluation Google Form. When
they have completed the form I will issue the next book: The
Absolutely True diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
(TBA Guest Speaker) Motivation Topic: Change is Good-Book
Discussion-the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian based on
student blogs and the Orlando meeting information. Have students read
on paragraph that they found moving in the book. There will be light
refreshments for guest and students. At the end of the meeting I will
have students complete the discussion Evaluation Google form. When
they have completed the form I will issue the next book: The Complete
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
(TBA-Guest Speaker) Motivation Topic: War, Racism, & PovertyBook Discussion-The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. The
discussion topics will be based on Blog topics. There will be light
refreshments for guest and students. At the end of the meeting I will
have students compete the Discussion Evaluation Google form. When
they have completed the form, I will issue field trip forms to students.
For both the field trip to the public library and to Books-A-Million in
Brunswick.
Students will board a school bus to visit the Wayne County Public
Library. We will tour the library in groups of 5 and while touring the
other five will sign up for their Library Card. We will exchange places
and repeat the process. Then we will return to school.
Students will board a school bus for the 50-mile trip to Books-AMillion. Each student will be given a $10.00 gift card to purchase the
book of their choice. This will be the final meeting for the grant.

Estimated Expenses
Refreshments
Bus, Driver, Gas
Books-A-Million Gift Cards
Estimated Total Cost

$90.00
$260.00
$100.00
$450.00

LaRae Evors Thornton


One Jacket Drive, Jesup, GA
31545-7895
(912) 427-1096 ext. 701
lthornton@wayne.k12.ga.us

Objectives
My objective is to increase the success of my students at Wayne County High School and Wayne County
Alternative school.

Experience
Wayne County High School
August 1997 to Present
I have served as a Math Teacher at WCHS for 18.5 years. I have served as head class sponsor for 9th and
11th grades for a total of 6 years. I was head of the Applied Math Department for 5 years. I am a
certified Intel Master Teacher. I am also certified as a gifted teacher. I was the Assistant Varsity
Basketball Coach for 2 years. I have been hired to be the media specialist for the 2016-2017 school year.

Appling County Comprehensive High School


December 1994 to May 1997
I served as a Math teacher at ACCHS for 3 years. I was also a Beta Club Sponsor.

Education
Georgia Southern University, B.S. Ed. & M.Ed. in Math Education, & Certification as a Media
Specialist: 1994, 1998, 2016
Served as Secretary of the G.S.U. Chapter of Mathematics Association of America.
Selected as a Member of Pi Lambda Theta

Lesley University, Ed. S. in Technology in Education: 2008

References
Wayne County High School
Karen Ogden- kogden@wayne.k12.ga.us
Dr. Shrone- Blackwell-sblackwell@wayne.k12.ga.us