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Enjoy Local Breakfast and Support Local Classrooms at Saturday’s Flapjack Flip

By Shannon Cuthrell

Do you love breakfast food? If so, here’s your chance to enjoy a fantastic pancake meal and support local classrooms at the same time.

The Watauga Education Foundation will host its Flap Jack Flip on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 7:30-11 a.m. at Watauga High School. All proceeds will support local classrooms in the Watauga County Schools system.

Students at Green Valley school benefit from a Watauga Education Foundation grant. Bryce Miller and Makenlea Hayes enjoy learning to spell by using the OSMO game system that works with their teacher’s iPad.

Stop by to fill up on sausage from North Fork Farms, Goodnight Brothers country ham and homemade blueberry syrup. Your kids can have their photo taken with Santa for an additional charge, raffle tickets will be available for purchase and the Boone Service League’s holiday marketplace will give you a head start on your Christmas shopping.

This year, the Watauga Education Foundation awarded 20 grants to schools across Watauga County totaling $20,000 for teachers to enhance student learning environments. Though that was a huge success for the foundation, there is still more work to be done.

Next year, when requests come in, the Flap Jack Flip’s proceeds will help create classroom grants in local schools.

“It’s important to try new things and to have unique classroom experiences,” said Tracy Tilley, chair of the foundation’s marketing committee. “That’s what these grants do.”

“We run on a tight budget so that we can put as much money into the classroom as we can,” added Tilley.

The foundation grants requests to meet classroom needs for teachers that can’t be filled with local, state or federal funding.

Blowing Rock Elementary teacher Laurie Gill can sing the foundation’s praises after receiving a $1,000 grant to buy 22 portable gaming tablets with damage-proof cases as platforms for a program called Learning Ally for reading-challenged students with IEPs. The program holds 80,000 audiobooks and has a synchronized highlighting feature so students can improve as they read.

“That way, the students aren’t stigmatized,” said Gill. “They can just sit in class with a cool tablet and earphones.”

Blowing Rock Elementary’s dream to give students access to any book they want to read was made possible by the Watauga Education Foundation.

“The foundation opened up the library of the world for our students who ‘struggle with print,’ which is a phrase I use because it’s less stigmatizing than saying ‘reading disabilities,’” said Gill.

Tilley said that educating children is the most important thing to do as parents and a community.

“Half that battle is made for us because of the stellar quality of our teachers and administration,” said Tilley, “but the foundation’s role is to enhance what’s already going on in the school system.”

Gill said the foundation’s work has ushered in “a new day in the literacy education.”

“It’s a great day to teach in Watauga County Schools, where we have the support of the Watauga Education Foundation to push the envelope,” Gill said.

Advance tickets for the Flapjack Flip are $6 and may be purchased from any Watauga Education Foundation board member or any Boone Service League member or you could purchase online at http://wataugaeducationfoundation.org/events/flapjack-flip/. They will also be available for $8 at the door.