The Fayette Education Foundation awarded grants totaling nearly $67,000 to four Fayette public schools on Friday.
The foundation's mission is to enhance learning and close achievement gaps, which are learning disparities between black, low-income and special-needs students and their peers.
This is the third year the foundation has supported an initiative — called Vision 2020 — launched by the district and the community to identify barriers to student learning and improve achievement.
"These schools have proposed innovative ways to improve learning and remove barriers to success," foundation chairman Leslie Fannin said.
Dixie Elementary received $8,000 toward teacher training, specifically targeting achievement gaps in reading and math; Glendover Elementary received $24,489 for interactive technology aimed to improve math scores; Lafayette High received $19,000 for an interactive technology classroom; and Yates Elementary received $15,000 for after-school clubs that focus on math, arts, chess and homework assistance.
Superintendent Stu Silberman was on hand to play chess with students at Yates on Friday morning. He praised the foundation for continuing to support the school district's 2020 Vision project. He took on third-grade student Annelise King, 8, who put up a good fight during their chess match.
"Chess is a critical-thinking type game and it actually causes a different type of brain development," Silberman said.
Annelise and her brother, Evan, 10, a fifth-grade student, are among about 10 students who participate in the Yates Elementary after-school chess club. Learning the game has changed their lives in numerous ways, they said.
"It helps me organize and stuff," Annelise said.
Her brother said it helps him think critically during the game and has enhanced learning in other subjects.
"I definitely say it helps me with math and definitely other strategy games," he said.