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Boe receives $31,900 in grant funds

The Claiborne school system now has $31,900 more in its coffers, courtesy of a Utrust grant.

The extra dollars will be used to add safety features and upgrades to the campuses.

Bob Oakes, schools safety director, says it is a priority for teachers, staff and students to enjoy working and learning in a secure environment.

“We appreciate the work and dedication of each employee of the Claiborne County school system. We want them to know that they are valued and essential to the success of our school system.

“We will use a portion of the funds from the Utrust grant to purchase items that we can present to employees as tokens of appreciation,” said Oakes.

Utrust, an organization that began in 1980 as the Tennessee School Boards Insurance Trust, assists local school boards with employee benefits. At the time of its name change in 2008, Utrust added to its mission statement a way to recognize, appreciate and develop employees.

Eight appreciation days were established during each school year. Utrust staff develops packets specifically for elementary, middle, and high schools to use in celebrating a different group of employees during each of the appreciation days. The packets give suggestions on how students can use their talents and creativity to honor school employees. There are separate packets for use by the board and superintendent for system-wide support and celebration.

Utrust developed a second way in which to show appreciation every week during the school year with the creation of ‘G-Force’ (gratitude-force).

While learning to express appreciation to those who make a difference in their lives, students also learn leadership skills through the program.

Dr. Joseph Miller, director of Claiborne schools, said he is grateful for the funds.

“We’re excited whenever we can find funds for things that our school system needs that don’t come from Claiborne County taxpayers,” said Miller.

Dr. Dan Tollett, Utrust administrator, says he is pleased that his organization can fund small projects that will make a big difference to the students and staff of Claiborne County schools.

“We’re glad to be a part of such a worthy project,” said Tollett.

Governed by a seven member board of trustees, elected by member school boards, Utrust’s primary focus has been the administration of unemployment compensation.

The Claiborne County school system is one of 51 districts across Tennessee to receive a mini-grant. Utrust is distributing more than $1 million total in grant funds, during the month of January.