DeAnna Daniels, an art teacher at Hilton Head Island Early Childhood Center, was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Educational Excellence for her innovative project, “Alphabet Affirmations” for Pre-K and kindergarten students. COURTESY FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE

The Foundation for Educational Excellence awarded 13 Innovative Teacher Grants and 6 School Resource Grants in late November to teachers in 14 schools across Beaufort County. The grants, totaling more than $26,000, were awarded to teachers and schools for innovative learning opportunities and projects that go beyond the regular school district budget.

“The grants will provide individual learning opportunities for almost 7,000 Beaufort County students this year with some projects providing multi-year experiences,” said Michel Claudio, innovative grants chair and Foundation board member. “Students impacted by these funds include elementary through high school across the district.”

This year’s innovative learning projects range from producing a musical to creating a South Carolina fence garden, and from cooking classes for Special Education high school students to a composting program at an elementary school.

DeAnna Daniels, an art teacher at Hilton Head Island Early Childhood Center, was awarded a grant for her project, “Alphabet Affirmations” for Pre-K and kindergarten students at the school. The focus of the project will increase self-esteem by introducing positive and empowering words that students can use to describe themselves.

It will also aid students with letter identification and vocabulary. The project incorporates several subject areas and curriculums including art, character education, ELA, social and emotional learning and a positive behavior intervention system.

Jennifer Friend-Kerr, a teacher at Hilton Head School for the Creative Arts, also was awarded grant for her project, “In a Pickle.”

Also receiving grants were 11 projects in Bluffton schools and six projects in Northern Beaufort County schools.

“The Foundation is thrilled to help equip both teachers and students for an excellent return to classroom learning,” said Lisa Carroll, Foundation board chair. “These projects that exceed typical classroom budgets represent the passion and the dedication that our Beaufort County School District teachers have to provide their students with an educational experience that goes above and beyond.”

The Foundation for Educational Excellence raises funds to support the mission and goals of the Beaufort County School District by furthering student instructional activities and projects through Innovative Teacher Grants, Innovative School Resource Grants and Student Enrichment Grants.

The nonprofit Foundation is a fund of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. For more information, visit, call 843-304-1922, or email