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We Support Our Schools

April 2024 - Kelli Hollingsworth

The April 2024 “We Support Our School’s” grant has been awarded to Kelli Hollingsworth from Hamilton Middle School. A2Z Personnel and the Drive at 107.9 award this grant monthly during the school year to deserving educators in the Bitterroot Valley from Darby to Florence.


Kelli Hollingsworth teaches 5th grade in Hamilton. She requested this grant to address the lighting issues in her classroom. The bright florescent lights produces a glare on the smartboard in the front of the classroom, and many students have a difficult time viewing what is written there. The fluorescents also reflect on student's homework making it difficult for them to concentrate. Covers are available that magnetically fit over the florescent lights reducing the glare and softening the lighting in the classroom. Ms. Hollingsworth will be choosing “clouds" or another natural scene such as looking up through a canopy of trees for the light covers to create a calming and more enjoyable effect for the students. The students really enjoy new enhancements to the classroom so this will be a treat for them!

Thank you, Kelli Hollingsworth, your thoughtfulness and consideration for your class carries forward into our community, creating a new group of thoughtful members. Thanks for looking out for your students and creating the best environment you can.

If you would like to apply for this grant or know a deserving teacher you would like to nominate, contact Jodee

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March 2024 - Dakota Wilton

A2Z Personnel and the Drive at 107.9 are proud to award the March 2024 “We Support Our School’s” Grant to Stevensville Elementary’s 4th grade teacher, Dakota Wilton!


Dakota is a Bitterroot local, attending Lone Rock Elementary and then graduating from Stevensville High School. She now teaches 4th grade at Stevensville and is the Cheerleading coach. She is eager to use her $200 grant money to purchase some flexible seating fro her students. Dakota says, “This is a really tough year for students who have to learn a lot and sit more than they ever have.” She has noticed with the few Yoga Ball seats they currently have that the wiggle energy decreases and student focus increases. The flexible seating is $137 for 5 balls, so the grant money will more than double the existing seating they have. 


Thank you Dakota Wilton for your commitment to our valley’s youth and creating these fundamental building blocks to help them succeed. 

If you would like to apply for this grant or know a deserving teacher you would like to nominate, contact Jodee

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February 2024 - Jennifer Kirby

The "We Support our Schools" grant for February 2024, awarded by A2Z Personnel and the Drive at 107.9., goes to Jennifer Kirby.

Jennifer is the band teacher at Florence School and teaches students from 6th-12th grade. She will be applying the $200 grant money to help cover the cost to purchase a new snare drum harness for the marching band. These harnesses are quite expensive, but are a much needed piece of equipment for the health and ease of use of the players.

Florence School has 6th, 7th, 8th grade and high school band as well as jazz and marching band. The school also offers a HS Guitar class. The Marching band performs for the UM Griz Homecoming parade, the Florence Homecoming parade, football and basketball games and sending teams off for State meets. Catch the Florence band at their next event and enjoy some great music.

Thank you, Jennifer Kirby, for your devotion to music and encouraging your students to be the best they can be.

For a list of concerts or sporting events, where the band plays, check out Florence school's calendar of events for performances dates.

If you would like to apply for this grant or know a deserving teacher you would like to nominate, contact Jodee

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January 2024 - Anna McCrossin

The January 2024 recipient of the "We Support our Schools" grant awarded by A2Z Personnel and the Drive at 107.9., is Annah McCrossin from Corvallis Elementary.

Mrs. McCrossin is Corvallis Elementary's Librarian. She will be utilizing the grant to purchase books for 3rd and 4th grade students to participate in this year's "Montana Battle of the Books" on March 13th.  The 12 books for this year's contest vary from 300-page books to graphic novels, covering all levels of reading abilities.  Several copies of each book will be purchased and then used by multiple, 3 membered teams per 3rd and 4th grade class. The teams will then study and "battle", answering trivia about each book.  Students must be able to pronounce and write the author and the name of each book.  The students will have several opportunities to prepare for the contest; First a practice competition,  then an inter-school contest to determine which team should represent each grade group and then they face off with other schools heading towards the State level, held at the Public library in Missoula. There 3rd and 4th,  5th and 6th, and 7th and 8th graders will pair up and compete against teams from across Montana.  Good Luck Corvallis!

Thank you Mrs. McCrossin for encouraging your students to compete in this literacy contest.  The competition on March 13th is an all-day event at the Missoula Public Library if you want to see firsthand how your Corvallis team is faring.

If you would like to apply for this grant or know a deserving teacher you would like to nominate, contact Jodee

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December 2023 - Erica McKoy

December’s 2023 recipient of the "We Support our Schools” grant, awarded by A2Z Personnel and the Drive at 107.9, is Erica McKoy from Washington Elementary School in Hamilton.

This is Mrs. McKoy first year teaching Kindergarten at Washington Elementary. She was nominated for the grant by a parent who expressed, "She is amazing with the kids", "patient and kind" and has really helped them in "maturity and with scholastics”.

Mrs. McKoy intends to use the $200 grant for two project loans from the Museum of the Rockies where they have outreach kits on loan for educators. The "Living in Space" Astronomy Kit is one of several that the class could see in January or February and Paleontology and Geology Outreach Kits contain choices such as the Fossil kit, the class would like to see in May.

Congratulations Mrs. McKoy. You inspire the children with whom you work, and their parents and the rest of our community appreciate your efforts.

If you would like to apply for this grant or know a deserving teacher you would like to nominate, contact Jodee at:

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NOVember 2023 - Robert Prince

Robert Prince, from Stevensville's Primary school, is the November 2023 recipient of the "We Support our Schools" grant awarded by A2Z Personnel and the Drive at 107.9.

Mr. Prince teaches music and applied for the $200 grant to assist in achieving his goal to purchase 12 or more instrument stands. 400 kindergarten through 5th grade students use instruments weekly. Currently, the music department has two stands, so the remainder of the class sits on the floor. These special stands allow for better posture while playing music and ease of mobility when relocating the instruments to move to the gym for concerts or in the classroom. The music department will now be able to buy 2 stands with this grant but has a long-time goal that stands will be available for each of the instruments.

Thank you Mr. Prince for instilling musical creativity with the Stevensville youth. Their next concert is December 15th for the Kindergarten and 1st grade classes.

If you would like to apply for this grant or know a deserving teacher you would like to nominate, contact Jodee at:

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September 2023 - Christy Duchein

A2Z Personnel and The Drive 107.9 are excited to award the first We Support Our Schools grant for the 2023-2024 season to Christy Duchein!

Christy is the middle school ELA and PE teacher and the High School Volleyball coach at Florence schools. With her grant money, Christy is planning on purchasing a set of workbooks titled “Mindfulness for Student Athletes”. There are 30 lessons in the book that her Volleyball team will focus on weekly that address stress management, focusing on the moment and getting back to the task at hand after mental disruptions. This workbook is specifically geared towards teenagers to reduce stress, enhance performance, improve mental toughness and address challenges. Christy hopes these skills will help her team now and later in life, wherever her students go.

Congratulations and thank you Christy for your work with the students in Florence. Your positive contributions enhance our Bitterroot community and beyond! Good Luck this season!

If you would like to apply for the We Support Our Schools grant or know a deserving teacher you would like to nominate, contact Jodee at:

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April 2023 - Leanne Deschamps

A2Z Personnel and the Drive 107.9 had the pleasure of presenting Leanne Deschamps with the “We Support Our Schools" grant for April 2023!

Leanne teaches high school English at Florence Carlton High School and will use this grant money for a special project that she and her students have been preparing for quite some time. 

Leanne and her students have been researching different plants and flowers to plant in the exterior of the High School entrance that was disrupted during remodeling construction. They’ve taken into consideration hardiness zones, plants that resist deer and drought, and which plants are good pollinators. They have also looked at when different flowers bloom, and changing leaf color for fall. Leanne’s class decided on plants that take variable amounts of sun such as shade loving Bleeding Hearts, Hosta and ferns. They also chose an Ivory Halo Dogwood bush that has deep red bark when the leaves are bare in the winter. The students started some of these plants at school in March in their Environmental Science class and will have beautiful plants ready to go outside on May 24th. 

This is a lovely class project that will give back to their classmates and community for many years to come.

Thank you, Leanne Deschamps for all your positive contributions to the Florence School students! We are excited for you to make great use of the We Support our Schools’ grant!

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March 2023 - Michelle Welch

A2Z Personnel and the Drive 107.9 are happy to award Michelle Welch with the “We Support Our Schools" grant for March 2023! Michelle Welch is the Mental Health Counselor at Florence School. She is proud that Florence has this resource to provide to their students.
With the grant, Michelle intends to buy sensory “fidgets” to help keep students attention focused on their tasks using acceptable tools. These include zipper bracelets, textured sticks, and Lava tiles. Michelle wants to create a Sensory Wall using the Lava Tiles. She says these fidgets are key for those with anything from test anxiety to depression, helping students reset.

In addition, Michelle wants to work towards a Recreation Room, where students earn the reward of gaining access to this area after the goal behavior is met. Michelle’s department also provides Basic Needs such as tooth paste, soap, deodorant, and shampoo for students. Snacks are provided to students and the “We Support Our Schools” grant will assist in covering all these areas as well. Currently, this department relies on personal donations and has benefited from the Rapp Family Foundation.

Thank you Michelle Welch for all your positive contributions to the Florence School students! We’re excited for you to make great use of the We Support our Schools grant!

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February 2023 - Ms. Dandy

A2Z Personnel and The Drive 107.9 are happy to award with the We Support Our Schools grant for February of 2023!

Ms. Dandy is a 4th grade teacher at Daly Elementary School in Hamilton. She is excited to use this grant to purchase more books for her class from the “National Park Mystery Series” by Aaron Johnson. This book series follows Jake Evans and his two friends on a scavenger hunt through some of America’s most rugged, wild, and beautiful national parks. Ms. Dandy’s  students are currently reading the 1st book of the series, "Mystery in Rocky Mountain Park".  The next book is about Zion National Park.    

Ms. Dandy's class is eager to get to the Yellowstone book because their entire class is going to Yellowstone this spring for a 4-day excursion where they will get to use snowshoes and hopefully see some of the hints they read about in their new books!  Books like these encourage learning about our National treasures and reinforce the importance of exploring many topics to capture young readers imaginations and interest. 

Thank you, Kristine and all the teachers who encourage imagination with learning. If you would like to nominate a teacher or apply for this grant, please send your request to

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January 2023 - Jackie McCann

A2Z Personnel and The Drive 107.9 are happy to award Jackie McCann with the We Support Our Schools grant for January of 2023! Mrs. McCann is the Liberian at Florence Elementary School. 

Mrs. McCann has really been wanting to create a fairy garden space for her students to enjoy and to also help spark imagination for writing. She was inspired by her own kids and the adventures they would go on together to the Missoula Library. She has fond memories of stopping to take in the gnome tree they had on display. 

The fairy garden will be a group project as some of the features will be made by the high school shop class. Mrs. McCann plans to fill the space right outside of the library with plants, gnomes, fairies, and other fun items that will help to spark creativity. 

We would like to thank Jackie and all the teachers who go out of their way to provide a fun and creative environment for their students. We know the importance of imagination in kids and we can’t wait to see all the amazing creativity to come out of this project.  

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October 2022 - Christopher Haxton

A2Z Personnel and the Drive 107.9 are happy to award Christopher Haxton with the We Support Our Schools grant for October 2022! Mr. Haxton is a middle school teacher at Darby Middle School.

This year Mr. Haxton is teaching a pilot program for his middle schoolers, Leather Carving. In this class, students will focus on the art of leather carving and stitching.

Mr. Haxton has been doing leather work for over 40 years himself and has been really enjoying getting to share this passion with his students. He reports that so far his students seem to really be loving the class. Some of the projects you might find students making are wallets, belts, bridles, etc. Additionally, students have also taken an interest in learning how to repair leather items that are worn out or broken.

Mr. Haxton will use this grant to provide more leather for this class. He hopes to instill a love of leather art that will last a lifetime for his students.

We would like to thank Christopher and all the teachers who help students foster a love of art. We can’t wait to see what amazing projects these middle schoolers turn out.

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September 2022 - Nichole Oyler

A2Z Personnel and the Drive 107.9 are happy to award Nichole Oyler with the We Support Our Schools grant for September 2022! Mrs. Oyler is a 3rd grade teacher at Stevensville Primary School.

Mrs. Oyler says her 3rd graders love to read! This year her class has 26 students who all utilize the books in her classroom. Mrs. Oyler plans to add to her collection of novels and replace some that have been well loved. She also wants to give her students a comfortable reading area. She believes having a comfortable bean bag to curl up in or a perfect balance chair can help a student’s attention to focus on what they are reading. She hopes that by providing more enticing books and a comfy area her students will want to read more.

We would like to thank Mrs. Oyler and all the teachers who strive to instill the love of reading into their students. This is sure to help students be more creative, along with expanding their cognitive thinking as well as their vocabulary. We hope these 3rd graders enjoy their new books and comfortable space.

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