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We Support Our Schools

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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