Three Hamilton School District educators were notified this week that they have received substantial grants from the Plum Creek Foundation, the timber company’s charitable arm, to continue special programs and projects that require additional costs outside of the classroom.

Echo Allison, the district’s enrichment specialist, has received $4,009 for the Spectra Program, which is the gifted and talented program. The grant will be utilized by 42 fourth and fifth-grade Spectra students at Daly and Grantsdale schools.

Allison’s program is called “Amazing Architecture All Around,” and is meant to actively engage Spectra students in learning about architecture as a fusion of art, mathematics and technology while applying innovative thinking, she said. Students will contrast and compare architectural styles while studying two famous architects and unique buildings, both local and from around the globe.

Students apply concepts as they create their own unique structures. Allison said the project is an original hands-on, higher-level thinking architectural study.

“Plum Creek Foundation’s very generous awards for the past three years have allowed the Spectra program to purchase items that enrich students’ creativity, originality and enhance their thinking skills,” Allison said. “We’re very appreciative of Plum Creek’s support.”

Jen Carmody, an English and creative writing instructor at Hamilton High School, received $5,000 to continue the publication of the literary magazine “Rolling Roots” that she and her students published this year.

The grant will allow her class to purchase an iMac, MacBook Pro computer, Adobe InDesign and a color scanner/printer to print their own copies of the magazine.

“Receiving this funding is so exciting,” said Carmody. “This gift will provide fantastic opportunities for students at HHS for years to come and it will make doing our literary magazine better, easier and more professional.”

Ryan Shupp, an English teacher at Hamilton High School, received $3,290 for his wordily-titled special project “Opening Doors to Fine Arts and the Science of Film.”

Plum Creek is one of the largest timber company’s in the nation, and the company owns nearly 900,000 acres of land in Montana.

The Plum Creek Foundation Montana Great Classroom Awards program provides western Montana public, K-12 teachers with financial resources to enhance the learning environment in their classrooms and help enrich the educational experiences of students across western Montana, according to a statement from the company. The awards are meant emphasize teacher innovation, the expansion of learning opportunities beyond the core curriculum, and opportunities to get kids excited about learning.

Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or

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