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Tag: Business & Education Coalitions Teacher Grant Program

Teacher Visit: The Science of Reading

Jamie Wallmark, a teacher at Jones Brummett Elementary, was awarded a grant through the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce’s Business & Education Coalition. Chamber President & CEO Melanie Minter and Education Division Vice-Chair DeJeay Woods visited Wallmark to see the impact of her project on her students. With the funds received from her grant, Wallmark was able to purchase a set of decodable reader books for her students.

“Students come to school each year on varying reading and phonics levels. Our job as teachers is to teach students to read and read fluently. This must be done before we can teach reading comprehension. This is a huge task when every student is on a different level when it comes to their reading skills. Every student deserves to learn how to read and to read fluently,” Wallmark stated.

These decodable reader book sets consist of nine different stages of phonics instruction and sounds that include: short vowels, consonant blends, digraphs, long vowels, word-ending spellings, r-controlled vowels, vowel teams, diphthongs, and advanced spelling patterns. Each skill has multiple sets, and six books come with each skill. These books are based on the science of reading and seek to grow students’ reading skills by teaching the students how to decode words.

“The science of reading is quickly becoming the way we teach students how to read. It is a research-based, effective way to teach students how to read by using phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding skills, and sounding out words based on spelling patterns,” she said, “Gone are the days of teaching students how to guess the words by using picture clues, guessing based on the first sound, and just memorizing words. Instead, researchers have discovered the importance of a scientific approach to reading in which students learn to read by learning the ‘sounds first’.”

Mitchel Bone of Wilson County Chevrolet – Buick – GMC, a Taste of Wilson County Sponsor, is also pictured on the visit. Taste of Wilson County proceeds fund the annual Teacher Grant Extra Mile Educator program.

7th Annual Taste of Wilson County


Your Chamber supports education because we know that the foundation of our community starts with the education of our youth.

The Chamber Education Division and our Business & Education Coalition are proud to offer teachers and students a way to encourage continued education throughout Wilson County. The Chamber raises money at our annual Taste of Wilson County to give back to our education programs in Wilson County. Proceeds benefit our Teacher Grant Program, Books from Birth Program, Tennessee Scholars Program and other education scholarships.

The Teacher Grant Program was started by Ken Howell, Chamber Lifetime Member, in 1995. Teacher grants are offered by the Chamber Education Division to Wilson County teachers each year and awarded at an annual breakfast sponsored by Cumberland Real Estate G-team Jackie Gaither and Kevin Gaines. This year’s grant amount has been increased from $500 in previous years to $599 maximum per grant. The Education Vice Chair, Education Committee, Board of Directors and Chamber staff celebrate with the teacher and students when the items requested for the project have been purchased and unveiled to the classroom. Including 2015 teacher grants, the Education Division has awarded 433 grants totaling over $175,000. A special thank you to our Wilson County teachers who have participated and made a difference in our schools. The deadline for this year’s grant applications is Friday, September 18. Applications may be found at the following link.

Teacher Grant Application

Wilson Books from Birth is another program sponsored by the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce. Under the direction of Peggy Simpson, all Wilson County children from birth to five years old are eligible to enroll. Each month, a free book is mailed to the child for the parent(s) to read to their child for the beginning of a successful education.

Each year the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce graduates Wilson County students that have completed the requirements of the Tennessee Scholars Program. In 2015, 417 Wilson County students graduated from the program, and to-date, a total of 3,984 have received a diploma from the Chamber since 2005. The Tennessee Scholars program is a course of study that encourages students to take more demanding courses in high school. The curriculum provides an education that better prepares students to enter a technical school, a post-secondary educational institution, or the workplace.

The Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce offers a number of annual scholarships that are based on a select criteria. College education scholarships are awarded annually in the spring. The Chamber typically awards around $12,000 in scholarship money annually. 

SAVE THE DATE: Taste of Wilson County, OCTOBER 8, 2015

Join your Chamber for a great evening to celebrate education in Wilson County. Food vendors will be sharing their favorite food products, and marketplace vendors will have other items for purchase. There will also be face painting, inflatables, and a balloon artist available for children’s enjoyment.

Ticket pricing for the Taste of Wilson County is as follows:

Adult (age 12+): $20 in advance; $25 at event
Child (ages 6-11): $5 in advance; $10 at event
Children age 5 & Under: Free
VIP Ticket (includes seat in VIP tent): $30
VIP Table (seats 8): $250

Call the Chamber office today at 615-444-5503 to reserve your ticket!

Lebanon and Wilson County have fantastic foods to highlight, so come experience the taste in Downtown Lebanon from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. on October 8. We look forward to seeing you there and partnering with you to support education in Wilson County!


Marketplace and food vendor space is still available! Follow the link below:

Taste of Wilson County Vendor Application

Lebanon Chamber Welcomes Teachers Back at Teacher Inservice Expo


The school year has officially started in Wilson County, and the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce was honored to welcome teachers back at their various inservices last week. The staff of McClain Christian Academy was treated to ice cream sundaes during their pre-school year preparations while the teachers at Cedars Preparatory Academy, Friendship Christian School, Lebanon Special School District, and Wilson County Schools were served breakfast.

At each of the schools, Chamber executives spoke about the Business and Education Coalition’s teacher grant program. This year, the maximum amount for a grant is $599, a significant increase over last year’s limit of $500. Any and all Wilson County teachers are invited and encouraged to apply for these grants. Applications can be found online or at the Chamber office; the deadline to apply is September 18.

New to the inservice tradition this year, the Watertown and Mt. Juliet Chambers of Commerce partnered with the Lebanon Wilson Chamber to put on an Education Expo for the teacher inservice at Lebanon High School. In addition to having breakfast, teachers at Wilson County Schools had access to booths set up by area businesses to promote Wilson County.

The Lebanon Wilson Chamber is proud to support the area’s schools and teachers. Welcome back to school, everyone! 

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