West County Teachers Get Funds for Creative Teaching

In a time of devastating cuts, an influx of educational grants is allowing West Contra Costa teachers to continue using creative methods for teaching the basics.
The West Contra Costa Public Education Fund awarded 67 grants worth more than $45,000 to local educators this month, helping them pay for educational gardens, hands-on science lessons and even a plastic quilt.

“What appealed to me was all the themes coming together: quilting, the idea of resources, trash and recycling,” said Chris Tolomei, the crafts teacher at Pinole Valley High School who won the grant for her class’s plastic quilt project.

“Right now, we have this issue with resources, in other words funding for schools. Here we have this abundant resource, which is trash.”

Tolomei and her students picked up plastic bags around the campus, and have been making them into “plain” — plastic yarn. Students have been using this unusual material to make quilt squares, which will then be put together for the final product.

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