SESLOC Credit UnionStudents in one Santa Maria classroom will soon have access to additional Chromebook computers thanks to a $1,000 Education Grant from SESLOC Federal Credit Union. Teacher Rachel Itzstein of Arellanes Junior High School applied for the grant, saying the computers will allow students to work collaboratively on digital projects.

“I have seen the spark in my students when they are collaborating on a project,” said Itzstein. “Their creativity comes alive and they begin to talk about what they’re learning.”

Arellanes Junior High serves 600 7th and 8th graders. Students come from a suburban farming community where they often face serious economic challenges. Yet Itzstein added that the junior high has the second highest attendance rate of all 20 schools in the Santa Maria Bonita School District.

“You cannot put a price on watching students excited to learn and collaborate. You cannot put a price on feeling optimistic about our future. All of these things happen when the students have consistent access to technology,” she said.

Since the inception of SESLOC’s Education Grant program a little over two years ago, the credit union has awarded 41 grants totaling $18,000 for classroom projects.

“SESLOC has expanded its field of membership to include northern Santa Barbara County, and we’re pleased to award the first education grant in Santa Maria,” said SESLOC CEO Geri Lachance. SESLOC will open a new branch in Santa Maria at 2506 South Broadway in January 2016, making local schools eligible to apply for an Education Grant.

To learn more about SESLOC’s Education Grants, visit resources/education-grants.