ST. LOUIS – In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, which runs May 4 through May 8, and to celebrate teachers for their selfless efforts in educating our children before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, WGU Missouri has announced it is awarding $15,000 in grant funding to teachers across the state to fund their innovative classroom projects. The grants are made possible through WGU’s ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative, and approximately 30 classroom projects were selected for funding.
The grants will go a long way toward making several K-12 classrooms a more engaging environment for students when they return to school. Projects set to receive funding include a 3D printer at Frontier STEM High School in Kansas City, which will allow students at this high-poverty school to learn many abstract chemistry concepts and provide them with real-life, hands-on experience; alternative seating options at Elliott Middle School in Boonville, which will challenge and encourage students to learn in any environment; technology that will allow students at El Dorado Springs Middle School in Cedar County, Mo., to create and record podcasts over information covered in class as an alternative to traditional tests; and a Butterfly Garden at East Elementary in the Jerseyville Community School District, located in St. Louis’ Metro East area.
Teachers often spend their own savings to cover the costs of classroom projects. To thank them for their efforts, WGU Missouri issued a call in March for K-12 teachers to submit their project ideas on the university’s website for consideration for full or partial funding. The online, nonprofit university sorted through over 100 nominations for classroom projects and selected 29 for funding. This is the second year WGU Missouri has made the ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative available to teachers across the state. Last year, the university was able to award $10,000 toward 15 classroom projects.
“We are so pleased with the response this year and are happy we can bring so many of these innovative projects to life through our ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative and give the impacted teachers something to look forward to in the midst of all the uncertainty COVID-19 is causing for schools across the region,” said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Chancellor of WGU Missouri. “This initiative is an opportunity for WGU Missouri to celebrate teachers and, given the increased stress they are under during these unprecedented times, it’s a great way to thank them for the lasting, positive impact they have on their students. We were excited to hear from so many great teachers with excellent ideas that will enhance learning both in and out of the classroom.”
In addition to donating funds to deserving teachers across the state, WGU Missouri is also marking Teacher Appreciation Week by offering up to $50,000 in scholarships to those who wish to further their education. Each WGU Teacher Appreciation Scholarship is valued at up to $2,500, which is applied at the rate of $625 per six-month term for up to four consecutive terms. To be eligible, scholarship applicants must be officially admitted to WGU Missouri, complete the scholarship application, and be interviewed by a WGU scholarship counselor. Recipients will be selected based on their academic records, financial need and readiness for online study at WGU Missouri, among other considerations. New students can apply online now through June 30 at missouri.wgu.edu/teachers.
To learn more about the ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative and the work WGU Missouri is doing to help teachers advance their careers, visit missouri.wgu.edu.