Schools and Libraries
May 17, 2021
Jessie Epperson, a fourth-grade teacher at Country View Elementary School in Winfield School District USD 465, has been awarded a $200 grant through Western Governors University’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative. The funds will be used by Epperson to create a variety of hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activities to further student engagement. Epperson learned she was selected for the grant on May 5 when WGU staff surprised her with a check presentation at her school.
Epperson believes STEAM is vital in today’s world and is interested in providing a more in-depth experience to students when teaching them about energy and electricity. Currently, she has her class watching Mystery Science videos and has purchased the supplies for them to complete small activities shown in the videos. However, she would like to further engage her students by providing them with the tools to come up with their own creations rather than having them build exactly what the scripted video tells them to do. She will use the funds to purchase materials that will allow her students to take part in a variety of hands-on STEAM activities, including building electromagnets and making their own mini flashlights.
The innovative classroom project is one of 23 across Kansas chosen by WGU to receive funding. The nonprofit, fully online university issued a call in March for K-12 teachers across the state to nominate proposed classroom projects by April 18 for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding through its “Fund My Classroom” initiative. Epperson’s proposal was one of more than 80 nominations received statewide. Most grants are being awarded this week in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.
“We were happy to read about all the amazing projects our teachers have planned and are excited we can bring so many to life through our ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative,” said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Regional Vice President of Western Governors University. “This past year has been a challenging one for both teachers and students as they were forced to adapt to new styles of teaching and learning. This initiative is an opportunity for WGU to celebrate teachers and thank them for their dedication to educating and positively impacting their students, while enhancing learning for students – both in and out of the classroom.”
To learn more about the “Fund My Classroom” initiative and the work WGU is doing to help teachers advance their careers, visit www.wgu.edu.
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 131,000 students nationwide and has more than 217,000 graduates. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 24 years, the university has become a leading influence in the development of innovative workforce-focused approaches to education. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.