GARDEN CITY, Kan. – (April 12, 2021) – To show appreciation for area K-12 educators who have been forced to adapt to new styles of teaching throughout the pandemic, Western Governors University (WGU) is pledging to award up to $125,000 in grant money to K-12 teachers who need help funding their innovative classroom projects as part of the nonprofit university’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative. Teachers can submit proposed projects online at wgu.edu/fundmyclassroom for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding. Applications are being accepted through April 18, and selected classroom projects will be announced during Teacher Appreciation Week, which runs May 3- 7.
K-12 educators can request funding for any type of innovative classroom project they believe would provide an enriching classroom experience for their students – from books, supplies and equipment or technology to classroom experiences and field trips. To be considered, proposed projects must include a description, detailing how much funding is needed and how the proposed project will benefit students. Both public and private school teachers are encouraged to apply.
“Over the last year, we have seen just how dedicated our teachers are to ensuring our children receive an enriching and fulfilling educational experience, and providing grant funding through this initiative to help make their classrooms more engaging for their students is just one way we can show our appreciation,” said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Regional Vice President of Western Governors University. “I look forward to seeing the amazing projects our teachers have planned.”
WGU’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative was launched in Missouri in 2019 and was expanded to include select counties in Kansas last year. This is the first year the grant initiative has been made available to teachers across the entire state of Kansas. In 2019, the nonprofit, fully online university awarded $10,000 to 15 schools across Missouri, and in 2020, awarded a total of $15,000 to 29 classroom projects in Missouri and parts of Kansas and Illinois. This year, the university was able to increase the funding for grants through this initiative to $125,000 and hopes to fund dozens more projects throughout Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.
Some previously funded teacher projects through WGU’s “Fund My Classroom Initiative” include the following: a small business incubator – designed to promote entrepreneurship, real-world learning and 21st century skills – at Mill Creek Campus in Olathe, Kan.; high-quality paint supplies needed for local high school and elementary students to create a large outdoor mural at Sunflower Elementary School in Paola, Kan.; training for two therapy dogs at Royal Heights Elementary in Joplin, Mo.; an effort to bring pedal exercisers to the library media center at Blades Elementary in St. Louis; a 3D printer at Frontier STEM High School in Kansas City, Mo.; and a Butterfly Garden at East Elementary in the Jerseyville Community School District in Jerseyville, Ill.
Anyone interested in nominating themselves, colleagues, family or friends can fill out the short application available at wgu.edu/fundmyclassroom. Nominees must reside in Kansas, Missouri or Illinois.
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.