Two Ogle County teachers receive grants from Western Governors University
The $1,800 and $525 grants awarded to Crosby and Cole
OREGON – Two teachers in Ogle County were recently awarded grants through Western Governors University’s (WGU) “Fund My Classroom” initiative. Kristina Crosby, a kindergarten teacher at Oregon Elementary School in Oregon, received a $1,800 grant that will be used to purchase flexible seating options and create a calming corner in her classroom, while Gina Cole, a science teacher at Polo Community High School in Polo, received a $525 grant to purchase a lab kit needed to create a DNA editing lab in her classroom. Crosby and Cole learned they were selected for the grants on May 9 and 11, respectively, when they were surprised with check presentations at their schools.
With the $1,800 grant Crosby received, she aims to create a more engaging and supportive learning environment for her young students, many of whom have diverse learning needs. By adding flexible seating to her classroom – consisting of four wobble stools, four accordion stools, four active seating exercise balls and a set of stackable stools – her kindergarteners will be able to choose seating options that cater to their individual learning preferences. A calming corner will create a safe space for students to regulate their emotions and practice self-reflection. With the help of the grant received from WGU, Crosby plans on filling the calming corner with two cozy beanbag chairs, social-emotional and feelings posters, fidgets, an "I Feel" dry erase board and breathing posters. She believes adding these resources to her classroom will allow her students to thrive academically and develop essential social-emotional skills.
The $525 grant Cole received will be used to purchase a lab kit for her classroom, allowing students in her high school science classes to explore the exciting field of biotechnology by genetically modifying organisms in the lab. This hands-on experience will provide a unique opportunity for students to learn about DNA editing and its real-world applications.
The innovative classroom projects are among 22 across Illinois chosen by WGU to receive funding. The nonprofit, fully online university issued a call in early March for K-12 teachers across the state to nominate proposed classroom projects by April 14 for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding through its “Fund My Classroom” initiative. Nearly 80 nominations were received statewide. Most grants were awarded during Teacher Appreciation Week, which ran from May 8-12.
“We received so many great nominations this year, and we are thrilled to be able to fund dozens of innovative projects that will play a role in setting up our children for success later in life,” Dr. Terrance Hopson, regional vice president of Western Governors University, said. “K-12 teachers are often limited by the costs associated with providing impactful educational learning and end up spending money out of their own pockets. The ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative is an opportunity for us to help make a difference in classrooms across the state and show appreciation for our teachers, who work tirelessly to educate young minds.”
To learn more about the “Fund My Classroom” initiative and the work WGU is doing to help teachers advance their careers, visit wgu.edu.