Walden University Announces 2014 Educator for a Day Grant Recipients

Now in the eighth consecutive year supporting nationwide Educator for a Day events, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University today announced the five preK–12 schools and educational facilities that will each receive a $5,000 grant and host aspiring educators and community guests on Thursday, Nov. 20. The funds will be used to enhance classroom education, provide educational technology or supplies and sponsor special initiatives. 

“These five unique recipients, through their thoughtful and innovative use of our Educator for a Day grants, embody the spirit of Walden’s mission of effecting positive social change,” said Dr. Kate Steffens, dean of The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership. “By opening the doors to their classrooms, guests from their communities will see for themselves the difference the school is making in the lives of children every day, then help spread the news throughout the community and beyond.”

Applicants shared their ideas for hosting at least one aspiring educator who will shadow a teacher during Educator for a Day. Grants were awarded based on teachers’ and administrators’ answers to essay questions about what noneducators should know about their school, what makes their school unique and how their school would use the grant money.

The 2014 Educator for a Day grant recipients are:

  • Academy Charter School, Palmer, Alaska—Ranked as a five-star school by the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, Academy Charter School will use the funds to complete a greenhouse and community garden on campus, with students with students helping to design, budget and build the project.. For the Educator for a Day event on Nov. 20, each teacher is arranging for a community member to come into the classroom and teach a class. 
  • AMIkids YES, Wimauma, Florida—A nonprofit residential program providing vocational training for juvenile justice-involved youth ages 14 to 18, the organization will use the funds to create an educational garden so students can gain experience in agriculture along with their multidisciplinary studies. On Nov. 20, guest educators will tour the campus and then rotate among different classrooms to work with students throughout the day. 
  • Conyers Middle School, Conyers, Georgia—A federally recognized Title I school that consistently meets or exceeds the required academic goals, the school will use the grant to purchase materials to provide students with advanced Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education. On Nov. 20, the school will invite local business and industry representatives to “Lunch and Learn” with students and teachers to increase community awareness of the school’s achievements. 
  • NEW Academy Canoga Park, Canoga Park, California—This charter elementary school that focuses on the sciences and the arts will use the grant to provide resources supporting innovative student projects focusing on the 4C’s: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. The projects will then be shared on the school’s website. On Nov. 20, the school will host preservice teachers and professionals from the community to shadow its educators throughout the day and also make presentations to students. 
  • SUMCD Lewistown Children’s Center, Lewistown, Pennsylvania—A nonprofit early childhood education facility providing prenatal through prekindergarten services for families and children, the center will use the grant to update its media and technology resources, including purchasing interactive SMART Boards for preschool classrooms. On Nov. 20, visitors will participate in early learning classrooms and read a story to the students, then join a round-table discussion about how the center’s programs contribute to better outcomes for children in the community. 

“Opportunities to connect and collaborate with our community while enhancing our students’ interests, engagement and excitement for learning are critical to our school’s growth,” said Allison Barbour, principal of Conyers Middle School. “We are intentional about realizing the results of a school whose vision begins with the student in mind. This grant will serve as fuel in helping us to facilitate our unified mission for global success for each learner, each class, each day.”Since the program began in 2007, thousands of educators and students have benefited from Walden’s Educator for a Day grants to help improve teaching and learning in their schools and organizations. The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University, accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), is the choice of more than 56,000 students and alumni who are leaders in their classrooms and schools, including more than 100 state teachers of the year. The college is dedicated to improving educator effectiveness and preparing educators to make a positive impact on student achievement.