WGU Missouri seeks to fund K-12 teachers' projects

Royal Heights Elementary teacher Kate Tupper (center) wipes away a tear as WGU Chancellor Angie Besendorfer presents her with a check for training Bridget, held by school counselor Nasha Robinson, on May 6, 2019. Globe | Roger Nomer

WGU Missouri, an online university, has brought back its Fund My Classroom initiative to help K-12 teachers throughout the state expand their curriculum.

Through the program, educators can request funding for classroom experiences, field trips, supplies or anything else they believe would improve their classrooms. To be considered, proposed projects must include a description, including how much funding is needed and how the proposed project will benefit students.

Both public and private school teachers are encouraged to apply. Teachers do not have to be WGU students or alumni to apply.

This marks the second consecutive year that WGU Missouri has led the Fund My Classroom initiative. Last year, the university provided more than $10,000 in funding to 15 schools across the state.

One of the projects funded last year was at Joplin's Royal Heights Elementary School, where staff requested training for a dog that could be present in classrooms, akin to a therapy dog. Two of those dogs, Maple and Bridget, are now a regular part of school life at Royal Heights.

Other projects funded around the state included pedal exercisers for the library media center of a St. Louis elementary school and a science, technology, engineering and math lab at the elementary school in Greenfield.

"Our teachers work tirelessly to provide enriching classroom experiences for their students but are often limited by the costs associated with providing impactful educational learning,” said Angie Besendorfer, WGU Missouri chancellor and a former Joplin assistant superintendent, in a statement. “In these uncertain times, as communities across the state practice social distancing and students settle into remote learning, it’s become even more apparent how important teachers are.

"Fund My Classroom is just one way we can give back and thank them for all they do. We look forward to learning about all the projects being proposed this year and being able to provide deserving teachers with funding that will help make their classrooms more engaging for their students once school is back in session."

Teachers can submit their proposals online at wgu.edu/fundmyclassroom. The deadline is April 19. Winners will be notified during Teacher Appreciation Week, which takes place May 3-9.

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