Bringing My K-12 School into the 21st Century
The Impact of Receiving an Innovative Educator Grant Similar to our students’ educational journeys, our professional paths can often take surprising turns. My career in education began 15 years ago as a librarian; since that time, I have worked as a teacher from elementary through 12th grade, served as a school administrator, earned a master’s degree, am completing my Ed.D, and have fallen in love with blended and project-based learning. Today, I am a fourth grade teacher and Blended Learning Coach at Saint Dominic Academy in Lewiston, Maine.
In 2016, I was lucky enough to come across The Foundation for Blended and Online Learning in a web search, and decided to apply for an Innovative Educator Grant to get blended and online learning going in Catholic schools in Maine. Of course I would want to start with my own school to create a replicable model.
After submitting my application, I put the grant on the back burner figuring that I’d be one of many individuals who’d conceivably be qualified recipients. You could imagine my excitement when I received the letter informing me that I was one of those selected for the 2016 grant -- more than that, I had received the full asking amount of $10,000 to begin my journey into the implementation of blended and online learning!
That moment of realization that you now have the means to make changes for the better for many, many others is an incredibly powerful one. I can still recall staring at the words on the page in happy disbelief.
What happened afterward is a story I love to share. The Foundation’s grant has had a huge impact on myself as an educator, my students, and my school community. With the funds, Saint Dominic Academy was able to upgrade its infrastructure, establish a professional development program, and add necessary hardware (including Chromebooks and 3D printers) to get our school moving into the 21st Century. This has allowed our teachers to ensure that each student receives individualized and personal instruction so they can grow at the learning level most suitable for them.
The Foundation for Blended and Online Learning has not only been instrumental for the success of implementing blended learning at my school, but their efforts to ensure students have access to technology and personalized learning can be witnessed across the country. If you’re looking to better yourself as an educator or to support your school, I urge you to consider applying for a scholarship or grant through the Foundation.
While those of faith recognize that only God knows what the future will bring, I know that due to the support of The Foundation for Blended and Online Learning, the students at Saint Dominic Academy will be able to continue to grow and learn through individualized curriculum enhanced with the best instruction -- both face-to-face and online. This grant has also empowered me and my colleagues to begin to create a model of blended learning which will be able to be shared across the state.
If you’d like to find out more about blended learning at Saint Dominic Academy or how the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning has supported our school, please feel free to contact me directly. Our experience is proof of the impact that is possible through this incredible organization.