Kiowa County elementary school teacher receives grant from Western Governors University

Laura Prosser.

Laura Prosser, a first-grade teacher at Kiowa County Elementary School in Greensburg, has been awarded a $270 grant through Western Governors University’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative.

The funds will be used by Prosser to purchase Dash and Dot robots, which will add computer coding and programming to the class’s STEAM lessons. Prosser learned she was selected for the grant on May 4 when WGU staff surprised her with a virtual check presentation.

Prosser teaches STEAM lessons to her first graders that focus on the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and math. While the school does provide iPads to each classroom for educational instruction, the technology aspect of STEAM is harder to offer due to the cost. With the funds provided by WGU, Prosser will be able to purchase Dash and Dot robots and their accompanying apps, which will open up a whole new world of coding and programming for her students, while also sparking their creativity and providing them with an opportunity to develop problem-solving skills.

The innovative classroom project is one of 23 across Kansas chosen by WGU to receive funding. The nonprofit, fully online university issued a call in March for K-12 teachers across the state to nominate proposed classroom projects by April 18 for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding through its “Fund My Classroom” initiative. Prosser’s proposal was one of more than 80 nominations received statewide. Most grants were awarded during Teacher Appreciation Week, which ran May 3-7.

“We were happy to read about all the amazing projects our teachers have planned and are excited we can bring so many to life through our ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative,” said Angie Besendorfer, regional vice president of Western Governors University. “This past year has been a challenging one for both teachers and students as they were forced to adapt to new styles of teaching and learning. This initiative is an opportunity for WGU to celebrate teachers and thank them for their dedication to educating and positively impacting their students, while enhancing learning for students — both in and out of the classroom.”

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