Aurora School District’s Gearhart receives grant from WGU

Shelly Gearhart poses with WGU Senior Strategic Partnerships Manager Jim Chandler and the $225 grant check that was presented to help fund her first grade classroom. (Photo submitted)

Funds will be used for her first grade classroom
Shelley Gearhart, a first-grade teacher at Pate Early Childhood Center, has received a $225 grant through WGU Missouri's “Fund My Classroom” initiative. The funds will be used to purchase a variety of manipulatives to aid students struggling with reading and writing. Gearhart learned she was selected for the grant on May 9, when she was surprised with a check presentation at her school.
The manipulatives will help Gearhart’s students better understand how sounds build words and will coincide with the Science of Reading curriculum. These resources will greatly benefit Gearhart's classroom, supplying students with hands-on tools to improve their literacy skills and further develop their reading and writing abilities.
The innovative classroom project is one of 44 across Missouri chosen by WGU Missouri 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. Gearhart’s proposal is one of nearly 200 nominations received statewide. Most grants were awarded during Teacher Appreciation Week, which ran from May 8-12.
“This is the fifth consecutive year we have been able to offer grant funding to deserving teachers across the state through our ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative, and we were so moved by all the nominations we received,” said Jessica Denham, Regional Director of WGU Missouri. “While we aren’t able to support all the projects that were nominated, we are excited to award funding to dozens of teachers who have come up with unique and innovative ways to improve their classrooms in order to promote learning and provide an enriching experience for their students.”
To learn more about the “Fund My Classroom” initiative and the work WGU Missouri is doing to help teachers advance their careers, visit 


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