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Four Metro East teachers receive WGU Missouri grants for classroom initiatives

Clockwise, from top left: Alyssa Roper, Emily DeSherlia, Angie Noble and Amie Reed

Four K-12 teachers from the Metro East have received grants totaling $2,400 through WGU Missouri’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative.

The online, nonprofit university announced last month that it was awarding $15,000 to schools throughout Missouri and the Metro East to celebrate teachers who have worked diligently to adapt to new ways of educating and connecting with students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants will be used to fund innovative classroom projects that foster learning in new, unique ways.

The four teachers received the funding from the Metro East include:

·         Alyssa Roper, a kindergarten teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary in Godfrey. She was awarded $400 for her “Kindertown” project, which will transform the school’s blacktop into a made-up town that will feature drive-throughs, gas stations, stores and roads made of cardboard boxes and recyclable materials. Roper will use the grant funds to purchase tricycles and other riding toys so her students can travel throughout this new town and learn how to be a citizen in a fun, kid-friendly way.

·         Emily DeSherlia, a second-grade teacher at Jerseyville East Elementary in Jerseyville. She was awarded a $500 grant to create a butterfly garden with her students that will not only serve as unique and special place for learning but will also serve as a vibrant space for the entire school. The grant funds she received will go toward purchasing sculptures, embellishments, flowers and benches for the garden.

·         Angie Noble, a third-grade teacher at Jerseyville East Elementary in Jerseyville. She received a $500 grant for her digital storytelling project and plans to purchase a pop-up green screen, microphone, tripod, LEGOs, an iPad and apps for her students to demonstrate what they have learned about different topics through the use of green screen technology. She also plans for her students to recreate fictional stories, produce stop-motion videos with LEGOs and have students report on cultures around the world as they “stand” in front of famous landmarks.

·         Amie Reed, a seventh-grade English language arts teacher at Fulton Junior High in O’Fallon. She received a $1,000 grant to purchase 100 graphic novels for her classroom library, along with supplies to store and protect them. Reed has found that these novels are a great way to get students interested in reading. She also plans to use them for a writing project that will inspire her students to create their own graphic novels.

The innovative classroom projects were among 29 chosen by WGU Missouri to receive funding. The nonprofit university issued a call in March for K-12 teachers across the area to nominate proposed classroom projects for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding through its “Fund My Classroom” initiative. More than 100 nominations received. All grants were awarded throughout May.

“We are happy we can bring so many of these innovative projects to life through our ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative and give the impacted teachers something to look forward to in the midst of all the uncertainty COVID-19 is causing for schools across the region,” said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Chancellor of WGU Missouri. “This initiative is an opportunity for WGU Missouri to celebrate teachers and is a great way to thank them for the lasting, positive impact they have on their students. We were excited to hear from so many great teachers with excellent ideas that will enhance learning both in and out of the classroom.”

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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