New Foundation Program Created To Garner Teacher Input

OCEAN CITY – The Worcester County Education Foundation has launched a new initiative to make sure schools continue to receive the support they need after their digital conversion is complete.

The nonprofit Worcester County Education Foundation (WCEF) has started a “Teacher Champion” program to ensure that the foundation stays aware of schools’ needs. The teacher representing each school will provide input on ways the foundation can help once the digital conversion currently underway is finished.

“They are on the front line,” said Patti Miller, a WCEF board member. “They know the needs. With their help, we can be precise with our next set of goals.”

The WCEF was founded in 2013 to provide the school system with an additional funding source to help with budgetary gaps. The organization’s founders wanted to make sure that all of the county’s students had access to the tools and technology they need to be successful in today’s world.

In its first few years, the organization has helped with technology funding. In 2016, the WCEF provided the school system with $25,000 to help pay for digital devices and $10,000 to purchase protective laptop covers for the ninth-graders who will each receive computers as they begin the school year.

While the digital conversion, the initiative meant to provide every student with a digital device, is what the foundation is aiding the school system with now, eventually all students will have access to technology. That, Miller explained, is what led to the establishment of the new teacher program.

“As the schools’ needs evolve, we won’t always be focused on digital conversion,” she said. “Once we catch up with that, the needs will be different.”

Teachers will provide input on what the school system could use help with in the future.

“To respond to changing needs, we asked the principals to nominate a teacher champion,” Miller said. “That person is a liaison between the foundation and the school. They’re the voice of the school’s administration, teachers, staff, parents and students.”

In addition to the technology funding dispersed this year, the WCEF has also started offering grant opportunities to teachers. This year $3,000 has been aside for that cause. Teachers will have the opportunity to submit projects for grants later this fall. Miller said the foundation wanted to provide teachers who had creative ideas with some supplementary classroom funds.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.