Courtney Dwyer, a special education teacher with Pathways School in School District 118 in Belleville, has received an $800 grant through Western Governors University’s (WGU) “Fund My Classroom” initiative.
The funds will be used to create a vocational training center in her classroom for her life skills students in grades 9 through 12. Dwyer learned she was selected for the grant on May 10 when she was surprised with a check presentation at her school.
Dwyer said she plans on creating a hands-on simulator in her classroom that will enable her special education students to learn vocational skills needed for future employment.
Pathways School is a member of the Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative.
With the grant she received from WGU, she will obtain materials needed to create a store-front center where students can stock shelves, rotate items based on expiration dates, fill orders and bag items, according to release from WGU.
The innovative classroom project is one of 22 across Illinois chosen by WGU to receive funding. The nonprofit, fully online university sought nominations for the awards in March for K-12 teachers across the state by April 14 for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding through its “Fund My Classroom” initiative.
Dwyer’s proposal is one of nearly 80 nominations received statewide. Most grants were awarded during Teacher Appreciation Week, which ran from May 8-12.
“We are so glad to once again be 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 Western Governors University. “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.”