Great Schools Partnership surprised 23 Knox County Schools teachers in October with TeacherPreneur grants totaling $112,399. Great Schools delivered this year’s biggest grant to second grade teacher Amanda Callahan-Mims at Spring Hill Elementary Community School.
Callahan-Mims received $20,000 to fund the creation of an outdoor learning space that incorporates a Music, Art, Science and Sensory Therapy (MASST) approach to encourage student learning and positive behavior. Callahan-Mims’ proposed MAAST approach supports social and emotional learning by providing sensory stimulation through gardening, musical experiences, art stations and areas for large group hands-on learning. This engagement with nature has been proven to lower stress levels in students thus strengthening their readiness to learn. The MAAST approach has been proven to be especially beneficial for students who may be struggling with social/emotional issues.
This is the fifth year that Great Schools Partnership has partnered with Knox County Schools to offer teachers funding to pursue their creative ideas in the classroom through its TeacherPreneur grant program. Since the program’s inception, Great Schools has awarded $541,000 to 68 Knox County teachers.
“Our teachers are always looking for better ways to reach and engage their students. With the TeacherPreneur grants, we’re partnering with teachers to turn their innovative teaching ideas into reality,” said Stephanie Welch, president of Great Schools Partnership. “While teachers are the recipients of the awards, it is Knox County’s 60,000 students who are the true beneficiaries of this program.”
Great Schools received 71 entries for this year’s TeacherPreneur grants. The 23 winning teachers were awarded grants ranging from $1,100 to $20,000 from the Great Schools Partnership. The amount of each grant is based on the winning teacher’s individual request.
TeacherPreneur is a grant award program funded by Great Schools Partnership and administered in partnership with Knox County Schools. It aims to promote KCS teachers as educational leaders and creative problem solvers by encouraging them to use their expertise and creativity to improve the district and the learning opportunities provided to Knox County students. All full-time Knox County teachers are eligible.