Paula Brockman, an English and geology teacher at Lowell Scott Middle School, won a $100,000 grant on Tuesday. Students and staff gathered inside the gym for a scheduled assembly with a surprise ending. Brockman received a large check from Farmers Insurance as part of the Dream Big Teacher Challenge Grant.
“When I saw Farmers Insurance agent Fred Kesler in the Santa suit, I knew we had won,” Brockman said. “I was full of mixed emotions.”
The money will be used for a new outdoor learning center that will feature a greenhouse and extended garden area, a fish farm station, a circular seating area for group lessons and other creative spaces.
“We are going to start putting together plans and we want the entire school involved — staff and students,” Brockman said. “We plan to start building in January.”
Last year, Brockman won a $2,500 grant through Farmers Insurance to improve her classroom — adding tables, bean bags and yoga balls. In addition to winning the grant, Brockman qualified for the Dream Big Teacher Challenge. Teachers across the country submitted proposals to tell Farmer Insurance what they would do with a $100,000 grant. Farmers selected 15 finalists in September, including Brockman.
Lowell Scott Middle School is one of six schools from across the nation to win the $100,000 grant. Brockman’s proposal was selected by thousands of EdNews readers and Idaho residents who voted online during the month of October.
“I am grateful for every person that voted,” Brockman said. “It takes a village to accomplish something and we did it. The credit goes to everyone who voted and EdNews readers.”