Carson City teacher gets $2,000 grant for innovative teaching

Adrienne Wiggins

Adrienne Wiggins

Adrienne Wiggins, a science, technology, engineering and math teacher at Empire Elementary School, has received a $2,000 grant as part of the Voya Financial, Inc. 2020 Unsung Heroes awards competition, according to a news release from the Carson City School District.

Through the Voya Unsung Heroes program, Voya Financial awards grants to K-12 educators nationwide to honor their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and their ability to positively influence the children they teach.

Wiggins’ innovative teaching idea, “STEM and Language Development,” focuses on increasing students’ language development and content knowledge in STEM subjects, according to the release. The staff at Empire Elementary School participated in a book club where Wiggins realized the importance of providing authentic learning experiences. She discovered that real objects and materials through exploratory stations will increase students’ knowledge and support new learning in content and language.

Wiggins will use her Voya grant to purchase supplies that the school will use to engage students and create integrated project-based units of instruction aligned with their grade-level standards, the release said. Wiggins aspires to use the materials to help activate and develop students' language skills for each of the science domains: life, physical, earth and space and engineering.

Wiggins is one of only 50 winners across the country who will receive this award to help fund and bring her program to life. In addition, she will now compete with other finalists for one of the top three prizes — an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 from Voya Financial.

Where necessary, some programs will need to be adjusted for distance learning or will have to be recalibrated for implementation based on social distancing requirements in each state.

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