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Champions For Learning Awards more than $79,705 in Grants to Collier County Teachers

Today, Collier County teachers were surprised by their principals and school staff with funding for their Classroom Grants through Champions For Learning! This is a unique way for the community to make a difference for so many students through the support of their teachers’ ideas and projects.  In this challenging year, this support will mean so much more to our teachers and students.

Champions For Learning awarded 141 grant checks that totaled $79,705 to 41 schools. The funds help teachers to implement creative and innovative learning experiences for students in the classroom and virtually.

These classroom grants were requested by Collier County teachers through the online grant portal on Champions For Learning’s website. There are still opportunities to fund teachers’ great idea this year. Visit www.ChampionsForLearning.org/CWACgrants to support local classrooms today!

Thanks to a charitable gift from Suncoast Credit Union, which supports the technology and capacity for the classroom grant portal, 100% of community contribution goes into supporting teacher grants.

“Suncoast Credit Union is proud to work with Champions For Learning to support teachers during this time and contribute to a community that is engaged in support of student success,” said Cindy Helton, the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation Executive Director.

This year, in addition to Classroom Grants, schools received basic supplies through the “10 for the Team” project.  For every $10 received, a student received a backpack containing the needed supplies to start school. With more than $14,000 raised, 2,340 students across twelve elementary schools benefitted from this community-led project.

The following provided significant contributions to fund specific teacher grants:  Suncoast Credit Union, Florida’s Support Education License Plate Fund, Lucie Jenny MacCarthy Music Fund of the Community Foundation of Collier County, Ray Harman in memory of Karen Harman, Carol & Charles Pedretti, Perna-Rose Foundation for Hope, Women In Naples Giving Support (W.I.N.G.S.)

Help provide life-changing learning experiences to students! You can also help fund Classroom Grants through the License to Learn Fund (Florida Education Tag). Collier County community members can buy the new version of the tag now, $20 of the annual $25 fee is donated to Champions For Learning and 100% of the funds support classroom grants.

To view a full list of funded grants click here!

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Happy World Teacher’s Day!

Happy World Teachers’ Day!

The 30th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers looked different this past April due to COVID-19. However, we still wanted our teachers to have the great experience of sharing their inspiring messages and being introduced by
one of their students!
To view the full Golden Apple TV Show Click Here       

Sarah Bratcher
Lake Park Elementary
Raising Leaders Through Songs and Public Speaking

 

Eileen Fuentes
Sabal Palm Elementary
Metacognition + Social Emotional Learning = Confident, Balanced Scholars
Elizabeth Garcia
Manatee Middle
A Student-Centered Classroom

 

 

 

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Investing in Education is an Investment in the Future of Our Community

Because of you, our programs have given students, educators, and community members an opportunity to work together to face challenges and celebrate triumphs. We continue this work to provide life-changing learning
experiences for every student and want to support them in learning the life skill of adapting while staying firmly focused on their future. During this challenging time, we continue to listen, adapt, and respond to the
needs of our educators and students. The Classroom Grant online portal allows teachers to request classroom grants that will come directly from the community to create innovative learning experiences for their students. Thanks to Suncoast Credit Union, which supports the technology and capacity for the grant portal, 100% of community contributions go toward supporting teacher grants. You can fund a specific request from a teacher by visiting https://www.finditfunditflorida.com/collier/.

Champions For Learning is working with our elementary school principals and teachers to provide our students with the tools they need to resume their schooling. With more than 60% of students returning to Collier County Public Schools for instruction on campus, our students will have the opportunity to learn with district-provided laptops and devices appropriate to their grade levels and will be provided with face masks and hand sanitizer. However, the guidelines outlining social distancing will require that each student uses their own individual school supplies. They will not be able to share their crayons or scissors and teachers will need to help
students keep their own supplies organized.

Every $10 donation will provide a student with a backpack full of items needed to start school. The average request from principals is 300 backpacks with supplies. Please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring supplies for a specific school.

Through enhanced programming, foundational skill development, and engagement of over 450 volunteers supporting students, our students are equipped and prepared for their future learning and career goals.

The strong outcomes of the Class of 2020 demonstrate this readiness. Even in the face of COVID-19, the Class of 2020 surpassed last year’s outcomes and 100% have stayed on track toward their post-secondary
aspirations.

Beyond the students directly served, over 12,000 students gained access to financial and college readiness resources, through partnerships and community outreach. This year challenged us and provided us many opportunities to adapt and learn new things. The adaptations this year served our students and program well and many will continue to be expanded upon in the year to come.

It is because of your advocacy and support that Champions For Learning is able to adapt and leverage resources to help ensure our students and teachers can continue to work toward their vision for the future, even
when the way of achieving those goals may be changing. Help us continue to support students and educators in Collier County.

Your gift to Champions For Learning empowers our community members, teachers, and staff to continue to interact with students in ways that dynamically enrich all their lives. No gift is too small; your gift can be combined with others to support life-changing learning experiences for students across our community.

Click here to make a donation! 

 

 

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Class of 2020

The Champions For Learning Class of 2020 has continued to reach their goals despite COVID-19. In the face of adversity, not a single senior has fallen off track and all have continued with their post-secondary education plans.

The class of 2020 contributed over 12,610 volunteer service hours in our community. Students continued to help the community during COVID-19 virtually; students in the senior class had the opportunity to create videos messages for their teachers, record themselves reading books for younger students, and writing letters to local nursing home residents.

The class of 2020 received more than 289 college acceptances along with more than $3,885,082 in scholarship offers not including federal and state aid or Take Stock in Children scholarships.

Students applied to various scholarships and received more than 108 scholarships altogether. Some of the scholarships students received include the Naples Daily News Journalism Scholarship, Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Scholarship, Francis Paulson Memorial Scholarship, and the Medical Alliance Scholarship.

Through Champions For Learning students in the Class of 2020 received awards that exhibited the students’ accomplishments ranging from community service to perfect attendance.

Eighteen students received the Never Give Up Award – Whether completing a multitude of college applications, and scholarship applications, or always actively participating in lab sessions, these students took every opportunity to make it count!

Twelve students received the Outstanding Community Service Award – For exceeding the minimum and individually providing more than 300 hours of time to give back to Collier County. Students like Mayte H, Brissa R, Emisael V, and Gabriela M, all surpassed more than 560 hours of community service!

Ten students received the Above and Beyond Award – Regardless of the request, these students were regular faces around the office or at events, volunteering many hours back to Champions For Learning.

Twenty-seven students received the “Perfect” Attendance Award – Having missed one or fewer weekly lab sessions in their Junior and Senior year, combined.

The Class of 2020 has gone above and beyond and despite challenges, they have become Champions for our community who have uplifted us by continuing to reach their goals! To view our senior special in celebration of the Class of 2020 visit: https://championsforlearning.org/what-we-do/for-students-families/

 

 

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Meet Alaysha

Both of my parents moved to Naples from the Bahamas and are school bus drivers. They’ve always instilled in my siblings and me the value of an education. I’ve always admired my teachers; their brightly decorated classrooms made me excited to learn new things that I would share with my brother.

Five years ago, my school counselor shared an opportunity that changed my life. My parents and I completed my application, and I was selected into Champions For Learning’s program. I was matched with my mentor Tammi, a retired teacher, and given the promise of a two-year college scholarship upon high school graduation. At first, I was nervous about meeting with my mentor, but those fears quickly diminished. As we learned more about each other, now I consider Tammi one of my closest friends.

Because of Champions For Learning and my mentor I have a clear path for my future. The weekly programming has guided me through the college and scholarship applications, helped us complete financial aid applications, and provided campus tours. Champions For Learning has been there every step of the way. Even now, with schools closed and “social distancing”, my mentor supports me through phone calls, and Champions For Learning is providing virtual sessions, webinars, and resources to ensure I stay on track during this critical time.

Today, I have served my community with more than 200 service hours, earned a 4.0+ GPA, been accepted to Florida Gulf Coast University and The University of South Florida and completed 55 scholarship applications to-date. When I graduate from high school this spring, I will also be graduating with my two-year degree from Florida SouthWestern State College and the first in my family to earn a degree. Through Champions For Learning, my community has shown they believe in me, and my teachers, and want us all to succeed.
When I close my eyes, I can already see my classroom, I know where each board will be and what will be on them, how my students’ desks will be arranged, and how I will use what I’ve learned from my own teachers. I want every student to have the same opportunities that I have.


I’m proud to live in a community that is united around supporting educators and I want to become a teacher so that I can impact students and give back to my community.

~Alaysha G., senior at Golden Gate High School, dual enrolled at Florida Southwestern State College

 

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Becoming A Champion For My Commmunity : Billensky

Hi, My name is Billensky and I’m a senior at Golden Gate High School. I live with my mother, my sister, and my grandmother. I have a job and work to help with household expenses, and I try to save money for the future when I can. Five years ago, my school counselor shared an opportunity with me that changed my life. I completed my application, and after a selection process, was inducted into Champions For Learning. I was matched with a mentor and was given the promise of a two-year college scholarship when I graduated high school.
When I was standing on stage being inducted, I looked out into the audience and saw a room full of people cheering me and my classmates on and realized I was a part of something far bigger than I could ever imagine. That evening I met my mentor for the first time as well as the donor that had funded my scholarship. My mother always encouraged me to work hard in school, which I did, but now I had a mentor and donor that I was determined not to let down.
Meeting regularly with the staff at Champions For Learning and my mentor has helped me stay on track and develop a plan for my future. Thanks to Champions For Learning, I’ve had the opportunity to visit several of the universities in Florida. That really helped me decide on which colleges to apply to. Without Champions For Learning, I wouldn’t have known where to start. Going to the weekly college and career preparation labs have also helped me learn how to network and how to prepare a resume. They also had volunteers who sat with me and my mom to help us complete my financial aid applications.
Champions For Learning has been there every step of the way. Today I have over a 4.0 GPA, I’ve completed my college and financial aid applications, and I’ve done over 100 hours of community service. I’m proud to say that I will be the first in my family to go to college! I have already received three college acceptances and $90,000 in scholarship offers – on top of the scholarship I earn through Champions For Learning. I’m so grateful to my teachers, my mentor, the Champions For Learning staff, and all the volunteers that have helped me along the way. Though I haven’t decided what college to attend yet, I’m looking forward to studying business and returning to Collier County, where I’ve grown up, and help pay it forward to the next group of students. Stay Tuned!
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Champions For Learning Awards More Than $75,000 In Classroom Grants

Today, Collier County teachers were surprised by Champions For Learning board members, volunteers and supporters as they received funds for their classroom grants.

During the course of the day, Champions For Learning awarded 136 grant checks that totaled $75,448 to 42 schools. The checks will provide teachers with the funds needed to implement creative and innovative learning experiences for students.These classroom grants were requested by Collier County teachers through the online grant portal on Champions For Learning’s website. The community can go to the website and fund requests (up to $2,000). This online grant program began in 2003 to enable the community to support teachers.

Thanks to a charitable gift from Suncoast Credit Union, which supports the technology and capacity for the classroom grant portal, 100% of community contribution goes into supporting teacher grants. The following provided significant contributions to fund specific teacher grants: Suncoast Credit Union, Florida’s Support Education License Plate Fund, Lucie Jenny MacCarthy Music Fund of the Community Foundation of Collier County, Perna-Rose Foundation for Hope, and Ray Harman in memory of Karen Harman.

Help provide life-changing learning experiences to students! There are still opportunities to fund a teacher’s great idea. Visit www.ChampionsForLearning.org/CWACgrants to support local classrooms today! You can also help fund Classroom Grants through the License to Learn Fund (Florida Education Tag). Collier County community members can buy the new version of the tag now, $20 of the annual $25 fee is donated to Champions For Learning and 100% of the funds support classroom grants.

Full List of Classroom Grant Recipients 

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Announcing William R. Barker as 2018-2019 Heart of the Apple Recipient

Champions For Learning is proud to announce the recognition of William R. (Bill) Barker as the 2018-19 Heart of the Apple recipient. 

Each year, Champions For Learning awards a Heart of the Apple in recognition of sustained and committed leadership in support of building the culture of learning in our community through the mission of Champions For Learning.

Bill’s professional interests as a career newspaper professional, and his own personal commitment to education and the role that education plays in thriving communities has inspired his leadership of Champions For Learning, The Education Foundation of Collier County.

As the Regional President, Southeast, LOCALiQ and USA Today Network, and the Publisher of the Naples Daily News, Bill has been instrumental in continuing the almost 30-year partnership between Naples Daily News and Champions For Learning, with the newspaper as one of the founding partners.

Bill has very clearly identified education as a fundamental driver of community and economy.  And, as a Board Chair, and now Immediate Past Chair, Bill has provided significant leadership and has left a lasting imprint on the development of Champions For Learning.  He has long understood the significant and unique role of an education foundation, and he leveraged his talents and vision to support Champions For Learning’s role in community collaboration, and was a catalyst in the effort to bring a community together around common goals through Future Ready Collier. 

Bringing his own strengths to this work has helped to “shine the light” on the fundamental role that Champions For Learning, teachers, students and mentors play in changing lives every day—making sure our students and teachers know they are worthy of headlines.

 “We are excited to honor Bill who has had a significant impact on this generation of young people, and by extension, our entire community,” explains Susan McManus, President of Champions For Learning. “Bill truly embodies the Heart of the Apple award through his passion for helping teachers and students.”

Barker, along with all of the honored teachers in the Golden Apple teacher recognition program will be honored at the 29th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner presented by Suncoast Credit Union on March 29, 2019 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. Opportunities to sponsor a school to attend the event are available. For more information on event sponsorships and ticket sales, click here.

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Golden Apple Recipients Announced!

Today, students in six Collier County classrooms received bushels of Golden Delicious apples as their teachers were surprised with Golden Apple awards, which highlight best practices in teaching.  Representatives from Suncoast Credit Union, Presenting Sponsor of the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program, were joined by Champions For Learning board members, sponsors, and volunteers to present the awards to the teachers in their classrooms.

59 Teachers of Distinction (4 co-teacher teams) representing 55 Collier County Public Schools shared their best practices. Champions For Learning’s community-based selection committee identified six (6) practices to highlight as part of the Golden Apple process.

Congratulations to the following 2018-2019 Golden Apple recipients.  See attached list for the names of the Teachers of Distinction.

  • Philip G. Barton, Immokalee Middle School
  • Kim Benedict, Gulf Coast High School
  • Stephanie Cashion/Deniece Giovinazzo (Co-Teachers), East Naples Middle School
  • Krista Fusco, Vineyards Elementary School
  • Ashley Stafford, Lake Park Elementary School
  • Jill Striz, Village Oaks Elementary School

 “At Suncoast Credit Union, we believe that the stronger we make our teachers, the stronger our students will be. For this reason, we create opportunities for educators to share best practices and to grow professionally,“ said Cindy Helton executive director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.  “The Golden Apple Awards enable us to recognize teachers whose dedication and practices stand above the rest. We hope that the grants will inspire them to continue investing in our students and to develop innovative practices.”  

The 2018-2019 Golden Apple recipients will each receive a grant (up to $5,000) from Suncoast Credit Union to allow the building of best practices.  All Teachers of Distinction receive a $250 award, and the Golden Apple recipients receive an additional cash award thanks to the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation. 

The Suncoast Credit Union Foundation is funded through the credit union members’ use of their debit and credit cards. The Suncoast for Schools Rewards Debit Card and VISA Credit Card program automatically generates funds that are dedicated to education and health-related initiatives benefiting children in the local community.

The community will honor and thank the Golden Apple Recipients, Teachers of Distinction, and Collier County Public Schools’ Teachers of the Year at the Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner on March 29, 2019.  We will also be honoring William R. Barker as the 2018-2019 Heart of the Apple recipient for his contribution to our community.

The 2019 Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers is presented by Suncoast Credit Union and is generously hosted by the Naples Grande Beach Resort. Additional support is provided by our Major Sponsors: Conditioned Air, eBella Magazine, the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, NBC-2, and Wells Fargo.

The event hashtag will be #GoldenAppleCollier and #Champs4Collier

Opportunities to sponsor a school to attend the event are available. For more information on event sponsorships and ticket sales go to www.ChampionsForLearning.org/GA.

Families, students, and the entire community are invited to join in the celebration by tuning in to NBC-2 for the Golden Apple television program highlighting the great work of teachers in Collier County classrooms.  The program will be aired on Friday, March 29 on NBC-2 at 8:00pm, and rebroadcast multiple times after on The Education Channel.

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Corky and Chuck Carlsen Announced as Champions For Learning Mentors of the Year

Chuck and Corky first became involved with Champions For Learning by mentoring two students through the Take Stock in Children program, and brought their passion to the success of their mentees.

Chuck joined the Board of Directors and serves as the Vice Chair of Community Outreach. His leadership with the Champions For Learning Ambassadors Council has helped the volunteer outreach group to recruit a significant number of volunteers and mentors. Chuck and Corky are also this year’s Mentors of the Year.

Chuck and Corky not only give their time, but also provide philanthropic leadership.   Last year, they were instrumental in meeting a financial matching challenge for the College and Career Preparation Program that helps to sustain support for future students.  Their impact is put best by Isabel, Corky’s mentee, “My experience with my mentor is a one in a million.”

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