Fayette teacher wins $15,000 for innovative ideas

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One Fayette educator’s novel teaching strategies has landed her a $5,000 stipend and a $10,000 grant to implement an innovative classroom and school project.

The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement announced that Dr. Kathleen Lanman, a seventh grade life sciences teacher at J.C. Booth Middle, is one of three winners of the 2018-2019 Innovation in Teaching Competition, a recognition and reward opportunity for Georgia teachers who utilize innovative instructional strategies to advance student achievement.

This year’s event rewarded teachers focused on blended and personalized learning, and applied learning with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) subjects. The competition is available through Georgia’s Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program.

As a winner, Lanman will receive a $5,000 stipend to implement her award-winning classroom unit on the concepts of active and passive transport in cells, and J.C. Booth Middle will receive a $10,000 grant to support creation of a mobile makerspace.

During the classroom unit on cells, Lanman’s seventh grade biology students will conduct labs and a series of thought experiments to deeply understand diffusion, homeostasis and osmosis. Then, students will apply their knowledge of active and passive transport to design a solution to the real-world question, “How can we solve the potable water crisis in Puerto Rico?”

The $10,000 school grant will be used to fund a collaboration between seventh and eighth graders at J.C. Booth Middle and students at Fayette County High to plan, design and build a mobile makerspace. Teachers throughout the school system will be able to schedule visits from the mobile makerspace, which has the potential to reach more than 20,000 Fayette County students.

In addition to the grant funds, Georgia Public Broadcasting will film Lanman discussing effective instructional strategies, management techniques, and her winning unit. The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement will make the video, along with the unit plans and supplementary materials, available online to other educators, institutions of higher education, and other stakeholders.