$2K STEM Grant

Wiggins Honored with $2K Grant for Innovative Teaching
Posted on 09/21/2020
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The Carson City School District is pleased to announce Empire Elementary School’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Teacher Adrienne Wiggins has received a $2,000 grant as part of the Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA) 2020 Unsung Heroes awards competition.

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. The staff at Empire Elementary School participated in a book club where Ms. 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.

Through this project, 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. 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.  

"For more than two decades, we have been committed to making a difference in the community by investing in the future of education and providing opportunity for educators to innovate,” said Heather Lavallee, president of Tax Exempt Markets. “Though every year we celebrate the Unsung Heroes whose ideas in the classroom will better prepare our nation's children for a rapidly changing workforce, this year is unique. Educators like Adrienne have had to be particularly innovative, and will continue to be, as they find new and creative ways to reach her students to help keep them engaged and learning during challenging times. It is instances like these that make us proud to support America’s educators as they go above and beyond to prepare their leaders of tomorrow for successful futures.” 

Selected from a group of applicants from across the country, 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.

To learn more about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the Unsung Heroes website (unsungheroes.com). Applications for the 2021 Voya Unsung Heroes awards are currently being accepted through the website until April 30, 2021.    

Unsung Heroes is part of Voya Foundation’s signature program, Voya Teacher Voices. Voya Teacher Voices focuses on empowering teachers to become leaders by promoting the teaching career, recognizing high-achieving accomplishments, providing training opportunities and offering financial support to achieve their goals.