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Kids In Need Foundation Announces Winners of 2009 Teacher of the Year Awards

The Kids In Need Foundation, a non-profit organization that has distributed more than 300 million dollars in school supplies since 1995, is pleased to announce the 2009 Kids In Need Foundation Teacher of the Year Award recipients.

Dayton, OH (November 12, 2009) – The Kids In Need Foundation, a non-profit organization that has distributed more than 300 million dollars in school supplies since 1995, is pleased to announce the 2009 Kids In Need Foundation Teacher of the Year Award recipients. The winners are: Lorraine DelPercio, a kindergarten teacher from Immaculate Heart of Mary in Wayne, New Jersey; Amy Hudgin and student teacher Amanda Winston, science teachers from Whitestone School in Delta Junction, Alaska; and Jeffrey Ungerer, a science teacher from Fairbanks High School in Milford Center, Ohio. The recipients were selected based on innovative and results-driven classroom projects funded by the Kids In Need Foundation Teacher Grants, a program that enables educators to offer creative learning opportunities to their students. All K-12 teachers in the United States are eligible to apply for the grants.

“These teachers have inspired a thirst for knowledge in their classrooms, and we are proud to recognize their dedication to experiential learning (www.kidsinneed.net),” said Dave Smith, executive director of the Kids In Need Foundation.

Lorraine DelPercio has been teaching kindergartners for the past fourteen years. Through her teacher grant, she used prints of classic works of art to inspire curiosity about the masters.

“In one activity, my students were asked to write about what they thought Mona Lisa was thinking about,” said DelPercio. “Responses included, ‘having a baby and taking a nap.’ No two days in a room with five year olds are ever the same!”

Amy Hudgin and Amanda Winston organized a science project that took students out of this world. Their students studied the solar system by researching the possibility of other planets sustaining human life. Because of location and limited space and budget in Delta Junction, Alaska, the teaching staff is required to think outside the box to provide exciting learning experiences.

“Our project included a documentary in which our students acted as experts on various planets and even showed ‘footage’ of their visits,” said Hudgin.

“We do not have a gymnasium at the school, and we cannot go outside unless the temperature is above -20 degrees,” said Winston. “The grant money inspires our creativity and keeps our students enthusiastic about our lesson plans.”

At Fairbanks High School in Milford Center, Ohio, Jeffrey Ungerer tells his students they will learn nothing from him. Rather, he tells them, they will learn from a lot of experiences that result from both questions he will ask them and questions they will ask themselves. In his project “Real World Chemistry,” Ungerer created open-ended tasks that required students to apply previously learned knowledge and problem solving skills to real world applications.

“I tell my students, ‘my goal is not to make you a chemist. My hope is that you will experience repeated success and learn to flourish in the realm of asking questions and devising solutions.’ Not only are those pretty basic skills in any science, they are transferable skills to any profession,” says Ungerer.

This year, more than 2,000 teachers submitted grant applications, and 193 were awarded funding. From the group of grant recipients, the 2009 Kids In Need Foundation Teacher of The Year Award winners were selected.

Creative Hands by Fibre-Craft is the sponsor of the 2009 awards.

“We are thrilled to provide this motivating group of teachers with tools that make learning (www.kidsinneed.net) fun for students,” said Corey Funkey, vice president, sales, with Fibre-Craft Materials. “These award recipients are engaging students in the art of learning — now and in the future.”

The arts and crafts manufacturer will also donate materials to the teachers’ schools, as will the Kids In Need Foundation. Teacher of the Year Award winners also each received a check for $500. Presentations were made to the teachers at the Kids In Need Foundation’s annual gala fundraising event held recently in Minneapolis.

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