Local students receive honors from Florida Future Educators of America (FFEA)
St. Augustine, Fla. – February 8, 2023 –AT&T, through the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) and Investing in Kids (INK!), recently helped fund a local teacher with a grant to start “Project Parenting,” a hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) enrichment project to increase student understanding through experiential learning. Regan Ashker, the grant recipient, teaches three sections of English 2 Honors and three different levels of classes in the Creekside High School Teaching Academy in St. Augustine, Fla. along with serving as an advisor for Florida Future Educators of America.
Funding includes a RealCare baby infant simulator which helps with instruction and practice in parenting skills and learning lifespan development at the school’s Future Teachers Academy. “We currently have two RealCare infant simulators for 106 academy students to share. Our program has doubled in size in the last year. The grant helps to add another RealCare simulator and helps more students gain valuable hands-on experience,” said Ashker.
Since 2010, AT&T Florida has partnered with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations and local education foundations, such as the St. Johns County Education Foundation operating as Investing in Kids (INK!), to support hands-on STEM-career related learning opportunities. In the wake of the pandemic, a particular focus has been on engaging students who may have fallen behind during the pandemic as well as those in underserved communities and high school students seeking to jump start their STEM careers through industry certifications.
Creekside’s Future Teachers Academy is a program of study that follows the standards adopted by Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) in ninth through twelfth grades. Students who stay in the program for four years of high school take one elective class per year. The first-year course is Introduction to the Teaching Profession, the second elective is Human Growth and Development, the third-year class is Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction, and the final year course is Principles of Teaching Internship.
Another goal of “Project Parenting” is for students to improve their technological skills. By using various online platforms to showcase their RealCare infant simulator experiences, graphic design, research skills, and creating a Canva infographic will help to demonstrate learning through simulation. Collaboration with classmates is also included to design a video tutorial where each student shares a valuable piece of advice about the “Project Parenting” process.
Students will share the videos on the school’s student-produced news channel, KNN, to reach a broader audience. A final goal of the class is for participating students to pass a WordPress certification exam and design a website to showcase their videos, photos, and reflections about their “Project Parenting” experience. According to Ashker, the STEAM grant amount is $2,500 and includes a RealCare infant simulator with accessories; custom RealCare infant car seat; radio-frequency identification tag (RFID) instruction sheet and charger; car seat detection kit; diaper bag; receiving blanket, and a RealCare baby single storage case. The grant also includes a Shaken Baby simulator with accessories; t-shirt; cloth diaper; curriculum; five-year warranty; “When Babies Cry” DVD from the Shaken Baby Alliance; a set of 25 RealCare baby participant care cards; RealCare infant health and safety poster set, and a Foundation oversight implementation program outline.
Ashker and Creekside students recently participated in the annual Florida Future Educators of America (FFEA) state conference in Orlando where 550 students from throughout Florida and 50 statewide school chapters were represented. The theme of this year’s conference was Wild About Teaching. Ashker’s high school group placed first in a video production called, Inside Our Schools, and one of her junior class students was elected to be the new FFEA state president. Local Academy students also received an educational research competition award for their PowerPoint presentation about how educators use data to meet the needs of all students, and an award in lesson planning. “I am so proud of our award-winning student leaders. They are our future teachers in the making and I believe this is a sign of hope for our educational system,” said Ashker.
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T:
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. The company’s signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, drives innovation in education to promote student success in school and beyond. With a financial commitment of $500 million since 2008, AT&T is leveraging technology, relationships and social innovation to help all students make their biggest dreams a reality.
About the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations:
The Consortium is the membership organization for Florida’s school district-wide local education foundations. Established in 1987, the Consortium connects individuals, organizations, and financial resources to build the capacity and effectiveness of Florida’s local education foundations. Together, Consortium members raise more than $83 million annually for a variety of locally driven initiatives and are led by 1,200 board members, 80% of whom are local business and community leaders working in partnership with school district leaders. The Consortium manages the nation’s only 1:1 legislative match for education foundation initiatives and a variety of privately funded grant programs. To learn more about the Consortium or connect with any member local education foundation, visit https://educationfoundationsfl.org.