East teachers earn grant

CASSTOWN — Miami East Elementary School teachers were recently awarded a $2,000 grant from Voya Financial’s “Unsung Heroes” award program.

Teachers Stephanie Blackton, Elizabeth Fields, Katie Mason and Megan Noll applied for the grant.

According to the press release, “the team’s innovative teaching idea, “Viking Book Room,” focuses on implementing high-engagement reading materials for students and teachers to use in groups for guided reading, which is a research-based approach to teaching reading and designed to focus on what students need to learn in order to advance.

“Their Viking Book Room is a literacy-rich space for grade-level teachers where they can “shop” for best-fit books to use during guided reading groups. With the Voya grant, the team plans to provide each of its guided reading groups with high-quality literature to engage students in their reading and writing development. Guided reading allows teachers to cater to the needs of all students, including the ones reading above or below grade levels.”

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.

“It provides educators with an opportunity to make an impact in their community, inspire their students and be recognized for their creative teaching ideas. We’re honored to help Katie Mason, Megan Noll, Elizabeth Fields and Stephanie Blackton go above and beyond to prepare our leaders of tomorrow for their own successful futures,” said Heather Lavallee, president of Tax-Exempt Markets for Yoya’s Retirement business.

Selected from a group of more than 650 applicants, the group is among 100 winners across the country who received the award to help fund and bring program to life. In addition, they 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.