IN THE RUNNING 9-26-16
A Leadore teacher is hoping the public will vote for a dream project he’s proposing for his school as part of the Farmers Insurance Dream Big Teacher Grant program, which could benefit not only his school, but his entire community.
Kevin Ramsey teaches history, government and Spanish along with other assigned duties, and is also the technology coordinator at the South Lemhi School District #292 Jr./Sr. High School in Leadore. He has been named as a finalist in the Farmers Insurance program that supports teacher projects. Potentially, he could win a $100,000 grant prize for his school. Voting opens Oct. 1. To view details, go to www.thankamericasteachers.com . Supporters can vote once per day per email during the month for proposals they believe will have a positive impact on students. Ramsey is the only Idaho finalist and hopes to be one of the six winners named from the 15 finalists.
Ramsey is proposing Project STRIVE (Students Training Researching and Innovating through Vocational Education). “I have always had a dream to build a program that would offer students the ability to incorporate knowledge from their core classes into student-led kinetic projects. These projects would be vocational in nature,” Ramsey said.
“When I came across the Farmers Insurance Dream Big Teacher Grant, I felt that this may be a way to help with my goal. I was hesitant to write for the grant because I felt that since it was such a large amount awarded, I really didn\'t stand a chance in winning, especially considering the size of our school and surrounding community,” he said. Last year, a total of 85 students were enrolled, K-12, 27 of which attended the Jr./Sr. high school. Leadore itself is a town of barely more than 100 people located in the rural Lemhi Valley of east-central Idaho, south of Salmon.
“Almost ten years ago, because of declining student attendance, the agricultural program was disbanded,” he said. “Since then, our shop has been dissected with state-purchased machinery redistributed to other schools to reinforce their programs. As a result, our students lost the opportunity to work with their hands and to learn vocational skills that are practical and useful beyond high school.”
“By rebuilding our shop to allow for storage and student projects, our vocational programs can return to inspire students, staff, and community to work together to address the needs of the small community in which we live,” Ramsey said. He’ll even get a chance to push a little history with his proposed renovated shop/special projects facility, because he also hopes to build a small blacksmith station there as well.
Finally, the skills the students will learn in the shop class and building the greenhouse will lead to the last project – an 18-station fitness course that will surround the property in front of the school.
“Our PE/health teacher is excited to incorporate the course into her curriculum during the day.” Ramsey said. Besides the school itself, “the community will have another area that they can come to as they meet with family and friends to walk and interact with each other.
For Ramsey, it’s a dream for both his school and his community. He’s one of those that genuinely enjoys teaching in a small rural setting. Besides history, government and Spanish, he also teaches video productions and conducts a career exploration class. “I am not bored, ever! I admire those teachers at larger schools that are required to teach the same class four to seven times a day. That would drive me crazy.”
Ramsey needs the public to vote for him. “I can’t wait to get this grant. There has been a lot of hard work done to get here but there will be a lot more to do come December,” when the grant is awarded and, hopefully, he can start building his dream for his school and his community.
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