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Six Troup County Educators Headed To Harvard For Project Zero Classroom Experience

LaGrange, Ga., April 18, 2017 – Six Troup County School System (TCSS) teachers were excited to learn they were selected to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education this summer. On July 19, they will spend one week immersed in the Project Zero Classroom experience on the notable campus.

For the second year in a row, The Community Foundation of Troup County, an affiliate organization of the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley, Inc. (CFCV) helped spur funding to send Troup County educators for this significant professional learning opportunity. Other community organizations joined the effort as well: The West Point Fund, Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley, Jindal Films, The LaGrange – Troup County Chamber of Commerce, Troup High Alumni Association, Rotary Club of LaGrange, and Lions Club of LaGrange.

During their week-long stay at Harvard, the teachers will examine several areas of education including:

• What constitutes an effective and powerful learning experience in the 21st century.

• Teaching deeper understanding so learners can solve complex problems.

• Educators modeling intellectual curiosity and rigor.

• The shifting terrain of the profession.

• Responsiveness to complex social developments.

• Creating rigorous and relevant learning experiences that engage young minds.

Michelle Ashmore, an AP Government and Economics instructor at Troup High, will be returning to Harvard for the second year in a row. She says last years’ experience at Project Zero, “was truly unique and it has changed my perspective as an educator. I will be able to bring innovative and engaging learning techniques back to my peers. It will help the focus Troup County has on rigor, relevance, and relationships truly blossom.” She will serve as a team lead for her peers that will be attending.

Another instructor, Shea Spencer is a third year educator and English Language Arts teacher at Callaway High. Of the selection to participate in Project Zero Classroom, he says, “I was humbled to be considered for such an opportunity. It’s not every day you get to learn from the best in the country. I hope to bring back and apply what I learn to my daily lessons. I hope to reach more students and provide relevant lessons so they will be prepared for whatever may be ahead of them in the future.”

Randy Hardigree was shocked and excited to learn about the selection to attend Harvard. As a 22-year veteran with TCSS, he has instructed at both the elementary and high school levels. He currently teaches Life Sciences at LaGrange High.

“I’m always interested in ideas that take educators from competent to exceptional. As I approach the ‘home stretch’ of my career, I want to make as much of an impact as possible. I hope that Project Zero will send me home with useful tools for maximizing my effectiveness in the classroom and strengthening my role as an instructional mentor,” said Hardigree Andre Carter, a fourth grade Math instructor at Whitesville Road Elementary looks to go from good to great as he travels to attend the professional learning experience. In his third year as an educator, he sees this opportunity as a way to bolster student achievement.

He says, “I’m planning on returning with tools and knowledge that will heighten student achievement in some of our lower performing schools. Students of the lower socioeconomic status have the ability of performing just as well as the students who may not be facing major obstacles and barriers in their early life. I hope to translate those tools and skills learned to strengthen my student’s achievement level.”

Sara Proctor, a fifth grade Science instructor at Ethel W. Kight Elementary cannot wait for the vast learning opportunities she knows will take place during the weeklong professional learning. “I look forward to developing a deeper understanding of the many ways in which students learn and how to better individualize this learning to inspire all students.”

Proctor continued, “As a team of teachers from throughout the county, we will be able to collaborate with one another so we can better share what we have learned with the colleagues in our buildings and across Troup County.”

The newly selected TCSS Teacher of the Year rounds out the list of attendees, Kayla Yeargin. As an Accelerated Algebra instructor at Troup High, she says she loves being a student and attending classes on Harvard’s campus will make the experience even more special. Upon her return, she looks forward to “bringing an excitement about learning to students and innovative teaching strategies back to teachers.”

Betsy Covington, President & CEO of Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley, said, “Each year the Advisors to the Troup Community Endowment Fund try to use the grant funding produced by this endowed Fund in a way that moves the needle for Troup County. Last year they invested in MichelleAshmore’s attendance at Harvard and were so pleased at what she brought back to the school district that they’ve helped to assemble a team of teachers for this year. For these Advisors, it’s all about investing in the area in a way that will pay big dividends. They believe that high-quality public education paves the way to a successful future for Troup County.”

Chris Joseph is a local Certified Public Accountant and a longstanding member of the Troup County community. In addition, he is the Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Community Foundation of Troup County. Joseph stated, “For the second year in a row, The Community Foundation of Troup County is making a difference in education by providing a donation for teachers to attend this professional learning workshop at Harvard. They have the chance to learn cutting edge classroom techniques from the best so they can return and implement it within their own classrooms, and share their findings with their peers,’ said Joseph.

He continued, ‘Thanks to our Board of Trustees and Project Director, Ted Beason, for supporting education. This experience will impact our students, our community, and the future leaders of Troup County.’

About the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley and the Community Foundation of Troup County: The Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley was formed in 1998 by a group of citizens interested in encouraging philanthropy and strengthening our communities. Since then, the Community Foundation has grown to more than $140 million in assets and has awarded over $134 million in grants through its donor advised, unrestricted, designated, field-of-interest, scholarship, and organization endowment funds. As a local center for philanthropy, the Community Foundation works with individuals, families, corporations, private foundations and not-for-profit organizations to carry out their charitable objectives and address emerging community issues.

In 2005 the Community Foundation of Troup County became an affiliate of the CFCV, allowing it to take advantage of the administrative and investment services of the larger organization. For more, contact the Community Foundation at (706) 320-0027 or visit www.cfcv. com.