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ORAU Awards Rocky Hill Elementary School $25,000 in 2010 Extreme Classroom Makeover Competition

Two Runner-up Classrooms Each Take Home $4,000 Toward Technology Improvements

April 29, 2010

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—With East Tennessee schools continuing to face possible job and program cuts resulting from a struggling economy, one local elementary school got a boost from Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Jordan Haney, a 5th grade teacher at Rocky Hill Elementary School is this year’s Extreme Classroom Makeover winner and will receive a $25,000 grant. The grant goes toward technology enhancements for Haney’s classroom. Additionally two runner-up classrooms each took home $4,000.

ORAU President and CEO Andy Page and Dr. Jim McIntyre, superintendent of Knox County Schools, surprised the winning teacher Wednesday during a school-wide assembly at Rocky Hill. Haney was one of six finalists in the competition.

Contestants entering ORAU’s competition must meet some specific criteria. They must teach math or science for 5th-8th grade and work for a public school located within 50 miles of Oak Ridge. Additionally a teacher must submit a short video illustrating the classroom’s need and explain how the new technologies would be used to energize and enhance learning.

In Haney’s winning video, he shares his fantasy dream of a new classroom full of laptops and active boards. Together, Haney and his students rewrote the Beach Boys’ 1960s hit song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” describing a high-tech classroom where students are focused, energized and challenged to learn. “I’m so glad to again put the spotlight on one of our area’s best educators with this signature campaign,” said Page. “With the challenges our nation, state and community face, this award takes one more step in showing the great work our teachers are doing to prepare 21st century scientists and engineers.”

“This partnership with ORAU underscores the importance of community involvement that has a tremendous impact on our schools,” said McIntyre. “Our relationship with ORAU goes a long way in developing our learning environments into powerful educational settings where business, schools and students are interconnected.”

For years, ORAU’s university consortium and its strong partnerships with the U.S. Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have uniquely positioned the company as a strong ally in promoting science education.

ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover highlights and supports educators who are working the front lines and illustrates how technology in the classroom helps teachers inspire more students to pursue math- and science-based careers.

“We are delighted to be ORAU’s top winner in this year’s Extreme Classroom Makeover. Technology enhancements from this $25,000 grant will give our students great new learning experiences that will help propel them in their career choices,” said Cory Smith, Rocky Hill Elementary School principal. Next steps for Rocky Hill include selection, purchase and setup of new technology to “make over” the classroom. ORAU will unveil the redesign in a special reveal in late summer before the new school year.

ORAU will follow Haney’s class during the 2010-2011 academic school year to track how he is using the technology. Haney and his students will be encouraged to blog about the experience and post on social media pages.

This is the second year ORAU has sponsored the Extreme Classroom Makeover project. Grand prize winner in 2009 was Jenny Alvey, a science teacher at Gresham Middle School. Her classroom makeover included additional computers, Promethean boards, clickers, iPod Touches, document and digital cameras and other technology that helped advance her students’ learning activities. Contest runners-up were Jo Ellen Emert, at Norris Elementary School, and Sara Green, at Holston Middle School. Each received a $4,000 grant for a Promethean board, laptop and projector.

View photos from the Rocky Hill Elementary School winning announcement.

View all finalist videos for the Extreme Classroom Makeover competition.

Two runner-up classrooms in the 2010 ORAU competition were each awarded $4,000 for their entries:

  • Kimberly Carroll’s 7th and 8th grade science classes at Central Middle School, Wartburg and
  • George Pace’s 5th grade class at Sunbright School, Sunbright.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

U.S. Congressman John Duncan Commenting on Grand Prize Winner

John Duncan, Jr.

“I am very proud of Rocky Hill Elementary School and appreciate Oak Ridge Associated Universities for supporting this program that gets money into the classroom where it is needed the most. I have visited Rocky Hill many times. It is a very fine and deserving school.”
— U.S. Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr.

U.S. Congressman Lincoln Davis Commenting on Runners Up

Lincoln Davis

“I am very proud of Ms. Carroll, Mr. Pace and their students for showing initiative and an eagerness to explore the sciences in an innovative way. When I visited ORAU last November, I was briefed on the Extreme Classroom Makeover and what they hoped to accomplish with this welcomed initiative. It is great seeing efforts to open the sciences up to our students in a way that will make learning more fun and hands on while pushing our kids to not limit their thinking.”
— U.S. Congressman
Lincoln Davis

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