This article originally appeared on thecourierexpress.com, written by Beth Pifer on September 18th, 2018.
PENFIELD — Bennetts Valley Elementary School teacher Jennifer Ingram has been named as one of 10 educators nationwide to win a parent-teacher engagement contest and will receive $1,000 in “ClassTag Coins” to be redeemed for free classroom supplies, according to a press release from ClassTag.
ClassTag is a free, collaborative platform that lets teachers engage with parents and earn ClassTag Coins when parents and teachers communicate, volunteer, or attend school events like parent teacher conferences.
“Parent-teacher engagement is often the single greatest factor in student academic success, yet teachers still struggle to get parents plugged into their child’s classroom activities. As part of the contest, teachers were asked to share their personal stories of measures they have taken to engage their students’ parents in their classroom,” said Vlada Lotkina, founder and CEO of ClassTag. “We are thrilled to award such amazing educators who go above and beyond as we approach the new school year.”
“I feel so blessed to have been selected for this award,” said Ingram, “In today’s economic climate, supplementary funds for classroom supplies just aren’t available.”
“Bennetts Valley Elementary is a small, rural school that prides itself in being self-sufficient. Our faculty has a strong connection to the community and we are always striving to bring big educational opportunities to our little school,” said Ingram.
“Last year was my first year using the program, and it was the first time in my decade of teaching that I felt my families were truly connected to the day-to-day events of our classroom,” she said.
“Once I found success with this unique tool, I was anxious to share it with others in not only my school but across the district,” said Ingram.
So she collaborated with other teachers within the district to present the ClassTag communication tools at a recent inservice.
“It has truly been a team effort within our school to engage parents in this digital age of learning,” said Ingram.
“The resources ClassTag has awarded my classroom have and will continue to reach far beyond just 17 students and one teacher. Not only did they change the climate of our entire year, but they have influenced the curricular atmosphere of third grade for many years to come,” said Ingram.
While she hasn’t completely decided on how to use her reward funds, she plans to update the classroom library, purchase flexible seating furniture for collaborative learning and obtain a webcam to bring virtual field trips to the classroom.