‘The Peer Project’ helps enhance classroom experience in Forsyth County schools

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There is always more to learn, even if you are a teacher. The Winston-Salem Foundation recognizes the importance of continued development and resources for teachers because their students are the community's future. That's why the foundation is supporting Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools with a two-million dollar commitment over five years called "The Peer Project."

The money is already enhancing the classroom experience at Petree Elementary School. Darling pre-k students are already enjoying an enhanced classroom experience thanks to "The Peer Project."

“When we had the opportunity with the CLC conference to be the recipients of a grant, I thought about my children that have special needs. A lot of them are sensory oriented, autistic, very kinesthetic. So they need that sensory touch for learning,” said pre-k, special needs teacher, Tonya Footelittle.

Now, the students are using new sensory materials.  According to Footelittle, “Some of our children have needs for pressure and touch and sensory, to be able to relax them and be able to learn different concepts.”

Interactive books are another addition. “A lot of our children cannot speak and talk and some can. So it allows them to be able to communicate with us what they are actually learning,” said Footelittle.

"We've had limited funds in recent years in public school to be able to meet the professional needs of our teachers so they can meet the instructional needs of our students,” said Amy Nail, COO Instructional Services.

Like the name implies, "The Peer Project" is about sharing new information.  Instructional coach Janet Moore was able to attend a conference and share valuable resources with her peers. “We are really focusing on technology. So I gained a lot of valuable websites to share with the teachers so that they can actually go to and create and design within their lesson plans and incorporate it in their lesson plans,” said Moore.

It's all possible because of support from the Winston-Salem Foundation.

“When we're trying to meet the needs of students, schools can't do it by themselves. When we're trying to meet the needs of our community, the community members can't do it by themselves, there has to be a partnership between the two,” said Nail. The partnership helps teachers like Footelittle to do what she does best!

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