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David Dillard, an educator at Skyway Park Elementary School, has received a special relief grant to buy video equipment to record lessons and tutorials for educators.

David Dillard, a Cheyenne Mountain School District educator, has been awarded a COVID-19 Relief Grant by the Association of American Educators Foundation.

The $495 grant will be used to buy video recording equipment to record lessons and tutorials for educators at all grade levels at the school.

“The world we live in is increasingly digital and connected, and we as educators need to prepare our students for the world that they will graduate into. That includes digital fluency and learning on many different platforms,” said Dillard, a technology integration specialist at Skyway Park Elementary School. “Unfortunately, with the coronavirus, people from almost every vocation are working remotely and I have not been able to find these items in stock for purchase immediately.”

The grant is part of the National Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Grant Program, created to provide timely support to educators impacted by pandemic-related school closures and the distance learning that followed.

Dillard is among the first grant recipients of this program designed for full-time educators impacted by the pandemic, said Christine Mazzanti, AAE spokesperson.

“I knew our budget for next year might be cut. I thought if I could get a grant for some high-quality audio and video equipment, I could use it to benefit my school community. I will create tutorials and lessons that will reach teachers across two schools and possibly our whole district,” he said.

Teachers will be able to “check out” the technology and use it to create digital lessons, he said.

Melissa Pratt, who oversees the National Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Grant Program, said judges were impressed by Dillard’s application.

“Mr. Dillard’s submission impressed judges for the dual role this grant will fulfill through meeting students’ immediate need for greater access to coursework while at home and by supporting colleagues’ future needs when school is reopened,” Pratt said. “The program is one of the most important ways we encourage and spotlight professional excellence today, and through this special cycle of our program we are able to respond swiftly with needed funding.”

Individual scholarships and grants are available for up to $500 to support projects addressing educators’ immediate needs due to school closures, and how to best serve students when schools reopen.

AAEF is a charitable organization that provides teachers and leaders with opportunities, information, and funds to reform and improve the education of America’s youth.

More information, including a list of funding options, eligibility details and applications are available at aaeteachers.com/cvgrant.

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