The Big 12 Conference, in partnership with the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers (EYFT) initiative and Lakeshore Learning Materials, today revealed the creation of a digital learning lab at Ames Middle School in Ames, Iowa.
Through a $50,000 grant, Ames Middle School has been able to completely repurpose an unused space into a digital learning lab featuring virtual reality technology and items from Lakeshore’s brand-new, exclusive line of Flex-Space classroom furniture so that the space will be both interactive and inviting for students. Equipping the lab with virtual reality has the ability to impact all 996 students at Ames Middle School, the district’s only middle school.
“We appreciate the opportunity to impact the Ames community beyond intercollegiate athletics,” said Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “These makeovers have had a transformational effect by providing enhanced resources to educators to assist in helping students reach their true academic potential.”
The new digital learning lab was made possible from the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers program. Previously, the Big 12 and CFP Foundation partnered together to provide classroom makeovers at Heronville Elementary School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Noble Prentis Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas; Berry Elementary in Arlington, Texas; and St. Philip’s School and Community Center in Dallas, Texas.
“This is truly an honor, and we are so incredibly appreciative to be recipients of this new digital learning lab,” said Ames Community School District Superintendent Jenny Risner. “The students here are very deserving in receiving a lab with amazing virtual reality technology that they will surely appreciate and use frequently. Having a digital learning lab like this allows for us to incorporate other teaching methods and utilize virtual reality to create both a fun and engaging learning environment.”
Given the close proximity of the Ames Community School District and Iowa State University (ISU), this gift can be transformational for kids growing up in Ames. “Many of these kids, who may aspire to one day attend ISU, now have technological resources that give them better tools for educational purposes,” said Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard. “Our hope is that this gift will inspire these students to fulfill their academic potential with the guidance of their teachers.”
The CFP Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the CFP, and its primary platform, EYFT, is dedicated to elevating the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering teachers in four focus areas: resources, recognition, recruitment and professional development. The EYFT initiative infuses valuable supplies like furniture, technology, and storage components more directly into classrooms around the country.
“Empowering teachers with supplies and resources they need is one of the best ways to make an impact in a child’s education well before college,” said CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky. “We thank the Big 12 Conference and Lakeshore Learning Materials for partnering with us to support and recognize teachers, who have such a tremendous impact on the education of our country’s future.”
The CFP Foundation utilizes multiple partnerships to execute its initiatives and support positive educational outcomes. Since its inception, the foundation has supported 250,000 teachers, reached 6 million students and more than 28,000 schools have directly benefitted from its programs.
“Helping redesign spaces to make them more conducive to learning is key to giving students and teachers the proper environment to use educational tools,” said Lakeshore Learning Materials Educational Division President Kevin Carnes. “Lakeshore strives to infuse schools with innovative learning materials to help students have fun while receiving a top-notch educational experience.”
About Big 12 Conference
The Big 12 Conference is comprised of 10 Universities – Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12 is an NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics conference that encompasses five states with over 40 million people within its geographic footprint. In its 24th year, the Conference has produced over 680 Academic All-America selections and claimed national championship team titles in 17 of its 23 sponsored sports. Its student-athletes and teams have combined for over 660 individual NCAA titles and 63 team national championships. Nearly 5,000 student-athletes from across the United States and around the World compete annually under the Big 12 banner. For more information, visit Big12Sports.com and follow the Conference on Facebook (Facebook.com/Big12), Twitter (@Big12Conference) and You Tube (YouTube.com/Big12Conference).
About the College Football Playoff Foundation and Extra Yard for Teachers
The CFP Foundation is the community investment arm of the College Football Playoff, supporting education across the country. The CFP Foundation’s primary cause platform, Extra Yard for Teachers, is dedicated to elevating the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering teachers in four focus areas: resources, recognition, recruitment and professional development. The CFP Foundation utilizes multiple partnerships to execute its initiatives and support positive educational outcomes. To learn more, visit cfp-foundation.org and follow Extra Yard for Teachers (@CFPExtraYard) on social media.
Ames Community School District
Ames Community School District is a top-rated, public school district located in Ames, Iowa. With over 5,100 students from preschool through 12th grade, Ames is a top 10 employer in Story County and has students who consistently excel at the state and national level in academics, athletics, and the arts. The Ames Community School District commits to equity and access that empowers every individual to reach their full personal and educational potential.
About Iowa State University
Iowa State University was established in 1858 and designated as the first land-grant institution in 1864. Home of the world’s first electronic digital computer, Iowa State is known worldwide for excellence in science and technology, discovery and innovation; and a student-centered culture with faculty and staff dedicated to student success.
About Lakeshore—Products Designed with Learning in Mind™
Lakeshore Learning Materials is a premier manufacturer of educational products for elementary and early childhood programs. For 65 years, we have built our reputation on the quality of our products, developing dependable, creative materials you won’t find anywhere else—including our innovative Flex-Space furniture line and rugged classroom furniture. To learn more, visit LakeshoreLearning.com.