April Shelnutt

Teachers helping teachers is a fundamental pillar that sparks collaboration, fosters a sense of camaraderie, and promotes continuous professional growth. For science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), when it comes to teachers working together for the common goal, that teamwork spirit – or in this case, chemistry – can also create a ripple effect that positively impacts students, too.

April Shelnutt, educator at Norma Krueger Elementary, was inspired to support teachers within her school by purchasing materials needed to start a STEM program in addition to other educational exercises and practices. Thanks to Power of the Dollar® members, she was awarded a $1,000 grant in December 2022 and went on to purchase a stack of STEM Force and Motion kits designed to support both teachers and students, as well as other resources needed to grow within various school subjects!

“I see all the different things teachers have to buy out of pocket and so I thought I could probably use this money to help them out,” Shelnutt said. “So, I went to provide materials teachers could use for STEM projects in the classroom. I bought all kinds of consumables so that way teachers don’t have to pay out of pocket for all the little things, ‘cause those little things add up. I felt that was the best way I could use the money from the grant.”

Supporting one another passes on the knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement, and it creates a cycle of empowerment and growth within our community. With these resources, it will have a positive impact on the students who get to use these valuable STEM kits and school materials daily, but also with the teachers who don’t have to reach into their own pocket. By extending a helping hand, whether it’s small or large, you’re not only making a difference in one life, but you’re also providing support to others that are connected and strengthening the fabric of community.

“My main goal is to make sure the kids are engaged, and the learning is interactive,” she said. “When they’re interactive it stays with them. My hope is that teachers will use the resources that I give them to make sure that the learning environment that they have is engaging and interactive so that way the learning stays with the students!”

Looking to help local schools, invest in your community, and support educators like April Shelnutt? Make a tangible, positive impact by joining the collective giving of our Power of the Dollar® membership. Learn more at www.firstmarkcu.org/checking, and together, we can create pathways that lead to better lives and stronger communities.