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FCPS teacher a finalist in dream classroom competition, needs more votes

Lex 18 Lexington January 31, 2024

By Rachel Richardson, Lex 18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Students at Northern Elementary School are designing polar bear dens. It's a part of Ashley Wilkerson’s STEM class. Students identify problems by working together to make a design. Then they made a written plan.

Wilkerson says, "We will tie in experiments, investigations, engineering design challenges like the one we had today to push our students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers who are creative and can communicate as a team."

Ms. Wilkirson recently did some designing of her own. Last fall, she learned about a national contest — hosted by the furniture company KI. It selects four educators from four regions across the U.S. to help them design their dream classroom. Ms. Wilkirson entered a design for her STEM classroom. Now, she's among 12 finalists across the country and three in the central region.

She explains, "All of the tables are designed so they can turn and talk to each other with ease, it actually has a curve in the table so if they wanted to lean over to share something or do something they could."

Wilkirson shares the idea behind her design was to a space that allows these students to collaborate and get even more creative. Wilkerson says this class promotes high-level learning, and she wants a room that reflects that. Wednesday is the last day to vote.

Wilkirson says, "As we go into the final day, we've had a lot of support and all I could ask is just please continue to support and vote for our school. Today is the last day to do it so every vote counts."

Four winners will be awarded up to $40,000 worth of KI furniture. They hope this will allow these educators to design spaces that meet a variety of students’ learning styles and needs. Wilkirson explains that collaborative, hands-on learning is more important at this age than many may realize.

"It's something you want every person all of the time to have, to be able to walk into a job and to be able to do. So, no matter what my students want to do, I want them to be able to go after their dreams and chase it and I want to give them the skills to do that. So, everything we do in here is leading up to the greater things that I know they're gonna be able to do someday."

Ms. Wilkirson wants to show her students how far their imaginations can take them.

Voting closes Wednesday, January 31. To vote for Ashley Wilkirson, you can click here.

Wilkirson is a part of the “Central” region and the only finalist from Kentucky. You can also check out more of her classroom design for Northern Elementary School.

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