Chandra Brandel, a sixth grade teacher at Coleman Middle School, is a 2017-2018 Innovation in Teaching Competition Award winner. Through this awards program, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) recognizes teachers who utilize innovative instructional strategies to advance student achievement. This year’s competition rewarded teachers focused on one of the following priority areas: applied learning with a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education, blended and personalized learning, innovative practices to close the achievement gap, and birth through age eight language and literacy. The competition is a part of Georgia’s Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program.
Brandel says she’s humbled by the award. She adds, “I am excited that my students will now have the opportunity to increase their use of technology as a result of this grant.” She describes her classroom saying, “My students benefit from exploring how the math they are learning in the classroom is applicable for real-world situations. They have the opportunity to explore concepts using a variety of hands-on methods. I also use drama and art to help students bring math to life and to create memories of challenging topics.”
As a winner, Brandel will receive a $5,000 stipend, and her school, Coleman Middle School, will receive a $10,000 grant to support innovative instructional strategies. In addition, Georgia Public Broadcasting will film her teaching a unit and conduct an interview about preparation for the unit. GOSA will make the videos, along with the unit plans and supplementary materials, available online to other educators, institutions of higher education, and other stakeholders. The video, unit plans, and supplementary materials from former rounds of the competition are currently available on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s website.