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Teacher calls on all Washingtonians to help district with click of mouse | Schools

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Teacher calls on all Washingtonians to help district with click of mouse
Teacher calls on all Washingtonians to help district with click of mouse

A teacher from the Riverside school district is seeking the help of all Spokanites and Washingtonians.

Mindy Shaw, of Deer Park, was recently chosen as one of 10 finalists to be considered for a $10,000 prize from the Great American Classroom Makeover. Shaw wants to upgrade Riverside Elementary's computer lab, which has fallen far behind technological standards. The lab has several computers that don't turn on, don't connect to the Internet and Shaw fears her students are falling behind their peers from other areas.

“I want them to see a bigger world,” Shaw said. “I want them to see possibilities – whether that is through the technology itself or through them seeing someone try something they might not do. I always say, 'dream, believe, achieve.' ”

For Riverside and Shaw to win, they need to receive the most votes in an online contest that starts Monday, Feb. 4 and runs through Feb. 22.

Shaw decided to enter the school into the running when she was flipping through a National Education Magazine and a flier advertising the event fell out, and she is “famous for trying things that no one else will try, like contests like this, if it will help.”

So, Shaw sent in the required essay and photo (see below), and heard back last week that she was one of the 10 finalists. After learning she advanced, she shifted into being Riverside's biggest promoter.

The teacher is approaching the contest with the zeal necessary to overcome being from a sparsely-populated rural area competing in a popularity contest. Shaw plans to reach out to Spokane Mayor David Condon, Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh, and will email “everyone I know, every day the contest is open.”

“My list of names I plan to contact is ridiculous,” she said. “I haven't graded papers in a few days.”

Shaw's daughter, Lizzy, said that her dad – who also teaches at Riverside – is “always telling her, 'you're way too manic about this right now,' ”

But Shaw believes that the fact that a student has to go into the computer lab 20 minutes before it can be used to “warm the computers up” is a problem worth fighting hard to solve.

“We may live out in the country, but basically we want our kids to have the same opportunities as kids anywhere,” she said. “We aren't hicks from the sticks. We're loving and dedicated teachers who put our heart into what we do everyday.”

You can vote for Shaw daily, starting Feb. 4, at GaClassroomMakeover.com.


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