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By Carlen Hultgren
Emily Max, teacher at Fred Armon Toomer Elementary School, was awarded one of six $100,000 grants from Farmers Insurance Dream Big Teacher Challenge. With the funds, Max envisioned the creation of an all-inclusive playground accessible for the school’s special needs students. Last month, the school hosted the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of this new playground.
In 2015, Emily Max was named one of six finalists as part of The Dream Big Teacher Challenge. The challenge rewards teachers for their ideas to help create a lasting and positive impact on their classrooms, schools, and communities.
At Toomer Elementary, more than 70 percent of the student population receives free or reduced-cost lunches, and the school does not have adequate funds to provide the desired resources to many of its special needs students. With the $100,000 grant, the new playground serves both the school’s students as well as the larger community, particularly the Boys and Girls Club, which is next door to the school.