Verizon Awards $25,000 Grant to Virginia Department of Education for Thinkfinity Teacher Excellence Award Program

Virginia teachers who are developing innovative learning experiences for their students can now showcase their efforts through the Thinkfinity Teacher Excellence Award competition.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, announced on Wednesday (Feb. 16) a $25,000 grant to the Virginia Department of Education to administer the awards program.  It will recognize eight state K-12 teachers - one from each of the superintendents' regions in Virginia - for their innovative use of resources from Verizon Thinkfinity, a comprehensive, free online tool containing tens of thousands of educational resources for teachers, parents and students. 

Over the past five years, the Verizon Foundation has awarded more than $250,000 in grants to the Virginia Department of Education to support training and curriculum development by the state's K-12 teachers using Thinkfinity resources.

"The commonwealth's partnership with Thinkfinity and the Verizon Foundation connects teachers and students with rich content and standards-aligned resources," said Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson. "The teachers recognized through this new awards program will inspire colleagues to make the most of this free resource."

Verizon Thinkfinity resources are aligned with Virginia Standards of Learning and offer elementary through high school teachers resources across eight academic disciplines, from science to English to mathematics, to improve student achievement.  These resources include K-12 lesson plans, in-class activities and videos that can be found quickly and searched by grade level, keyword or subject.

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said, "Teachers are always on the lookout for new lesson plans and activities to adopt or adapt for their classrooms.  By providing one-stop access to vetted and SOL-aligned resources, Thinkfinity saves time and helps developing teachers plan with confidence."       

Verizon Virginia President Robert Woltz Jr. said, "Verizon and the Virginia Department of Education have had a longstanding partnership, as we both realize tomorrow's leaders are today's students.  Teachers are doing some great things in the classroom to develop students, and the Thinkfinity Teacher Excellence Award program will help recognize those teachers across the commonwealth who engage their students to help them become better learners and, eventually, better citizens."

A panel of educators and Thinkfinity experts will judge entries and select the eight regional winners.  The panel will select one overall state winner from among the eight regional winners.  The overall winner will be recognized at an event in Richmond.

The eight regional winners each will receive a $500 award and an iPad.  The overall winner will receive an additional $1,000 award.

Under the award competition:

  • Teachers will be nominated by an instructional technology resource teacher or librarian and their principal. 
  • Award nominees must be full-time K-12 teachers in a Virginia public or private school.  Nominators will submit eight lesson plans from the teacher that demonstrate the use of Thinkfinity resources to teach content and 21st century skills.
  • Nominators also must include a five- to 10-minute digital video that shows the educator teaching one of the submitted lesson plans.

More information on Thinkfinity in Virginia is available at http://www.thinkfinityva.org/.

Content for Verizon Thinkfinity is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Council for Economic Education, International Reading Association, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention.  In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

In 2010, nonprofit groups in Virginia received more than $3.7 million from the Verizon Foundation.  In addition, Verizon employees volunteered more than 53,300 hours to nonprofit groups throughout Virginia last year.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 94.1 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 194,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.