Riverside Elementary fifth grade teacher, Mindy Shaw, read about the Great American Classroom Makeover contest in the NEA magazine last fall.  She decided to write a 300 word essay and have her friend and fellow teacher, Cindy, take a photo showing the state of the current computer lab.

In the essay she likened the computer lab’s ability to teach about Tech, to building a house with a broken hammer.  She wrote that the computers can take up to 30 minutes to warm up and chairs are broken. We have signs that say—no internet, will not boot up, or doesn’t work.  She explained how in these economic times they just didn’t have the funds needed to upgrade the lab.

Five hundred and fifty schools from all over the nation applied. On January 23rd, she found out that Riverside was one of 10 national finalists and the ONLY one in the Northwest.  The final decision would be made by an online vote.  She knew there was more work to be done.

Mindy called the WEA-Eastern Council and asked for support, and then contacted every media outlet in Spokane, including radio, TV and print. 

The response was overwhelming.  “Parents, students, community members and churches—everyone had our back.” said Mindy.

On the morning of Monday, February 25th, Mindy received the call she had been waiting for. The Great American Classroom Makeover told her that Riverside had won $10 thousand to redo the school’s computer lab.  Riverside received more than 29,000 votes and won by a landslide.

Mindy shared “When we found out that we won, and throughout the process, students held their heads higher and said they feel like they are going to try this or that.  When we won, they were astounded and said that they had learned valuable lessons about life, hard work, and dreaming.  I have taught for 14 years from 3rd to 5th grade including our gifted program.  My husband Bill is right next door to me and my two children attend Riverside.  I love the challenges and the family that is created each year.  I know that my job is to educate, care for and inspire.  I am blessed to work with the best staff in a wonderful community.  I love Riverside!”

We think it’s safe to say that they love you too!  Congratulations.