As the ISEA president, I am given the task to help plan and execute ISEA’s annual service project, Outreach to Teach. The first Saturday of April pre-service teachers, current educators and community members gather from across the state to give a public school a makeover. Over the years, we have repainted school hallways and playgrounds, planted flowerbeds, built picnic tables and benches, painted murals of mascots and so much more.
Each year, Outreach to Teach rotates to different regions of the state accepting applications from area schools. This year we are in the northeast region of Indiana. Once applications are submitted early May, the ISEA executive board meets to discuss possible schools. We look at each application and read through the school’s needs. After looking through each application, we determine the top three candidates and schedule interviews. From the interviews, we decide on the Outreach to Teach recipient.
This year’s school is Redkey Elementary, Portland, Ind., in the Jay School Corporation. The school is home to 188 students in grades K – 5. We are excited to be working with a rural school since our Outreach to Teach schools in the past have been more urban. This school corporation has recently consolidated after many of their small community elementary schools closed. We hope to uplift this community by giving this small school a makeover and making the school’s educators and students feel supported through Outreach to Teach.
Outreach to Teach is such a unique service project and it does so much more than give a school a makeover. It brings together a community to give back to their local school. It allows pre-service teachers and current educators to network and build connections to future jobs. It brings educators together from all over the state to celebrate public education by demonstrating their support for fellow educators. The appearance of many of our schools goes overlooked due to a lack of resources and funding, but some simple sprucing up and paint can bring joy to students’ faces. I wish I could be a fly on the wall to see all the looks of excitement when they walk through the doors Monday morning. I hope you can join us April 6 for a fun-filled day of paint, dirt and hard work!
Volunteer for ISEA’s for Outreach to Teach April 6.