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Everyone that knows me, knows that I love the fresh start of a new year. But what you may not know is that my favorite event also happens just after we all set our intentions and courageously step back out into the world to accomplish our new goals. The Extra Yard for Teachers Summit encourages, inspires, and uplifts teachers and educators across the nation. The weekend celebration brings together the Teachers of the Year from each state in the country. I wish I could really put into words what this weekend represents for so many. The last two years have been very challenging and it has been especially difficult for educators. It is no secret that morale is low in the profession as educators deal not only with how Covid will impact their personal and professional lives, but the lives of their students and their ability to learn.
Teachers are required and expected to do their jobs despite the hardships brought by the last two years. They are tasked with figuring out how to maintain their students’ attention from a distance and keep them stimulated. Some students are unable to adjust to at home learning due to lack of support or technology/Internet. Educators are having to prioritize social and emotional learning, meaning that teachers are wearing multiple hats at the same time and being made accountable for more than they should. Remote learning causes a lack of teamwork, empathy, and support between friends and students. In addition to the interrupted learning, educators have had to address the racial awakening of 2020 and the political challenges to the education system. Needless to say, this has been an extremely difficult and challenging few years for our educators… and let’s not forget they do all this while being underpaid…
I have been an ambassador for the College Football Playoff Foundation since 2018. I feel that every year, I discuss my attendance of this very special weekend but do not really do a deep dive into all the incredible work that is done by the Foundation. This year, I decided to change that. It is my honor to represent an organization that is designed to elevate the teaching profession through four core areas: retention and recruitment, resources, recognition, and professional development. The foundation is dedicated to addressing the needs of the teachers in the community where the College Football Playoff championship game is played. Below is some of the work the Foundation accomplished in Indianapolis over the last two years and such work will impact and help teachers for years to come:
The Indiana Learning Lab, a free digital hub for teachers to get professional development, classroom lesson plans, and share best practices in a virtual community
ESPN Corporate Citizenship has teamed up with the CFP Foundation to fund Indianapolis Public Schools’ projects with a focus on equity and sports-based professional development for Indiana teachers during Championship Weekend
Together with the Indianapolis Host Committee, the CFP Foundation provided media center makeovers at four highest-need schools.
DonorsChoose resource funding for teacher projects throughout the year.
Teach Indy’s Educators Conference, including a virtual hiring event featuring representatives from 22 Indianapolis-area schools.
The Go Teach Mentor Program, designed to inspire high school student-athletes to study education in college and pursue teaching as a profession.
DonorsChoose funds, recognition awards and incentives for teachers through multiple events including Teach Indy’s Educators Conference, the State of Indiana’s Extra Yard For Teachers Week, and the Indiana State Fair.
Recognition events include Teach Indy’s Teacher Awards, the State of Indiana’s Teacher of the Year awards, and teacher appreciation luncheons at ACE schools.
Professional development opportunities including Teach Indy’s Educators Conference, Extra Yard For Teachers Summit at the NCAA Hall of Champions, and KIPP Indy for math teachers.
This College Football Championship Weekend is an incredible weekend to honor those who are shaping the minds of the next generation and who selflessly dedicate their time, heart and soul in the name of education. The celebration culminates at the Extra Yard for Teachers Summit that is an inspirational and entertaining professional development event. It is a time to give educators a break and to thank them for all they do. We all can remember that one special teacher, advisor, and/or counselor who made a difference in our lives. This weekend is a reminder of what we should be doing every single day for teachers.
You can find more ways to support, get involved or donate to educators and teaching programs by visiting https://cfp-foundation.org/.
Check out my latest reel on Instagram @therachlindsay to see some highlights from the weekend!