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Classroom Champions Sets Deadline To Apply for Free Videoconferencing Program

Classroom Champions, a free program that brings Olympian and Paralympian mentors to students in high-need K-8 schools through videoconferencing technology, is accepting applications until April 13.

The program is run by a nonprofit organization that was founded by Steve Mesler, a 2010 Olympic gold medalist, with the idea that getting students engaged with Olympians would inspire them to do great things while learning about digital technology.

Teachers of grades K-8 qualify to apply to the program; however, at least 50 percent of students must be eligible for reduced-price or free lunch.

Winning schools will receive for the span of next school year:

  • Access to an athlete ambassador Olympian, who will provide recorded videos, live video chats, and written blogs;
  • High-definition video camera and videoconferencing equipment using Cisco Telepresence to communicate with the Olympian;
  • Supporting lessons on goal setting, Internet research, math, technology, geography, reading, and writing; and
  • A chance for teachers to network with other participating schools.

Also as part of the program, teachers will incorporate Olympic and athlete ambassador ideals into their curriculum, and students will send letters, videos, and photos to their Olympians.

Athlete ambassadors for this year are Sue Bird, Jerome Singeton Jr., Kim Vandenberg, David Oliver, Mary Allison Milford, Giddeon Massie, and Natalie Burgener.

Sponsors of the program include Cisco, Clover Web Sites, Crescent Point Energy, eMag Creator, Lululemon, and Platronics. The program accepts donations.

Olympians who would like to participate in next year's program can send an e-mail to Classroom Champions.

Teachers can apply for the program at Applications received by April 13 will be reviewed, and those that seem to be a good match for the program will be selected to complete the second round of the application process in April. Winners of the program will be notified in May.

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About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.