Bethel School District teacher advances in race for $100,000 grant

Rocky Ridge Elementary teacher Elissa Dornan was surprised Thursday with news that she is one of three teachers left in the running for a regional $100,000 grant from Farmers Insurance.

Rocky Ridge, part of the Bethel School District in Pierce County, is the last Washington state school left in the Farmers Insurance Dream Big contest.

The contest is part of the company’s Thank A Million Teachers campaign to give away $1 million dollars in grant money this year. Half of it is in $2,500 grants, while the other half is divided into five $100,000 grants. Each major grant is designated to a region, so Rocky Ridge is competing for the $100,000 against two other schools, one in Idaho and one in Montana.

Dornan’s grant proposal focuses on bringing more technology to Rocky Ridge, including class sets of iPads.

“Her proposal is remarkable,” Randy Rice, the national manager of education programs for Farmers Insurance, said in a news release. “What’s so special about it is, it’s not about her, it goes beyond her to the entire school and really to the community.”

Dornan said in the release that her school has between 60 and 70 percent of students living in poverty, with limited access to technology. Winning the grant would open doors for students and teachers, she said.

Starting in October you can vote for Rocky Ridge Elementary at www.thankamillionteachers.com/vote-for-a-proposal