MISSOULA — This week's winner of our One Class at a Time grant is Carleen Hathaway who works as a paraeducator at CS Porter Middle School in Missoula.
Hathaway – who is part of what is called the Structured Learning Program – has been at the school for 31 years.
"The Structured Learning Program is set up to help students who may have emotional or behavioral disabilities as so we just teach them skills so that they can be successful; not only in the classroom but in the general public and with their own families and get them ready for high school,” Hathaway explained.
Hathaway wants to use the $250 grant to purchase microwave ovens. She admits it's an unusual choice, but the microwaves help keep the students who bring their own lunches that need to be heated up from standing in line, maybe skipping lunch altogether. They'll be able to eat in a timely manner, get nourished, and move to what's next in the education process.
"Students can't learn unless we first meet their basic needs and one of those most basic needs is food. And if we have a way to assist our kids in getting their food and nutrition, as you said so that they're ready to learn, that's the best thing we can do for them,” Hathaway said.