Each year, the WKBN 27 Caring for Our Community campaign recognizes teachers across the Valley and surprises them with $500. Teachers apply to win, then a panel picks the entries with the best ideas.

JAMESTOWN, Pa. (WKBN) – WKBN’s fourth Creative Classroom winner is Jamestown Elementary School and teacher Sarah Peters.

Peters is receiving $500 to help create a more inclusive communication environment at the school through augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. It’s a way for students to communicate without using speech.

Peters says many times students who use AAC are the only person in a classroom using the device, so the grant will help them provide additional devices to put together a peer lunch group.

“So, these will have the opportunity to speak and communicate the same way their peers are and have those models and also then have a little more empathy built between students who wouldn’t typically use AAC and having that experience and understanding builds that empathy and understanding between different groups,” Peters said.

The peer lunch groups will be conducted at the elementary and high schools.

“I’m excited to see what happens. I know when I’ve had mixed communication lunch groups before it’s been some of the times I’ve seen the most personality come out of my students who use the AAC devices,” Peters said. “I can’t wait to see what it’s like when they are part of that whole group together.”