*LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – To mark National Teacher Appreciation Day today, Disney Imagination Campus revealed there are four inspiring black teachers among the 50 from across the country who will be the guests of honor for a magical celebration of America’s education heroes at Walt Disney World Resort as part of its 50th anniversary.
Carlanda Williams from Fresno, CA, Coquestia Ladd from Oklahoma City, Timothy Moore from Memphis, TN and Quandrell Claybrooks from Atlanta were among the educators chosen to participate in the celebratory event at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, which launched “The World’s Most Magical Celebration’’ in October to mark the resort’s 50th year.
When they arrive at Walt Disney World Resort during Memorial Day Weekend, the 50 elementary, middle and high school teachers will be treated to special entertainment experiences in the parks, a celebratory parade at Magic Kingdom Park and inspiring sessions led by Disney leaders, Disney Imagineers and a Broadway performer.
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“Teachers are among our country’s greatest resources, and their educational artistry and dexterity were never more evident than during the pandemic,” said Javier Moreno, a senior vice president at Disney Destinations. “These 50 teachers, along with thousands of other educators around the country, deserve to be celebrated for their continued efforts to inspire our nation’s children through the imagination-powered learning philosophy that is at the core of our Disney Imagination Campus.”
Here’s a snapshot of the teachers and their innovative approaches to learning that will be celebrated at Walt Disney World:
Williams: She is an elementary school teacher who regularly transforms her classroom in ways that spark her students’ imaginations and makes learning fun. She changed her classroom into an escape room for Halloween and Christmas, challenging students to work together to solve riddles and ultimately solve a mystery that allowed them to escape the room.
Ladd: She is a middle school teacher who encourages her students to tap into their creativity by asking “Are you living in a fantasy world?” In teams, she has students create their own original imaginative narrative to comment on themes they see in real life. At the end of the project, they develop a presentation to convince a filmmaker or a video game developer to turn their written story into the next big movie or game.
Moore: He is a middle school teacher who inspired his students to imagine their ideal futures by creating a “time machine” with a smoke machine, music, and lights, and by sporting a fake gray beard. The exercise helped the students visualize their own futures which they recorded in notebooks labeled “Your Time Machine.” Upon graduation, Moore gave each student their journal with the reminder “If you ever find yourself lost, use your time machine to find your way forward.” Additionally, he is an educational consultant that fuses hip-hop and poetry into English Curriculum.
Claybrooks: He is a high school teacher who led his school’s One-Act Play Ensemble to teach students creativity, strategy, and execution. In coming together as a team, the ensemble reached the state competition finishing third for the hip-hop-based musical, World of Wonder, and earning acting awards for both leads.
The 50 teachers, who come from 32 different states, were selected from more than 5,800 written applications that centered on the creativity and imagination they each demonstrate in their classrooms on a regular basis. Many of the selected teachers incorporate various types of classroom transformations into their curriculum, creating vibrant and imaginative worlds that spark the minds of students. And all of them have positively impacted the lives of their students and, in some cases, changed the trajectory of their futures.
For instance, a teacher in Indiana has transformed her classroom into an interactive version of the Titanic. And an Arizona teacher is reaching her students who come from different socioeconomic backgrounds by creating a classroom competition in which students pitch mock business ideas to school administrators and fellow students.
“These teachers and so many others are really next-level educators,” said Charles Thomas, Director, Disney Imagination Campus. “They are supercharging the imaginations of young minds every day in ways that are driving their career ambitions in directions that they probably never thought were possible.”
Disney Imagination Campus offers educational experiences for visiting student groups at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as well as Disneyland Resort in California. The collection of interactive workshops, performances, and special events involves a variety of subjects, including performing arts, science, technology, arts, humanities, leadership, and innovation. These programs are specially created to harness beloved Disney franchises, Disney Imagineering, and Disney Live Entertainment in ways that inspire the next generation of creative thinkers.
In creating the curriculum, Disney incorporated industry trends and collaborated with a cross-section of teachers, plus drew on its extensive experience in youth education, which ultimately led to a hands-on approach to learning and an imagination-powered curriculum that emphasizes key performance criteria, as well as the critical skills students, need to succeed in today’s world, such as leadership, confidence, creative problem-solving and teamwork.
The Disney Imagination Campus curriculum also leverages a new collaboration with the learning & engagement platform Kahoot! to make interactive quizzes available to teachers for select Disney Imagination Campus experiences. Kahoot!, which has engaged seven billion non-unique participants since 2013, empowers learners of all ages to learn through play with its live games, study tools, and millions of ready-to-use kahoots, courses and other resources.
For more information about Disney Imagination Campus and “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” visit WDWNews.com.
About Disney Imagination Campus
Disney Imagination Campus provides a reimagined line of educational experiences for visiting student groups that harness beloved Disney franchises and includes a collection of interactive workshops, performances and special events centered around a variety of subjects that include performing arts, science & technology, arts & humanities, and leadership & innovation. The uniquely Disney curriculum takes place at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California and offers a hands-on approach to learning based on industry trends to supercharge the imaginations of students and inspire their career ambitions.