DES MOINES, Iowa – Cheers filled the gym at Moulton Elementary School every time a table of students sealed another box of packaged meals. Volunteers from Iowa State University worked side by side with the students and Moulton teachers to measure and fill 14,472 of the nutritionally balanced meal bags that Meals from the Heartland will ship around the world to fight hunger.
Moulton Elementary organized the packaging event as part of its Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service activities. Faculty and staff from ISU’s School of Education, Student Financial Aid and Extension and Outreach volunteered their time as part of the university’s partnership with Moulton and King Elementary schools.
Katherine Richardson Bruna, an associate professor of education and project lead for the King-Moulton partnership, says she and her colleagues wanted to help package meals to show ISU’s commitment to Moulton. Richardson Bruna has spent the past year working with teachers and administrators at the school to develop ways Iowa State can assist with teaching and curriculum. The goal is to make sure students are college ready.
“We want to support the needs and goals of students and teachers at Moulton,” Richardson Bruna said. “Education is a tool to build leaders and make the world a better place. We want to help these students be life-long learners, so they lead happy, healthy lives.”
Moulton and King also provide an important component of the partnership through teaching experience for Iowa State students. Moulton Principal Cheri Dixon remembers the challenges she faced as a young teacher right out of college. She wants to help prepare new teachers for what they can expect when they get into the classroom.
Dixon applauds Iowa State’s commitment to providing support for Moulton teachers and the promise of a college education for her students.
“That financial support from Iowa State is huge. Knowing they have a chance at a college education, it really keeps students motivated to do well in school,” Dixon said.
Iowa State President Steven Leath announced the partnership with the two schools last year as part of a Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony. He encouraged 3rd through 8th grade students to take part in the program that could earn them a full-tuition scholarship to Iowa State. Richardson Bruna says the details of the scholarship program are still being finalized. She hopes to have programming in place by the start of the 2014-15 school year.