Meadow Heights Middle School Teacher Receives Grant from WGU Missouri

WGU Strategic Partnership Manager Greg Gilliam virtually awarded the grant to Sarah Yamnitz on May 6. Also pictured is Meadow Heights R-II School District Superintendent Brian White.

Sarah Yamnitz, a seventh and eighth grade agriculture teacher at Meadow Heights Middle School in Patton, Mo., received a $50 grant through WGU Missouri’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative. The funds will be used by Yamnitz to purchase materials that will allow her to create a unique activity her students can use to simulate grazing situations with cattle or sheep while in a classroom setting. Yamnitz was virtually awarded the grant on May 6.

Through Yamnitz’s interactive lesson, students will learn about rangelands by participating in a hands-on activity where they will grow their own grass to represent a beef or sheep ranch. Students will use background concepts in the beginning of the lesson to grow different types of grasses in jiffy pots. Then, they will compare grazing, overgrazing and under-grazed grasses simulated for the rangeland, while also comparing the benefits or difficulties that may appear. Funds for the project will be used by Yamnitz to purchase individual pots for each student and corresponding materials to grow their grass.

The innovative classroom project is one of 55 across Missouri chosen by WGU Missouri to receive funding. The nonprofit, fully online university issued a call in March for K-12 teachers across the state to nominate proposed classroom projects by April 18 for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding through its “Fund My Classroom” initiative. Yamnitz’s proposal is one of almost 400 nominations received statewide. Most grants are being awarded this week in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.

“We were happy to read about all the amazing projects our teachers have planned and are excited we can bring so many to life through our ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative,” said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Chancellor of WGU Missouri. “This past year has been a challenging one for both teachers and students as they were forced to adapt to new styles of teaching and learning. This initiative is an opportunity for WGU to celebrate teachers and thank them for their dedication to educating and positively impacting their students, while enhancing learning for students – both in and out of the classroom.”

To learn more about the “Fund My Classroom” initiative and the work WGU Missouri is doing to help teachers advance their careers, visit

About WGU Missouri

WGU Missouri is a competency-based, online university created to expand access to higher education for Missouri residents. The university offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU Missouri faculty members serve as mentors, working one-on-one with students, offering guidance, support, and individualized instruction.

Established in 2013 through a partnership with nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Missouri is open to all qualified Missouri residents. The university is nonprofit and self-sustaining on flat-rate tuition of about $7,000 per year for most programs.

Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Nursing College programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE*), and the Health Informatics program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

More information is available at or by calling 855.948.8493.

*Western Governors University offers nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 5380, Washington DC 20036, 202-877-6791).