Big 12 and CFP Foundation complete Extra Yard for Teachers classroom makeover in Ames

The following release is courtesy of Iowa State athletics communications.

The Big 12 Conference, in partnership with the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers (EYFT) initiative and Lakeshore Learning Materials, today revealed the creation of a digital learning lab at Ames Middle School in Ames, Iowa. 

Through a $50,000 grant, Ames Middle School has been able to completely repurpose an unused space into a digital learning lab featuring virtual reality technology and items from Lakeshore’s brand-new, exclusive line of Flex-Space classroom furniture so that the space will be both interactive and inviting for students. Equipping the lab with virtual reality has the ability to impact all 996 students at Ames Middle School, the district’s only middle school.

“We appreciate the opportunity to impact the Ames community beyond intercollegiate athletics,” said Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “These makeovers have had a transformational effect by providing enhanced resources to educators to assist in helping students reach their true academic potential.”

The new digital learning lab was made possible from the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers program. Previously, the Big 12 and CFP Foundation partnered together to provide classroom makeovers at Heronville Elementary School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Noble Prentis Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas; Berry Elementary in Arlington, Texas; and St. Philip’s School and Community Center in Dallas, Texas.

“This is truly an honor, and we are so incredibly appreciative to be recipients of this new digital learning lab,” said Ames Community School District Superintendent Jenny Risner. “The students here are very deserving in receiving a lab with amazing virtual reality technology that they will surely appreciate and use frequently. Having a digital learning lab like this allows for us to incorporate other teaching methods and utilize virtual reality to create both a fun and engaging learning environment.”

Given the close proximity of the Ames Community School District and Iowa State University (ISU), this gift can be transformational for kids growing up in Ames. “Many of these kids, who may aspire to one day attend ISU, now have technological resources that give them better tools for educational purposes,” said Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard. “Our hope is that this gift will inspire these students to fulfill their academic potential with the guidance of their teachers.”

The CFP Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the CFP, and its primary platform, EYFT, is dedicated to elevating the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering teachers in four focus areas: resources, recognition, recruitment and professional development. The EYFT initiative infuses valuable supplies like furniture, technology, and storage components more directly into classrooms around the country.

“Empowering teachers with supplies and resources they need is one of the best ways to make an impact in a child’s education well before college,” said CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky. “We thank the Big 12 Conference and Lakeshore Learning Materials for partnering with us to support and recognize teachers, who have such a tremendous impact on the education of our country’s future.”

The CFP Foundation utilizes multiple partnerships to execute its initiatives and support positive educational outcomes. Since its inception, the foundation has supported 250,000 teachers, reached 6 million students and more than 28,000 schools have directly benefitted from its programs.

“Helping redesign spaces to make them more conducive to learning is key to giving students and teachers the proper environment to use educational tools,” said Lakeshore Learning Materials Educational Division President Kevin Carnes. “Lakeshore strives to infuse schools with innovative learning materials to help students have fun while receiving a top-notch educational experience.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.