La Porte area teachers receive support to attend Disney Institute from local businesses

La Porte area teachers receive support to attend Disney Institute from local businesses
By: Beth Ireland Last Updated: April 25, 2019

This summer, six La Porte educators will be attending a one-day learning experience from the Disney Institute thanks to scholarships donated by several community businesses. The Disney Institute event, an educational seminar organized by the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership (LEAP) and the La Porte Community School Corporation, will take place on June 12. LEAP is hoping to have 100 educators and 100 business community members to attend.

As education continues to evolve in Indiana, educators and business leaders attest cooperation is needed to raise a strong next generation. Jen Hunt, Assistant Principal of Counseling in the LaPorte County school district, called upon the Disney Institute, the professional development and business consulting division of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, to help bring educators and businesses together.

“Instead of waiting until high school, we really want to stress the importance of employability in grades K-12, and to start talking about what it takes to hold down a job, what it takes to be a good employee, and what it takes to be a good citizen in general,” said Hunt.

In partnership with LEAP, the La Porte Community School Corporation have been working with administrators in each school to find which educators are showing stand-out leadership and are deserving of a Disney Institute scholarship.

To the business community, it is important to support these educators and equip them to train an upcoming workforce. Business like NIPSCO, La Porte Hospital, Duneland Media, and many more have donated funds for several teachers.

“Any time we can partner to help our educators move forward and have the tools they need to do their job is a great opportunity for us,” said Ashley Dickinson, La Porte Hospital CEO. “Educators are raising our next generation. It’s important to make sure we’re starting young with our kiddos and that we’re building the next generation well.”

“It’s crucial that we support all of our educators in terms of leadership opportunities and giving them the tools that they need to be successful in the classroom,” said NIPSCO Public Affairs Manager Mary Cossey. “They’re met with many challenges and this is a great way for them to learn how to manage some of the challenges.”

Duneland Media President Tim Franke said, “It’s a great way to bring the business community together with the school. We’re seeing more of a need for the business community to partner up with the school system, especially as we go into these pathways. This is a great opportunity to do just that.”

It isn’t just the business community—educators also see the need for this partnership.

“I never thought of school as a business, but that’s exactly what it is. We’re providing a service for our community. In a state where children can choose, with their parents, to go anywhere they want, we want to join forces in La Porte to make our community the number one choice,” said Holly Welsh, 7th grade social studies teacher at Boston Middle School. “We have a great opportunity to market ourselves as the best middle school in the area and surrounding areas. Hopefully, we can bring in the best of the best from all the areas around us, in terms of new faculty for new positions, and also some incredible students.”

“I think it’s an excellent thing to see our community coming together to support our teachers and making sure that our community is all on the same page. We want people to live and grow here, and our ‘Why,’ from our education to our businesses to our tourist attractions, is the same across the board,” said Ashleigh Trumble, Hailmann Elementary Title 1 Teacher.

Businesses and educators are making a team effort to enhance La Porte. The Disney Institute is the perfect opportunity for them to come together and learn about offering the best service they can to the community members. If you are a business looking for a chance to educate yourself or your team, visit to purchase tickets to this event. And while you’re at it, support an educator with a scholarship to attend.