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Extreme Classroom Makeover

Teachers, what would you do with $25,000 in technology upgrades?

ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover hopes to answer that question for a deserving public school teacher within a 50-mile radius of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The mission of Extreme Classroom Makeover is to improve STEM education in public schools. The competition will award one 3rd through 10th grade math or science teacher with $25,000 in new equipment to update their classroom with the latest technology. A runner-up will receive $5,000 in new equipment. There will also be a $2,500 viewers’ choice award selected by the general public from among all entries received.

ORAU launched Extreme Classroom Makeover in 2008 to help improve STEM education in public schools across East Tennessee. The concept played off of home makeover shows that were trendy at the time—one teacher, one classroom and $25,000 in new technology.

In the years since, particularly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, technology has proven to be a vital part of the education experience for students. Still, some schools do not have the budgets to keep pace with changing technology. Keeping up with current demands seems like a luxury.

That’s where Extreme Classroom Makeover can help.

2016 Extreme Classroom Makeover winner Rhea Carmon and ORAU President Andy Page

How do I qualify?

  • Teach a STEM subject for 3rd through 10th grade
  • Work for a public school within 50 miles of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Eligible counties include Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union.
  • Submit a 3-4 minute video creatively illustrating the need and potential uses of technology in their classroom AND complete the brief online application.

The winner will be determined by a panel of educators and ORAU staff. Entries will be judged on how well they:

  • Demonstrate or explain the need for technology at your school and how your students will benefit.
  • Demonstrate or explain the potential use of technology in your classroom.
  • Demonstrate overall creativity in the entry and an explanation of the teaching philosophy and/or approach that will be used to expand the learning experience.

Extreme Classroom Makeover Timeline

  • Competition opens Fall 2022.
  • Judging will take place in early 2023.
  • Winners of the grand prize, runner-up and viewers’ choice awards will be announced in early March 2023.
ORAU awards $25,000 to Stacey Whaley at Northview Primary STEM School in the 2022 Extreme Classroom Makeover competition

ORAU awards $25,000 to Stacey Whaley at Northview Primary STEM School in the 2022 Extreme Classroom Makeover competition

Stacey Whaley encourages students at Northview Primary STEM School in Kodak to imagine a world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) beyond the limitations of the classroom.

On Tuesday, March 22, ORAU surprised Whaley with the announcement that she was the winner of ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover and will receive the grand prize of $25,000 for new classroom technology.

Read More about the 2022 Competition

Union Grove Elementary School’s Amy Buchanan wins 2020 Extreme Classroom Makeover

ORAU surprised Union Grove Elementary School’s Amy Buchanan at her house with $25,000 for new classroom technology, hoping students will now get to explore, touch and see the STEM classroom they’ve imagined. Watch the video to see what happened.

Watch the 2019 classroom reveal at Lanier Elementary School!

Watch the 2019 classroom reveal at Lanier Elementary School!

In April 2019, ORAU presented Lanier Elementary School teacher Renee Powell with a $25,000 technology makeover during a surprise classroom announcement. In July, we revisited Ms. Powell's new classroom technology!

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    2022 ECM Winner Submission Video

    Northview Primary School (Sevier County)

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    2020 ECM Winner Submission Video

    Union Grove Elementary School (Blount County)

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    2019 Winner's Entry Video

    Lanier Elementary School (Blount County)

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    2018 Winner's Entry Video

    West View Elementary School (Knox County)

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    2017 Winner's Entry Video

    Rutledge Middle School (Grainger County)

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    2016 Winner's Entry Video

    Austin-East High School (Knox County)

Knoxville teacher Jordan Haney with his Extreme Classroom Makeover winning students

Watch: Where are they now: Extreme Classroom Makeover winners

“I won Extreme Classroom Makeover more than eight years ago, and the items I won are still impacting my students’ education today.”

Jordan Haney, a teacher at Rocky Hill Elementary School in Knoxville, won the Extreme Classroom Makeover grand prize in 2010. Among the items Haney bought to outfit his classroom were a Promethean Board, which is a type of interactive white board, and iPads to be used by each of his students. He says Extreme Classroom Makeover is still making a difference in his classroom.


Want to learn more about the Extreme Classroom Makeover? Email us at