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Georgia United Credit Union Foundation Announces 2024 School Crashers Recipients

Mar 28, 2024

DULUTH, GA  – Georgia United Credit Union Foundation in partnership with Georgia United Credit Union announces six recipients of the 2024 Georgia United Foundation School Crashers® program. School Crashers is one of the Foundation’s largest community service programs that offers schools across the state an opportunity to apply for a school facility makeover. The program strengthens communities by supporting local school systems with the end goal of improving the learning environment for the students, faculty and staff. 

The School Crashers nomination period opened in mid-December to all accredited K-12 schools in Georgia. Interested schools were asked to include a photograph along with a 250-word essay describing why their school should receive a makeover. Nominations were received from 224 applicant schools by the January 31 deadline. After a rigorous judging process, six schools are slated to receive school improvements over the summer. 

 “We are looking forward to serving our communities and strengthening our school systems through our 11th annual School Crashers program,” said Debbie Smith, CEO of Georgia United Credit Union. “The Georgia United Foundation, credit union team members, generous donors, community partners and volunteers make this a fun community service event, where we provide inspiring learning spaces for the students, faculty and staff. By the end of the summer, we anticipate that School Crashers projects will have impacted a total of 76 schools with improvement estimates at over $2.5 million.” 

Congratulations to the 2024 School Crashers grant recipients: 




Project Request 

Atlanta Area School for the Deaf 



Media Center Makeover with addition of Deaf Learning Lab/History Room; Mohawk Flooring grant 

Barksdale Elementary 



Sensory Room and Equipment, Mohawk Flooring grant 

Miller Grove Middle 



Media Center Makeover; Mohawk Flooring grant 

 Pooler Elementary  Pooler 400 Sensory Room; Mohawk Flooring grant 
 Eastside Elementary  Dalton  650 Sensory Room; Mohawk Flooring grant 

Cornelia Elementary 



STEM Lab; Mohawk Flooring grant 


  • Atlanta Area School for the Deaf is a dynamic day school in metro Atlanta, serving over 130 deaf and hearing-impaired students ages three to 21 from 27 surrounding school districts.  Through the integration of American Sign Language and English, AASD cultivates an inclusive and nurturing educational space, promoting effective communication, self-expression, and meaningful engagement within the Deaf community and beyond. Their project includes updates to the existing media center including collaborative seating from Ernie Morris, new flooring from Mohawk, plus the addition of a special Deaf History Museum room to include: 1) archival materials from AASD; 2) space for donated historical artifacts showing the progression of technology for deaf individuals; 3) Timeline of important events in deaf history; and 4) De’VIA artwork (Deaf View/Image Art) displays and donations by current and former students, staff and artists. 

  • Barksdale Elementary in Conyers has a new principal, Kristi Roop, who saw applying for a School Crashers grant as another way to assist teachers on the front lines in supporting students with complex needs. Barksdale has three self-contained autism classrooms in addition to students in regular classrooms who could benefit from a sensory room. “Creating a sensory room at the school would allow for needed breaks and a great alternative approach to dealing with behavior issues that could impede a student’s learning or the learning of others.  A sensory room creates a way to reach a wide range of social and physical needs for the entire school population.  In a building that was built in 1978, there is no space that would be quite like this and would improve the overall climate of the entire school. Providing teachers with the option of sending a student to a sensory room when in need of a calm place to refocus would be a game-changer for our school.” 

  • Pooler Elementary is a Title I school in Chatham County, serving pre-K to fifth grade students in the oldest building of the Savannah Chatham County Public School System. Special education teacher Sarah Clark applied for funding for a new sensory classroom to provide a safe and calming space for students with autism or sensory processing challenges. The School Crashers and Mohawk Flooring grant will be used to create a sensory room built on the principals and strategies of Zones of Regulation that will help make the school more inclusive to those students who need assistance with focus and self-regulation to return to class. The creation of this space through the grant will give the students a devoted, safe environment with trained professionals who have the skills and tools to help students improve regulating their sensory integration and emotions. The classroom will be equipped with a range of sensory tools and equipment to help students reach their full potential. 

  • Miller Grove Middle School in Decatur is a Title I school that serves over 700 students in DeKalb County. Compelling stories from parents, teachers and their principal communicated their desire to give the school’s media center a makeover to inspire students to curl up with a good book or get a head start on their homework. Media Specialist Crystal Cooper shared how much potential their huge library space has, with adjoining counseling offices and work rooms. Some new flexible, collaborative seating to replace some of the heavy wooden tables and chairs, some fresh carpet and paint, and our School Crashers volunteers will turn their vision into reality. This media center will become the hub of the school as it is transformed into a warm, colorful, and inviting space for the students to grow their love of reading. 

  • Eastside Elementary is a Title I school with more than 650 students, in an underserved area of Dalton. Although their grant request from special education teacher Tollis Bond covered multiple areas for suggested improvements – their biggest needs were a total sensory room makeover and carpet for their media center - and School Crashers can meet those needs over the summer. Hollis is also making plans for some potential mural opportunities with their art teacher and the Creative Arts Guild so stay tuned and follow Eastside Elementary on social media this summer. 

  • Cornelia Elementary was nominated by Assistant Principal Carrie Trotter, to receive a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Lab for their Title 1 school of 480 students.  STEM labs provide hands-on experiences that help young students grasp abstract concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math in a concrete and tangible way.  Research has shown that STEM labs can encourage students to think critically and solve problems creatively, work together to solve problems, and communicate their learning. One of the greatest benefits for Cornelia’s 63 percent Hispanic population would be opportunities to improve communication skills, which is a huge benefit for second language learners. This new space would benefit all students each week, as it would be included in the weekly SPECIALS rotation.   

Funding for the School Crashers program is provided by the Georgia United Foundation and generous donations made by community partners. If you or your organization would like to contribute to this summer’s makeover programs, visit . The above schools are slated to receive project improvements over the summer before the start of the new school year.  To learn more about the School Crashers program and view photos of past School Crashers recipients, visit

About Georgia United Foundation

Georgia United Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the communities it serves through impactful programs funded through corporate contributions and delivered via volunteer efforts from team members and community partners. The foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is the philanthropic arm of Georgia United Credit Union. For details on volunteering or making an in-kind donation, please contact

About Georgia United Credit Union

Georgia United Credit Union is an award-winning financial leader and partner in education. Headquartered in Duluth, Georgia United is ranked as one of the state’s largest credit unions with $2 billion in assets and more than 150,000 members. As a full-service financial institution, Georgia United offers competitive products and services for every stage of life. Visit to learn more.