Grand Island Public School Foundation Board members surprised teachers and students in the Grand Island Public Schools when they arrived at schools Tuesday and Wednesday to award 32 grants, including 24 mini-grants and 8 special purpose grants.
The Grand Island Public Schools Foundation awards mini-grants in two rounds on an annual basis. Mini-grants are designed to fund educational opportunities for students that are not available through the school district's general budget.
This is the thirteenth annual mini-grant cycle for the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. Since the program’s inception, the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation has funded 228 mini-grants totaling $186,906. Grants have been awarded to every school in the district benefiting approximately 43,320 students.
The 2016-2017 mini-grant fund was established via the "Add it Up to Opportunity!" Staff and Board fund drive and the "Tradition of Excellence" Community Campaign held during the past 12 months.
For the 2016-2017 school year, 32 grants totaling $33,257 were awarded through the mini-grant process. Grants range from $109 to $3,500. All of the districts’ 9,801 students will benefit from a classroom mini-grant this school year.
Round One grant winners
*Catherine Breuer, Success Academy, $787, “Living Classroom.” By partnering with the Boy Scouts of America through Camp Augustine, we will provide the opportunity for our students to experience confidence building challenges such as the COPE course. They will learn basic skills such as first aid, fire building, and knot tying. The grant will benefit 10 students, grades 6-8.
*Mary Beth Hubl and Peggy McManaman, Early Learning Center, $2,000, “Dolls with Special Needs for Preschoolers.” In order to meet the needs of all of our students and help children understand themselves and others, each preschool classroom will have access to dolls with special needs and doll-size adaptive equipment. Through daily use of these dolls, our students will learn to dispel stereotypes about children with special needs. This grant will benefit 390 students, in PreK.
*Christine Kier, Grand Island Senior High, $1,100, “Shakespeare is Alive and Relevant!” Nebraska Shakespeare presents a workshop on theatrical concepts, design, and acting to theater students. Later that day, the professional actors presented 'Hamlet' to the student body, and then held a post-show discussion about the language, content, themes, William Shakespeare, acting and other related topics, combined with answering additional questions the students had. This grant benefits 1,360 students in grades 9-12.
*Tausha Lee, Ashlee Nuss, and Brenda Cochran, Wasmer Elementary, $148, “Breakout EDU.” This grant will purchase a breakout EDU kit for our students to enhance their skills working as a team. Breakout EDU games teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content area classrooms. Breakouts have embedded standards that apply problem solving strategies within a real world building experience. This allows students to learn 'outside of the box' while using tools and technology to complete challenges to unlock a box. This grant will benefit 60 students in grades K-5.
*Jennifer Manivong, Hannah Gloe, and Alison Zitterkopf, Starr Elementary, $200, “Engaging Learners with 21st Century Experiences.” With the help of the Green Screen App, we will integrate technology and motivate students in our regular education classrooms. Students will show creativity as well as mastery of skills in multiple subject areas by creating videos using the green screens and the app. This grant will benefit 60 students in grades K-5.
*Angela Runquist, Success Academy, $500, “Skills Academy Sensory Room Expansion." This grant will open a sensory room area for our high school students. This room is to be used by students when they are upset or need an area to de-escalate in order to return to class. The funding from this grant will benefit 25 students in grades PreK-12.
*Catherine Schmaderer and Cara Kuhl, Stolley Park Elementary, $414, “Breaking Out of the Traditional Classroom: Real World Problem Solving." Breakout EDU is a kit that is designed to transform a classroom into an Escape room. Students are challenged to solve clues in order to open up the locks and breakout of a room. Only those who successfully navigate their way through the puzzles will open the locks and breakout. While working in teams all students will develop a wide range of skills including effective communication, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and persistence. This grant will benefit 223 students in grades K-5.
*Melissa Sears, Wasmer Elementary, $750, “United We Read." United We Read is a movement designed to get an entire school community involved in the joy of reading. When an entire school reads the same book, it expands a sense of community among students, staff, and parents. This grant will benefit 350 students and their families in grades K-5.
*Kandi Young, Grand Island Senior High, $200, “Building Math Ego through Legos." This grant will engage students in problem solving activities through the use of manipulatives. This allows students to learn from specific hands on instructional strategies. Research shows students with skills deficits learn a different way and the Legos will allow me teach and reteach specific skills needed to be a successful Algebra student. This grant will benefit 100 students in grades 9-12.
Round Two grant winnerS
*Alicia Glaser, Starr Elementary, $510, “Drum to the Rhythm of Life." This grant will provide tubano drums to help us develop our rhythmic skills and create a powerful and exhilarating drumming circle experience. This grant will benefit 300 students in grades K-5.
*Alicia Glaser, Knickrehm Elementary, $510, “Feel the Rhythm Drumming in Our Hearts." This grant will provide large tubano drums to help us develop our rhythmic skills and create a powerful and exhilarating drumming circle experience. This grant will benefit 250 students in grades K-5.
*Amy Hanna, Ashley Collins and Kayla Stutzman, Jefferson Elementary, $678. “Making Memories and Connections in 3rd Grade." We will build stronger connections between school and home through several family engagement activities. We plan to visit students' homes to learn more about our 3rd graders at Jefferson and their families. We will also host family nights throughout the school year in an effort to better get to know our families and to strengthen our relationships. This grant will benefit 45 students in grades K-5.
*Ashley Hilger, Loria Lei Thunker and Gay Correll, Westridge Middle School, $814, “Westridge Students attend Flowers for Algernon." This grant allowed us to take 232 and 13 supervising adults to view the Grand Island Little Theater's performance of 'FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON.' Our students read the short story Flowers for Algernon and will be able to compare/contrast our short story to a live performance as per state standard. This grant benefited 232 students.
*Jill Kimbrough, Walnut Middle School, $850, “Computer Science Comes to Life!" This grant will fund an after school club, 'Programming Club,' where students will learn to problem solve through basic computer programming. They use these skills to build and program a Vex Robot. This grant will benefit 10 students in grades 6-8.
*Julie Markvicka, Success Academy, $456, “Sewing at Success." Students will attend in-house sewing workshops with two new sewing machines and supplies. Success Academy staff and volunteers will work with students interested in learning sewing skills ranging from basic mending to advanced mathematical concepts displayed through quilting. The machines will allow students to gain lifelong skills. This grant will benefit 65 students in grades 9-12.
*Benjamin Marten and Rene Ekhoff, Walnut Middle School, $2,000, “Walnut Solar 4-wheeler." Walnut Middle School's Science Club is building a solar 4-wheeler which will use only the power of the SUN to run. We will be taking a gas powered 4-wheeler and converting it to electoral. Our vision is for the Custodians to use this 4-wheeler on the Walnut School Campus to do various tasks without polluting or without the same level of maintenance. This grant will benefit 30 students in grades 6-8.
*Justin Miller, Success Academy, $1,400, “Lego Robotics Project." This grant will make available the purchase of LEGO Education, Mindstorm equipment. Lego Robotics will provide us an opportunity to incorporate new learning in the areas of computer science, technology, and engineering while still working on skills taught in math and science. There are a variety of projects to complete as well as competitions that students can enter that will test their programming skills and mastery. This grant will benefit 20 students in grades 6-12.
*Amanda Rood, Kim Wagner, Michelle Kunze and Tamara Williams, Barr Middle School, $220, “Breaking Into Problem Solving!” As educators, we want to help foster problem solving skills with all of our students. This grant would allow us to create content-based scenarios that students will be excited about and will push them out of their comfort zone in a safe environment. This grant will benefit 250 students in grades 6-8.
*Blake Teichmeier and Paul Walkowiak, Walnut Middle School, $1,406, “GoPro or Go Home!” Walnut TV has been a huge success! We have a number of students working on capture video and editing and creating content to share with the world. We want to help these students to capture video in creative ways that even exceed the local news station. With this grant we will purchase 2 GoPro cameras that will give us the ability to do just about any creative option, even mounting one on a sports player to get a first person view of the game! This grant will benefit 12 students in grades 6-8.
*Mindy Weaver, Westridge Middle School, $109, “Break Out of the Boring: Using Breakout Boxes to Strengthen Problem Solving Skills." This project would provide a Breakout Box for use in the 21st Century Literacy classroom. These boxes provide unique, engaging challenges that require groups of students to work together to complete tasks and solve complex problems. To be successful, students must communicate, collaborate, and think critically and creatively. Students must think outside of the box to find out what is inside the box. This grant will benefit 220 students in grades 6-8.
*Jason Zelasney, Shane Campbell, John Faxon and Matt LaCompte, Jefferson Elementary, $2,000, “Jefferson All-Star Gentlemen." The Jefferson All-Star Gentlemen is a program focused on teaching young boys how to be our next generation of gentlemen. This program will teach our boys skills that will build their self-esteem and help them feel confident in every setting. They will learn leadership skills, etiquette, how to dress to impress and tie a tie, how to give a proper handshake and demonstrate respect to others. This grant benefited 50 boys in K-5.
Legacy Grants Awarded
Also funded as part of the classroom grant process were five Lucy Baasch Memorial Fund Grants, one Bill and Bea Southard Endowed Fund grant, one Larry D. and Judy A. Maupin Orchestra Endowed Fund grant, one Wells Fargo grant and one Clark W. Reese Memorial Fund grant.
Lucy Baasch Memorial Fund grant winners, grant amounts and project titles were:
*Christy Cox and TiLynn Scott, Dodge Elementary, $2,000, “Stand and Deliver to Excel Learning." This project will help create a movement rich environment in the special education classrooms through the use of stand-up desks. Stand-up desks allow students to stand or sit, which helps promote good posture and burn calories. A swinging footrest (fidget bar) on the desk lets students naturally fidget while standing or sitting, encouraging small movements that may be beneficial to a student's activity level. This grant will benefit 50 students, grades K-5.
*Sarah Haahr, Marisalynn Koepke, and Katie Shaffer, Jefferson Elementary, $600, “STEPS: Skills to Encourage Positive Socialization." This grant will fund the necessary materials and supplies to implement a direct instruction social skills group for K-1 students who struggle with social skills, language acquisition and emotional regulation at Jefferson Elementary. This grant will benefit 20 students, grades K-5.
*Emily McPherson and Traci Brittain, Barr Middle School, $1,410. “Classroom Sensory Tools." This grant was awarded to provide seating and standing options that will address various sensory needs for students with significant disabilities. This will provide sensory input so that students can self-regulate and maintain a calm composure in order to learn. This grant will benefit 8 students in grades 6-8.
*Karmyn Barnes, Newell Elementary, $490, “Game On!” Game On! will allow students with significant language and/or social communication disabilities the opportunity to learn childhood card games so that they can interact with their peers during indoor recess therefore creating a climate of respect and dignity at Newell Elementary School. The games will also be provided to parents so they can interact as a family using fun, non-technological games. This grant will benefit 200 students in grades K-5.
*Stephanie Yockey and Cassie Blasé, Lincoln Elementary, $860, “Standing Desks." This grant will fill the request for four standing desks. Standing desks promote movement, increases engagement, and increase blood circulation. Standing Desks in classrooms are an effective way of reducing sedentary behavior. This grant will benefit 4 students in grades K-5.
Wells Fargo grant winner, grant amount and project title were:
*Katie Ramsey, Kneale Administration Building, $1,545 awarded through the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation and $1,500 awarded through the Wells Fargo grant, “See the Day Become Night” – Safely Experiencing a Natural Phenomenon." On Monday, August 21, 2017, Grand Island Nebraska will experience a full solar eclipse. The electromagnetic radiation from the sun can damage the eyes. This grant will cover the expense of solar eclipse viewing glasses for all students and staff for the safe viewing of this natural phenomenon. This grant will benefit 10,500 GIPS students in grades PreK-12 and staff.
Bill and Bea Southard Endowed Fund grant winner, grant amount and project title:
*Liz Boyle, Walnut Middle School $2,000. “Flowers for Algernon." This grant allowed us to take 280 Walnut eighth graders to view the Grand Island Little Theatre's performance of FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON. As part of our new curriculum, students read the short story, 'Flowers for Algernon,' and it is a part of our standards to compare/contrast print media to a live or filmed performance. The majority of our students have never seen a live theatre performance. This grant will benefit 280 students in grades 6-8.
Larry D. and Judy A. Maupin Orchestra Endowed Fund grant winner, grant amount and title:
*Kelly Coslet, Grand Island Senior High, $1,500 from Grand Island Public Schools Foundation and $3,500 from the Larry A. and Judy A. Maupin Orchestra Endowed Fund, “All Aboard! with the Omaha Symphony and GISH Orchestra." The Omaha Symphony is dedicated to creating and providing outstanding live concert experiences for communities across the entire state. Through the 'All Aboard' touring and residency program, the Omaha Symphony works in partnership with communities to design experiences that inspire, engage and enrich by making music with the community. More than just a concert, 'All Aboard' is a side-by-side residency program that puts Omaha Symphony musicians in schools and community centers, preparing students and community members to perform with the Omaha Symphony. 'All Aboard' residencies feature a musician team that works with participants over several months, and a public performance with either the symphony's 70-member full orchestra or 41-member chamber orchestra. This grant will benefit 100 students in grades 9-12.
Clark W. Reese Memorial Fund grant winner, grant amount and title were:
*Emily Kaufman, Westridge School, $800, “A Christmas Carol." This grant will fund the transportation of 7th grade students from Westridge School to Grand Island Senior High for a daytime performance of A Christmas Carol. The performance will support the ELA 7th Grade curriculum. Students are required to compare and contrast the written and visual form and this experience will help them to do so.