Grand Island Public Schools
123 South Webb Road
Grand Island, NE 68802
Your Legacy.
Their Opportunity.

Enhancing opportunities by seeking and securing resources for projects, scholarships and programs.

Access digital copies of our district flyers.

Improving school-to-home communication by distribute school flyers directly to families digitally.

GIPS Foundation awards more than $18,000 in classroom mini-grants

Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Board members surprised teachers and students in the Grand Island Public Schools when they arrived at schools Tuesday and Wednesday to award 20 classroom mini-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 fifteenth annual mini-grant cycle for the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. Since the program’s inception, the Foundation has funded 265 mini-grants totaling $229,142. Grants have been awarded to every school in the district benefiting approximately 49,533 students.The 2018-2019 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 year.

For the 2018-2019 school year, 20 grants totaling $18,446 were awarded through the mini-grant process. Grants range from $180 to $2,000. About 4,688 students will benefit from a classroom mini-grant this school year.

Day One grant winners, grant amounts, and project titles were:

*Chandra Kosmicki, West Lawn Elementary, $880, “Creative Cardboard Creations.” This project will allow students to get creative with cardboard. The cardboard creation tools in this grant will help students build with recyclables, particularly old cardboard boxes, in the makerspaces at both West Lawn and Jefferson. Rather than use tape, staples, and scissors when constructing with cardboard, students can use and reuse these cardboard construction tools and accessories to bring their plans to life. This grant will benefit 550 students in grades K-5.

*Valerie Chmelka, Dodge Elementary, $1,200, “FunSpace MakerSpace.” Makerspaces have shown to increase students’ STEM and 21st century skills. These items will help build Dodge’s makerspace area, which will benefit students’ academic and social skills. This grant will benefit 477 students in grades K-5.

*Angie Roby, Knickrehm Elementary, $800, “3Doodler - #WhatWillYouCreate.” 3Doodler pens are kid safe 3D printers through the form of a pen. These pens will allow students to create and problem solve across the curriculum to bring all curricular areas to life. There are endless purposes and uses for these pens. Training will be provided at staff meetings to brainstorm uses and give teachers experiences with them. This grant will benefit 500 students in grades K-5.

*Angie Jacobsen, Skills Academy, $499, “Foosball Table for Skills Academy Honors Room at Success Academy.” The Honors Room within the Skills Academy is designed to include a variety of highly reinforcing, engaging, and pleasurable activities that motivate the students to exhibit the desired, expected behaviors and create a behavioral contrast from the classroom. This room allows staff to work with students to increase student motivation and reinforce appropriate social-emotional skills. The air hockey table that was donated is not functioning properly and students have requested a foosball table to replace it. This grant will benefit 16 students in grades 9-12.

*Teresa Goettsche and Dawn Deuel-Rutt, Success Academy, $850, “Weighted Blankets.” Weighted blankets are a powerful tool for helping students who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control. Teenagers can benefit from weighted blanket therapy, and they are considered a non-drug therapy for anxiety, stress, and relaxation. The weighted blankets will help students at Success Academy by helping them feel secure, grounded, safe, and allow them to relax during escalated times. This grant will benefit 60 students in grades 9-12.

*Justin Miller, Success Academy, $550, “Elementary Little Free Libraries.” Success Academy students will plan, build, and install Little Free Libraries at Wasmer and West Lawn Elementary schools. In an effort to foster collaboration within the district, students from Success Academy will build and install the Libraries while consulting with students from each building that will help design the exterior artwork and select books to be placed in the Library. This grant will benefit 700 students in grades K-5 at Wasmer Elementary and West Lawn Elementary, and grades 9-12 at Success Academy.

*Jessica Liberator, Jefferson Elementary, $1,245, “Creating and Collaborating with Ukuleles.” The ukulele unit’s primary purposes are to give students a chance to work with a financially and cognitively accessible instrument that motivates them to learn, involves collaborative learning, and helps them develop the creative autonomy necessary for composing music. Third grade students will be using these ukuleles for 10-12 weeks while making cultural and historical connections about the ukulele and popular music, learning music theory, and practicing the use of literary devices and musical form. While students are learning how to form chords and sing and play simultaneously, they will have sequential mini-lessons and guided practice on writing lyrics and working with chord progressions. Finally, they’ll work in small groups to create their own songs to be accompanied by their ukuleles and perform their group creations in the winter concert with the school’s show choir. This grant will benefit 600 students in grades K-5.

*Shelley Eickhoff, Newell Elementary, $800, “Escaping Ordinary Lessons with Breakout EDU Boxes.” Breakout EDU boxes bring the Escape room concept into the classroom. Students will be engaged in learning as they solve problems to figure out the codes needed to crack multiple locks. Students will use collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity as they work in groups to complete their mission. The grant will benefit 450 students, grades K-5.

*Kristin Schultz, Lincoln Elementary, $1,200, “Attending for Proficiency and Beyond!” In an effort to support Grand Island Public Schools’ goal of, “decreased percentage of students who are absent 15 or more days as reported by Nebraska Department of Education,” Lincoln Elementary would like to recognize students who have perfect attendance during each of three trimesters. Students with perfect attendance will have the opportunity to select a book of their choice up to $5 from Scholastic. This grant will benefit 340 students in grades K-5.

*LeighAnn Miller, Bianca Ayala and Jason Weseman, Howard Elementary, $2,000, “Howard Elementary Run Club.” Runners are given the opportunity to make a commitment to participate in four community races in the spring and summer, the races range from running two miles to running six miles. Each year the number of runners who make this commitment continues to grow. The first year we had forty students who made the commitment and this past year we had fifty and we continue to hear students at Howard (even primary students) who talk about joining run club so they can participate in races. Not only do the runners have their registration paid for by the Howard Run Club but they are also given a pair of running shoes from Dick’s Sporting Goods that the Howard Run Club also pays for. The funding from this grant will benefit 65 students in grades K-5.

Day Two grant winners, grant amounts, and project titles were:

*Heather Gearhart, Amber Sullivan, Tonia Schmall and Morgan Arduser, Starr Elementary, $500. “Let Their Voices be Heard!” This grant will provide the third grade team at Starr a Qball to use in each classroom. The Qballs will be used to project the voices of every student. It is a ball that has a microphone in it that can be tossed between students that are sharing. This grant will benefit 85 students in grades K-5.

*Alison Zitterkopf, Jennifer Manivong, Hannah Gloe and Keri Gruntorad, Starr Elementary, $500, “Let Every Voice be Heard.” 2nd Grade students will be engaged in classroom conversation through the use of a Qball. The Qball serves as a microphone that can be tossed around the classroom to help project student voices. In classroom instruction throughout the various content areas, students will be able to justify, argue, and communicate their reasoning to help students in the learning process. This grant will benefit 81 students in grades K-5.

*Tyler Lucas, Starr Elementary, $180, “Qball - Magically Increasing Engagement and Participation of All Students.” The QBall is a wireless microphone that also is a ball that students can toss around the classroom. The ball aspect of this device allows it to be an engaging tool that gives students a hands-on experience in classroom conversations, while also building community within the classroom. The microphone gives each student a voice in the classroom and allows all students to connect to what others are saying, both the outspoken and reserved students. This grant will benefit 25 students in grades K-5.

*Alicia Glaser, Starr Elementary, $800, “Creating a pBuzz for the Brass family!” In elementary music classrooms we have preparatory instruments that expose our students to the percussion, woodwind, and even the string instrument families, but we do not have an instrument that exposes them to playing an instrument from the Brass family. The pBuzz is a Brass family preparatory instrument that plays like a straight trombone. It is to introduce kids to brass family and how to play the mouthpiece and develop the necessary air production to play a Brass instrument. This grant will benefit 530 students in grades K-5.

*Nicki Nesvara and Sara Shurigar-Meyer, Starr Elementary, $507, “Financial Literacy for Elementary Students.” 4th and 5th grade students will be given the opportunity to learn about financial literacy topics such as budgeting, saving, comparison-shopping, and financial information safety tips in this six-week course. Research shows children are not up to par on financial topics, and after examining the National Standards for Financial Literacy within this age range, we have developed a course to give kids a step-up in this area and help their transition into middle-school Financial Literacy classes. This grant will benefit 25 students in grades K-5.

*Andrea Simpson, Walnut Middle School, $360, “Run At Walnut (Run Club) Supplies.” This grant will purchase yoga mats and yoga blocks for the stretching and mobility part of run club workouts. This will make the environment for students safer, and save on wear and tear of our carpet. These supplies would also be available to any student athlete or coach. This grant will benefit 25 students in grades 6-8.

*Peter Kok, Walnut Middle School, $1,000, “Kitchen Appliances and Kitchenware for students in the Community Based Instructional Program.” The students in the Community Based Instructional program complete a weekly functional cooking activity. The essential skills learned during this activity carry over in a variety of different educational settings and home life as well. The grant will be used to purchase new kitchen appliances and kitchenware so the students can complete the activity to their best ability. This grant will benefit 14 students in grades 6-8.

*Paul Walkowiak and Teague Sutherland, Walnut Middle School, $575, “Cycle Works.” Participants of Cycle Works will learn the principles of bicycle mechanics, parts and operation. Students will experience hands-on disassembly and reassembly of single and multi-speed bicycles and tune them to good working order. Refurbished bikes will be used in Walnut’s cycling club or donated. This grant will benefit 15 students in grades 6-8.

*Eon Lemburg, Dalton Wademan and Chuck DeWitt, Walnut Middle School, $2,000, “Jr. Islander Power - Wildcat Edition (JIP-WE).” ‘Jr. Islander Power - Wildcat Edition’ is looking to fulfill equipment shortfalls that have risen at Walnut Middle School. With this grant, we will purchase new equipment and supplies that will help teach kids the proper form and technique of lifting. Not only will new equipment help, ‘Jr. Islander Power - Wildcat Edition’ it will help build student confidence within themselves and with their peers. ‘Jr. Islander Power - Wildcat Edition’ also looks to help students’ transitions smoothly from the middle school level to the high school level in strength and conditioning. This grant will benefit 100 students in grades 6-8.

*Benjamin Marten, Walnut Middle School, $2,000, “Lightning in a Bottle.” The Electric Vehicle Club at Walnut Middle School is converting a 4-Wheeler from gas to electric. The only thing we have left is the battery pack. This grant will purchase the battery pack, then Dramco will help us weld a battery bracket to the 4-wheeler. Once this vehicle is completed, we will use it for scientific research/experiments, helping the custodians, and contributing to Walnut’s afterschool vehicle needs. This grant will benefit 30 students in grades 6-8.


Media Inquiries
Joshua Planos, Marketing & Communications
308-385-5900 ex. 201127