The Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation provides support to the Sioux Falls School District through two yearly programs.
Since 2008 the Education Foundation has sponsored Public School Proud Grants (formerly known as Innovation in Education Grants). We have awarded more than 350 grants to teachers, totaling $450,000! Those grants have benefited more than 30,000 students.
Any teacher in the SFSD can apply for up to $10,000 each year to purchase creative or inventive materials. Educators have used funds for drones, robotics kits, musical instruments, social emotional resources, flexible seating options, garden kits, light tables, and much more. These curriculum supports are often used year after year. As a result, the actual number of students served through the program multiplies.
The Education Foundation also sponsors Public School Proud: First Time Teacher Grants, which support first-time, first-year teachers.
First-time teachers often purchase classroom supplies and materials out of their own pocket. These “start up” costs are necessary for the teaching and learning environment, yet are not typically covered under school budgets.
In the fall of 2017, the Education Foundation was pleased to be able to double this grant through a generous donation from the Mary Chilton DAR Foundation. We provided $200 to each new teacher in the Sioux Falls School District. The District typically averages about 75 new teachers each year, but in the fall of 2019, there were 62 new teachers. The total grant award was $12,400.
Thanks to a generous donation, the Education Foundation has used $10,000 to help close the equity gap in our schools. Social workers, employed by the Sioux Falls School District, work closely with at-risk students. Social workers have used funds to purchase clothing for families fleeing domestic violence, emergency food assistance for parents who lack transportation to get to other community resources, and personal hygiene products. Funds have also been used for scholarships for students who want to take the GED, but they cannot afford the $130 exam fee.