We believe in kids, and we believe in opportunity. It is our goal to bring the two together, and we do that through our three main programs: First Time Teacher Grants, Public School Proud Grants, and the Student Success Fund.
of every dollar supports our programs
First Time Teacher Grants awarded
Public School Proud Grants awarded
First Time Teacher Grants
Giving New Educators the Help They Need
The Education Foundation provides every first-time first-year teacher with a $200 grant to purchase materials for their classroom. Educators often purchase these items out of their own pocket. These initial costs are often necessary for the classroom environment, but yet they are not typically covered by school budgets. Teachers have used the funds to purchase bulletin boards, posters, art supplies, organization kits, classroom sets of books, games and puzzles, flashcards, flexible seating options, and extra school supplies.
During the fall of 2021, the Sioux Falls School District hired a record number of “zero experience” teachers: 81 educators received First Time Teacher Grants from the Education Foundation. The total grant award was $16,200.
Developing a welcoming environment in a classroom takes time and money. Through the gift from the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation, teachers new to the profession are able to purchase classroom supplies to create educational experiences for their students.
Public School Proud Grants
Funding and Fueling Creativity in the Classroom
Any educator in the Sioux Falls School District can apply for up to $10,000 each year to purchase creative or inventive materials that will give students hands-on experiences. Educators have used funds for drones, weather stations, musical instruments, social emotional learning tools, garden grow labs, 3D printers, books for English language learners, light tables, cardio drumming equipment, yoga mats, robotics kits, augmented and virtual reality software, a printing press, health science simulation mannequins, photography equipment, and much more. These curriculum supports are often used year after year. As a result, the number of students served through the program multiplies.
District administrators review grants to ensure they align with curriculum standards, are compatible with current technology, and meet specific engagement, enhancement, and innovation expectations. After the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation Board of Directors approves the individual grant requests, we surprise the winners at school. We invite donors to join us, and we show up in their classroom or during a staff meeting, and we present the teacher(s) with a certificate and candy bouquet. In 2021, the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation awarded 44 Public School Proud Grants to 67 educators, totaling $108,000.
We know the path to future technical employees depends on putting technical, education tools in students’ hands early in their education. Through the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation, SDN Communications has supported robots, weather balloons, and so many more engaging STEM projects in classrooms. Those are beyond the reach of a public school budget, so we help. We believe that will trigger life-long, technical learners, and hopefully some of them end up working for us some day.
Student Success Fund
Meeting Basic Needs: Food, Clothing & Safety
In the fall of 2018, the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation created the Student Success Fund, thanks to a generous investment from the Huether Family Foundation. Eleven social workers, employed by the Sioux Falls School District, work closely with at-risk students. These staff members have used funds to purchase clothing for families fleeing domestic violence, emergency food assistance for parents who lack transportation to access other community resources, and personal hygiene products like soap, bed bug cream, and lice shampoo. We have used this fund to install washer and dryer sets at three elementary schools. In addition, we use the Student Success Fund to provide scholarships for students who want to take the GED but cannot afford the $150 exam fee. We also provide city bus passes to high schoolers who lack reliable transportation. The Student Success Fund provides stability. More than 10,000 students in the Sioux Falls School District qualify for free or reduced meals every day, and this fund helps address gaps in service by providing basic needs to families living in crisis.
School-based social workers have used funds to purchase:
Clothing for Families Fleeing Domestic Violence
Emergency Food Assistance
City Bus Passes
Endowment at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation
The Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation has an endowment established with the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. Donations to the endowment are placed in a long-term investment pool. Each year, a portion of the fund’s earnings can be used to support our programs with the greatest need.
The rest of the earnings are reinvested, thus the endowed funds are never depleted. If you’d like to make a financial gift to support the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation Endowment, please call the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation at 605.336.7055.