Education Foundation Awarding $108,000 in Public School Proud Grants

The Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation will award 44 Public School Proud Grants, totaling $108,000, to 67 educators during the 2020-2021 school year. Funds will be used to provide immersive, hands-on materials that enhance and enrich classroom activities. Allison Struck, the executive director for the Education Foundation, started surprising winners last week during Public School Proud: Grant Patrol.

Four teachers at Summit Oaks received $3,697.99. They will use the funds to purchase virtual reality headsets that will give students an opportunity to interact with the community and world through virtual experiences. Goals include increasing core content knowledge in science, social studies, humanities, and literature, higher student achievement and educational outcomes of at-risk students, and improved in-depth knowledge of course materials through 3D exploration and analysis.

Teachers from Anne Sullivan Elementary and Oscar Howe Elementary submitted a group group to purchase board games for English language learners. The teachers will purchase board games like Guess Who?, Yahtzee, Candyland, Sequence, Battleship, and Scrabble, and they will use them with K-5 English language learners. The students will be able to check out the games to take home and play with their families. Students from Anne Sullivan will have pen pals at Oscar Howe, and they will write to each other and play the games via Google Meet. In addition to language acquisition, this concept will teach social skills, critical thinking, following directions, teamwork, and creativity.

Two other educators at Oscar Howe also received grants. One kindergarten teacher will use funds to purchase twist and turn letter builders, magnetic tiles and blocks, rhyming sound puzzles, alphabet beads, and phonics games. Another educator will buy 71 picture books that include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color as the main characters. When students see themselves and their families mirrored in positive ways, it enriches their feelings of belonging and connection, and the goal is to have a more diverse, equitable, and representative classroom.

Three educators from Jane Addams Elementary received Public School Proud Grants. The first received $6,400. She will purchase 16 virtual reality headsets that will give students the opportunity to travel the world, explore artifacts, find shapes in structures, exercise through movement in a virtual world, broaden students’ reading skills by building vocabulary, and provide exposure to foreign languages. Another teacher will be buying gelli plates and brayers. With the gelli plates, students will be immersed in the creative process, and they will use a variety of stencils, brayers, texture plates and other objects to create their finished work of art. A third educator will use $4,650 to purchase “DrumFIT®,” the the cardio drumming program that combines the mental health benefits of drumming with the overall health benefits of physical fitness for a full body workout. The final grant at Jane Addams will help support their outdoor classroom. Students will use raised garden beds, weather tools, and bird feeders to collect data in real time and analyze their results.

Public School Proud: Grant Patrol will continue through mid-May, and students at 33 schools will benefit from the materials. Generous individual and corporate donors support the Public School Proud Grant Program, ensuring students and teachers have access to creative and innovative materials throughout the school year.

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