John Harris Student Surprises Former Teachers to Announce Grant Awards

Letisha Saylor, Conor Grevlos, Kerstin Schempp, and Anne Powers (Saylor, Schempp, and Powers all taught Grevlos at John Harris Elementary)

The Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation awarded two Public School Proud Grants at John Harris Elementary. Conor Grevlos, a former student, attended the presentation and was able to award one of the grants to his former kindergarten teacher, Kerstin Schempp. She received $1,974 for her proposal, “Letters and Numbers Alive!” She will use funds to purchase the one letters alive and one math alive kit for her kindergarten students. In the application, she wrote, “Rather than immersing users in a virtual environment, augmented reality (AI) lets you blend the virtual elements into reality by projecting virtual elements over physical surfaces. It incorporates multiple learning modalities and a cross-curricular approach to reinforce letters, letter sounds, word building, and sentence building for ELA concepts as well as 86 essential math concepts.  It gives immediate feedback and positive verbal affirmations. Augmented reality helps students to retain complex information in visual form.”  

Using the materials provided in the kits, students will practice the following: letter recognition, letter sounds, handwriting, phonics skills, phonemic awareness, word building, punctuation, listening and speaking skills, reading and comprehension, basic colors, word-picture association, animal and habitat facts, social-emotional skills, number recognition, subtraction, word problems, counting, comparison, place value, number writing, base ten, 2D shapes, measurement, prediction, addition, and orientation and direction.

Kerstin Schempp and Conor Grevlos

Stef Hage, librarian, received $3,516.66 for her grant, “21st Century Library Learners.” In the application, she wrote, “We are requesting STEM resources for students to explore and create with as well as audio recorded books which allow students to diversify their library experience. The learning tools being requested lend themselves to hands-on interactive experiences that immerse children in library standards, build background knowledge, and further develop 21st century skills. Snap circuits, spheros, and building straws will be utilized for individual and partner work. These tools give children opportunities to build, create, and explore in a more collaborative environment. Audiobooks accompanied with the matching text, provide a multisensory reading experience, which appeals to a variety of learners. Playaway Audiobooks engage students in books and increase their exposure to more words, ultimately improving vocabulary, comprehension and critical thinking skills. Research has indicated that exposure to STEM standards and resources increases perseverance when tackling challenging problems, motivates students to attend school, and enhances reading, math application, and problem solving skills.” More than 650 students will benefit from this grant.

Stef Hage and Conor Grevlos
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