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Education Foundation awards record high amount of Innovation in Education grants

Megan Boschee’s students at Eugene Field A+ Elementary never seemed to have enough time to post their artwork online. Time would run out before they could finish.

Daily instruction in the arts is fundamental to the teaching philosophy at the specialized school in Sioux Falls. The A+ in the school’s name is short for arts plus academics.

Boschee, an art teacher, sought help from the Education Foundation by applying for an Innovation in Education Grant and, to her delight, she was awarded $2,100 buy additional iPads for students to use. Students take photographs of their work and post it on electronic portfolios.

“It’s very helpful,” Boschee said after being award the grant. “My students will be excited.”
Boschee was among 18 grant recipients of Innovation in Education Grants for the 2015-2016 school year. The awards totaled a record high of $47,815.

This was the first year that the Education Foundation awarded any grants exceeding $1,500, the former grant maximum. To encourage greater creativity in proposed projects, the organization raised the limit for a single grant to $10,000, according to Stephanie Gongopoulos, chair of the Education
Foundation Board. There were no $10,000 winners this year, however. The biggest grant was for $5,950.

A committee sifted through grant requests that totaled $132,306 to select winners. Nancy Duncan of the Education Foundation Board served on the selection committee along with four community members: Matt Johnson from Augustana University, Eric Pauli from Xcel Energy, Micki Lundin from Avera Health and Doug Erickson, a retired teacher.

“There were really some exciting grants where teachers were thinking out of the box and looking for new and innovative ways to challenge students and enhance instruction,” Duncan says. “There’s really a wide range in the types of grants we supported.”

Faculty members at Roosevelt High School won the most grants: four. Grants were awarded in the areas of mathematics, science, and academic proficiency and personal development.
Other grant recipients included faculty members at Anne Sullivan Elementary, Cleveland Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Harvey Dunn Elementary, John F. Kennedy Elementary, John Harris Elementary, Laura B. Anderson Elementary, Laura Wilder Elementary, Pettigrew Elementary, Hawthorne Elementary, Robert Frost Elementary, Rosa Parks Elementary and the Sioux Falls Career and Technical Education Academy.

Boschee’s application was titled, “Electronic Portfolios: The 21st Century Artist.” She created an online gallery for Eugene Field several years ago at the website www.artsonia.com. The website allows students to store and display artwork. Parents, relatives and friends can view the art. But only the student’s first name is visible.

To read all of the articles in the latest edition of the Foundation Newsletter, click to download your copy. February 2016 SFPSEF Newsletter