Grants help first-year teachers supply classrooms

Brandy Pesicka was among 62 first-year teachers who received $100 Beyond Books grants to help buy classroom materials.

In addition to being an enthusiastic, first-year teacher, Brandy Pesicka is a bargain hunter. She knows how to get value out of a dollar.
So, the fifth-grade teacher at Hayward Elementary made good use of a $100 Beyond Books grant she received this school year from the Education Foundation to help her buy classroom materials.
First-time teachers often spend hundreds of dollars of their own money to buy supplemental classroom supplies and educational materials. The Education Foundation provides new teachers Beyond Books grants to help them offset some of their startup costs.
Mrs. Pesicka, as she is known in her classroom, used her grant to buy mail boxes for her students, binder pockets for students’ lockers and book bins.
Best of all, she used part of the grant to buy worksheets and activity suggestions from online educational resources, such as Teachers Pay Teachers. The website enables teachers to upload educational materials created by other teachers. Some of the content is free, but some costs money, Pesicka said.
“It’s kind of a way to give back to other teachers,” she said.
She greatly appreciates the expression of support from the Education Foundation that helps her begin her teaching career, even though supplying her classroom costs far more than $100. “Coming in as a first-year teacher is really scary. Having people support you takes that stress away a little bit,” Pesicka said.
She strives to create a good learning atmosphere for her students. “We always want to go above and beyond for our kids,” she said.
The graduate of Lincoln High School is happy to be teaching in her hometown. She earned a degree in early childhood education at South Dakota State University and a teaching certificate from Northern State University. Her husband, Daniel, is an accountant for Daktronics Inc.
Pesicka is among 62 first-year teachers who received Beyond Books grants in 2016-2017 from the Education Foundation. The grants totaled $6,200. Beyond Books grants come in addition to the Innovation in Education grants awarded annually by the Education Foundation. Beyond Books awards, like Innovation in Education grants, help fund educational costs not covered by tax dollars.

To read all of the articles in the latest edition of the Foundation Newsletter, click to download your copy. May 2017 Newsletter