MacKenzie Jensen, Mallory Spoelstra, and Kirsten Bielen received a $2,669.38 Public School Proud Grant for their proposal, “Regulation Station.” They will purchase sensory mats, knot balls, a trampoline, weighted hand balls, a sensory path, a yoga deck, puzzle beam set, resistance bands and more materials. In the application, they wrote, “The goal of the regulation station is to provide opportunities for school staff to teach students to use balance, movement, stretching, and breathing exercises to self-regulate. Stations in three locations within the school will have age-appropriate self-regulation activities that staff can walk students through one-on-one; these students might need a break from the classroom to refocus and calm their emotions.”
The Education Foundation has funded numerous grants, similar to this, to help students find appropriate ways to handle their emotions. We have provided sensory paths in five schools, purchased calming kits for each classroom at John F. Kennedy Elementary, and funded the “In the Zones” curriculum that is used at all 23 elementary schools. We have also awarded grants for kinetic sand, balance boards, singing bowls, weighted blankets, and fidgets.
The grant at Robert Frost Elementary was funded through a generous donation from Beth Boyens. Beth’s mother, Karen Saxvik, taught first grade at Robert Frost for many years, and she was instrumental in helping to develop the Sioux Falls School District’s Reading Recovery Program. There is an endowment in Karen’s honor. Each year, Beth donates the earnings from the endowment to the Education Foundation, and the gift enhances our grant program for teachers.