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Teachers from Roosevelt High School earn four grants for innovative teaching projects

By the start of the 2016-2017 school year, Jessica Pomerenke hopes to have 16 new Boogie Boards fully connected for use in her classroom at Roosevelt High School.

Boogie Boards are notebook-sized, interactive white boards that can wirelessly transfer images to other devices. The boards enable students to see each other’s math work and discuss it.

“It’s just a really cool way for students to hold their peers accountable and edit their work,” says Pomerenke, who teaches accelerated geometry and algebra 1.

She was awarded a $2,500 Innovation in Education grant this year from the Education Foundation. She used the grant to buy 16 Boogie Boards and cases.

A Bluetooth adapter also was acquired to enable students to transfer and save their work to Pomerenke’s desktop computer.

“This use of technology is a new way for students to explore multiple pathways of learning,” she says.

Pomerenke was among 18 recipients of Innovation in Education Grants for the 2015-2016 school year. The awards totaled a record high of $47,815.

Roosevelt won the most grants of any school – four. In addition to Pomerenke, the four grant winners from Roosevelt and the title of their projects were:

Pomerenke appreciates the opportunity that her Innovation in Education grant will provide her students. Students get tired of listening to her talk while she’s standing in the front of the room, she says. Now she will be able to assign small groups of students work together to solve math problems, and then share their work with everyone for classroom discussion.

“My hope is by next fall to have set up quite a bit of it and be using it in my classroom,” she says.

The Education Foundation has been awarding such grants since 2005. A committee comprised of Education Foundation Board member Nancy Duncan and four community members reviewed grant requests totaling $132,306 to pick this year’s winners.

“We were only able to fund 36 percent of the Innovation in Education grants requested by teachers. Therefore, we are always looking for individuals and businesses that are passionate about education and willing to help support our cause,” says Stephanie Gongopoulos, who chairs the Education Foundation Board.

The Education Foundation has corporate and individual donors. Business donors include: The First National Bank in Sioux Falls; First PREMIER Bank; SDN Communications; Architecture Incorporated; Associated Consulting Engineers Inc.; Avera Health; Dacotah Bank; Dakota Sports; Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith LLP; Hy-Vee; KELOLAND-TV (Young Broadcasting); Koch Hazard Architects; Sammons Financial; Sanford Health; Schoeneman Brothers; Shopko; Showplace Wood Products; Thornton Flooring; Wells Fargo Bank NA; Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith PC; and Xcel Energy.

Other grant winners for 2015-2016
In addition to the four grant winners from Roosevelt High School, other grant winners for the 2015-2016 school year and their school were:
Peggy Baney (Anne Sullivan Elementary); Jolene Gordon and Chris Haak (Cleveland Elementary); Megan Boschee (Eugene Field A+ Elementary); Paula Parrish (Garfield Elementary); Nicole Gardner-Fink (Harvey Dunn Elementary); Julie Larsen (John F. Kennedy Elementary); Shannon Hohwieler (John Harris Elementary); Kimberly Horn (Laura B. Anderson Elementary); Heather Hinners, Erica Kogel and Cindy Brakke (Pettigrew, Hawthorne and Harvey Dunn elementary); Nancy Boyle, John Haak and Kerri Cox (Robert Frost Elementary); Leonardo Bohorques (Rosa Parks Elementary); Brad Newitt and Christine Carlson (Career & Technical Education Academy); and Brianna Venekamp (Whittier Middle School).

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