The Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools (FEPS) recently awarded $50,350 to 15 teachers and staff in the district as part of its fall 2023 grant cycle, which calls for the funds to be spent prior to June 30, 2024. The grants awarded included the following:
Laurie Busch, a fifth grade music teacher at Prairie View Elementary, received a $14,000 grant to purchase five Kawai CN301 digital pianos and five rolling carts, which would allow one for each of the elementary schools in the district. They would be used in all-school assemblies and also in a new pilot program with Eden Prairie retirement homes this year called Music Buddies where students perform virtually for the community.
Eden Prairie High School science teacher Jayson Sandeen received a $5,315 grant to purchase a Keyence VHX Series digital microscope and fluorescence adapter, which will enable users to observe very small particles and will be used to conduct research opportunities for students in the Science Research and Design Capstone.
Cedar Ridge Elementary special education teachers Kathy Otos and Kim Kelley received a $5,000 grant to develop and enhance a designated area at Cedar Ridge that will have durable sensory/motor items for students to self-regulate. The space will include a large motor area and a smaller quiet/sensory area to meet both large motor and quiet calming sensory needs.
Michael Nehring, an instructor at Eden Prairie High School who has been working to build the Engineering, Technology and Manufacturing Pathway, received a $4,935 grant to purchase a Vernier Physics Go Direct Standard Package including a motion detector, force and acceleration sensor, voltage probe, photogate, current probe, acceleration sensor, sound sensor, light and color sensor, and 3-axis magnetic field sensor. Students in the engineering class will use these sensors to collect data, such as impact force, acceleration, and voltage, in order to perform predictive analysis and will graph that data within the included software.
Kjersten Welter and Andrea Benzine, Eden Prairie High School science and health instructors, received a $4,500 grant to purchase lab supplies (stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, mini spirometers, reflex measurers, pulsoximeters, etc.) for a new course called Medical Terminology and Health Careers.
Eden Lake Elementary teachers Jana Janis and Maria Villavicencio received a $4,000 grant for Heritage Month Awareness Project. Their goal is to invite students to understand and appreciate other cultures and histories through bulletin board displays, Google slide presentations, featured library book collections and student involvement in various school-wide events celebrating all Heritage Months including Hispanic/Latinx Heritage, Native American Heritage, Arab American Heritage, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage, Black History, Women’s History, Disability Awareness, Bully Prevention Awareness, Pride LGBTQ+ History, and World Hajib Day, etc.
Jessica Cozza and Cori Johnson, second and fifth grade teachers at Forest Hills Elementary, received a $3,500 grant to create an outdoor learning environment by transforming an outdoor space on the Forest Hills Elementary property. The grant will also fund items such as outdoor classroom furniture, educational resources (cameras, binoculars, gardening tools), audiovisual equipment, and storage units.
Shelly Kasid, an interventionist at Forest Hills Elementary, received a $2,000 grant for bilingual textbooks.
Oak Point Elementary staff Samantha Kevitt and Jessica Puchner received a $1,500 grant to enhance classroom break spaces or “Just Be” spaces in each classroom, which are spaces filled with tools and resources for students to practice mindfulness strategies to meet their socio-emotional needs (i.e. breathing ball, card decks, weighted stuffed animals, sand timers, chimes, etc.).
Peter Swanson, eighth grade business teacher at Central Middle School, received a $1,330 grant to purchase two classroom sets (30 games) of Ice Cream Empire board games, including rolling totes for storage.
Ray Trejo, sixth grade science teacher at Central Middle School, received a $1,200 grant for the purchase of four digital high definition microscopes (50x to 200x magnifying power) and microscope slides for sixth grade students at CMS (including special education and English Language Learners) to experience in the earth science and geology classroom. The high-powered microscopes will allow the whole class to view minerals, soil, sand, rock and fossil images projected on a screen.
Jillian Lorang, Little Eagles Preschool lead teacher, received a $1,030 grant to implement cooperative games for Little Eagles Preschool students at each of the six district preschool sites. Cooperative games do not have one winner but, rather, require a group of students to work together towards a common goal. Examples of some of the games to be purchased are Hoot Owl Hoot!, Mermaid Island, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, and Race to the Treasure.
Caleb Willis and Allison Poss, Central Middle School support staff, received a $750 grant to implement non-contact boxing as a tool to support students that need a physical outlet for their anxiety, frustration, or depression during the school day. The grant will fund purchase of heavy boxing bags, boxing speed bags, heavy bag stands, boxing gloves and hand wraps.
Central Middle School staff Ginny Enfield, an instructional coach, and Mia Rhodes, an instructional excellence coordinator, received a $700 grant to purchase and implement in the classroom 10 class sets of Wipebooks reusable whiteboard notebooks, erasers, and Expo markers, to be readily checked out by teachers.
Briley Roser, a third grade teacher at Prairie View Elementary, received a $590 grant for a kidney-shaped whiteboard table.
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