FEPS Provides Over $22,000 in Grants to District Teachers and Staff

The Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools has announced the award of over $22,000 in teacher and staff grants for Fall 2021 to be implemented during the 2021/22 school year.  These grants provide teachers and staff throughout the Eden Prairie School District the opportunity to supplement their classroom curriculum and/or implement innovative programs, projects, and supplies that ordinarily would not be funded.  Following are the teachers and staff that were awarded grants from FEPS:


Austin Keith, CMS Teacher – $7,000 – Knutson Construction STEM Grant Recipient

Austin Keith, a teacher in the Engineering/Tech Ed Department at Central Middle School, requested a grant to fund an Engineering Technical Drawing Printer which will allow students to print realistic renderings of their work and display it throughout the school.  In giving students hands-on opportunities to learn about a career in Engineering, Mr. Keith will implement the equipment in his classroom for students to experience creating large format precise drawings, graphic posters, blueprints, technical documents, renderings, and graphics.  This state-of-the-art engineering printing equipment was supported, in part, through the generosity of a STEM Grant donated by Knutson Construction.  Knutson Construction has been instrumental in the renovations taking place at Central Middle School.


Wade Aitken-Palmer, CMS Teacher – $4,694 – Danfoss (formerly Eaton) STEM Grant Recipient

Wade Aitken-Palmer, a 6th Grade Engineering teacher at Central Middle School, requested a Laser Printer Engineering Makerspace which includes the FSL Muse Core Desktop CO2 Laser Cutter, Fume Extractor, and HEPA Filter.  Currently, five Engineering Teachers are sharing one laser printer, and with the addition of 6thgraders at CMS and scheduling conflicts, these students were not previously able to access that equipment.  The addition of this state-of-the-art equipment will enable the students to connect the engineering curriculum to having hands-on experience.  This equipment was supported through the generosity of a STEM Grant donated by Danfoss (formerly Eaton), a company which has been a long-standing Corporate Mission Sponsor of FEPS.


Patrick Doty, CMS Teacher – $3,500

Patrick Doty is an Engineering/Technology Education Teacher at Central Middle School.  Mr. Doty’s grant will fund a 3d Printer that will provide students the ability to use industry quality production rapid prototyping to solve complex engineering design problems.  This equipment will provide all students within the technology education area an opportunity to gain exposure to a potential career pathway in the Engineering and Technology field.


Elizabeth McKeever, Oak Point Elementary – $2,500

Elizabeth McKeever, a 5th Grade Teacher at Oak Point Elementary, was awarded a FEPS Grant to implement a 5th Grade Diverse Classroom Library.  Believing that “diversity in literature fosters a deeper growth in students, allowing them to learn about other cultures, viewpoints and perspectives, while also celebrating and embracing the difference of everyone in the classroom” Elizabeth plans to transform her classroom library to be more representative of the diverse student population.  Ms. McKeever will purchase books that have been recommended by the website Social Justice Books, which reviews and identifies the best multicultural and social justice-minded children’s books.


Deja Alexander, Central Middle School Staff – $2,500

Deja Alexander is a Cultural Liaison at Central Middle School and a staff advisor to the Celebration of Black Excellence Club (COBE).  COBE was established to advocate for and create opportunities for students of color to voice their interests on campus, and provide a safe place to learn and discuss topics pertaining to cultural issues, historical events, and social and emotional learning.  CORE will strive to help student participants make significant contributions at CMS, and the community-at-large, in the form of service projects and helping other students of color progress toward more fulfilling experiences as inspirational leaders in their daily lives.  Deja plans to use the grant funding to provide experiences such as field trips and art projects that can help participants apply their knowledge and skills and become experienced critical thinkers, communicators, collaborators, and creative problem solvers.


Gwendolyn Marrin and Lauren Kappers-Sjogren, Oak Point Elementary – $890

Ms. Marrin and Ms. Kappers-Sjogren are Special Education Teachers at Oak Point Elementary who received a FEPS Grant to implement “Core Word in a Bag”, which is a resource that will assist students with complex communication needs to improve their communication skills and develop early literacy skills as outlined in an IEP.  Since many parents are not sure how to use the assistive communication technology or how to incorporate it into their home routines, Core Word in a Bag is meant to bridge the gap between school and home by providing families with “core” vocabulary words, books, corresponding activity/toy, and a printed communication board to work on with their child at home in order to supplement what they are learning in school.


Jenny Hanson, Central Middle School – $500

Jenny Hanson, a Counselor to 6th-8th Graders at Central Middle School requested help from a FEPS Grant to purchase a “Little Free Library” unfinished kit for the students to assemble.  The CMS Little Free Library Startup will be offered to all students as a “Discovery” FLEX offering once a week for the students.  Skills that participating students will learn include construction, engineering, artistry, market research, teamwork, and will provide insights into entrepreneurship.


Matt LeBrun, Central Middle School – $500

Matt LeBrun is a 7th Grade Technology Teacher at Central Middle School and received a FEPS Grant to implement Game-based Learning in GreEngineering through the purchase of Minecraft Education (a version of a popular videogame amongst middle schoolers) licenses.  Game-based learning is a learning theory that involves designing learning activities around games to achieve a designed set of learning outcomes.  The games will be used in the GreEngineering Classes to allow students to take tours of places they may not have an opportunity to visit in real life such as wind farms, water treatment facilities, and construction sites.  Students will also be able to design and build within the game and submit work they create to learning management systems such as Schoology.


Congratulations to all our Teacher/Staff Grant recipients!  FEPS is proud to provide our teachers and staff with the opportunity to supplement their classroom curriculum and implement innovative programs, projects, and supplies that ordinarily would not be funded.  Many thanks to Knutson Construction, Danfoss (formerly Eaton), and 3M who have funded several past and current STEM Grants for FEPS to address these needs in our district!