FEPS Awards $31,000 in Grants to District Teachers and Staff

The Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools has announced the award of $31,000 in teacher and staff grants for their Fall 2022 cycle to be implemented during the 2022/23 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:

Paul Domingo, Eden Prairie High School Math Teacher – $7,524 – “iOS Mobile App Development Hardware”

Paul Domingo, a teacher in the Math Department at Eden Prairie High School, requested a grant to fund the purchase of iOS mobile app development hardware. This grant provided access to the hardware necessary for his app development course to create original and innovative mobile applications. Approximately 15 refurbished iPhones will be purchased for the students to share in order to work on their phone app projects for which they will track the number of published mobile applications and downloads they obtain.  In addition, since this project required iPhone 10 and above, this grant will support underrepresented populations to participate in these types of courses as it removes the requirement to provide their own hardware for the course.

Tim Fulford, Central Middle School Science Teacher – $5,000 – “6th Grade Science Virtual Reality Goggles”

Tim Fulford, a 6th Grade Teacher at Eden Prairie Central Middle School, received funding for 8 sets of VR Goggles for all 6th graders to be immersed in alternate realities of other planets, our moon, and weather-related experiences to enhance the new NGSS science curriculum. The purchase of these VR Goggles allows for students to travel to places in a 3-D world that immerses the shared experiences and will guide classroom discussions.  This will lead to a learning environment which increases student engagement as they explore their surroundings first-hand. The implementation of virtual reality in the classroom will allow students to develop a greater understanding of the topics they are studying – they can go to outer space without leaving the classroom.  Students will be asked to use the goggles and discuss or write about their experiences as support for the classwork.

Katelyn Johnson and Jillian Lorang, Early Childhood Education -$5,000 – “Our Town House for Early Childhood Discovery Center”

Katelyn Johnson and Jillian Lorang from Early Childhood Education received a grant to purchase an  “Our Town House” for the Early Childhood Discovery Center which will allow students the opportunity to learn through play-based learning.  Plans are underway to transition the Motor Room at the Lower Campus from a gym to a multipurpose exploration center serving students and families birth- age 5. Besides including a “Build Zone”, “Courtyard”, “Calm Zone” and “Tike Track”, this area will include an “Our Town” Dramatic Play area including major city attractions to support the development of social, emotional, cognitive, physical, literacy, mathematics, social studies, science, technology, and the arts. Since play is considered a universal language for young learners, the renovation of this space will allow children to be able to engage in play and build skills regardless of culture, primary language, stage of development, and exposure to school. The plan for the “Our Town” portion of the project is to include 3 “Our Town Houses” (gas station, fire station, and grocery store) modeled after the Children’s Museum of Minnesota’s “Our Town”, which would allow for all areas of development to be nurtured through imaginative play. This FEPS grant will fund one of these houses for the Early Childhood Education ‘Our Town’ Discovery Center.

Margot Cowing, Eden Prairie High School Business & Marketing Teacher – $3,000 – “Innovation Creation Station”

Margo Cowing, Eden Prairie High School Business and Marketing Teacher, received a grant for the Capstone course in Entrepreneurship and Advanced Marketing.  In this course, students will design products and/or promotional prototypes to be sold to the market or presented to clients in the community. This grant will allow for the purchase of Cricut equipment that will increase diversity in the type of products developed, marketed, and sold.  Through access to this equipment, students will not be limited to enrollment by ownership of their own items and/or previous experience with the products.  All students will learn how to use this equipment and will be able to design signage, business apparel for the team, or items to sell.  Capstone courses are built around students finding their voice and ownership of concepts learned, in this case, the new Cricut materials will allow for students to find their creativity and innovation while supporting authenticity and rigor through development of promotional materials expected in the professional setting.  In addition to the Entrepreneurship Capstone students, Advanced Marketing Capstone students will engage in marketing projects within the local community that might include event management, promotional campaigns and social media marketing.  The Cricut equipment could be used to develop event signage, and personalize event items (apparel, water bottles, stickers, hats, etc.) to promote the events.  With this type of experience, students will be able to explore their own future entrepreneurial ventures.

Rachel Landquist, Central Middle School – $2,652 – “Wind Energy Custom Kit”

Rachel Landquist, a 7th Grade Teacher at Central Middle School, was granted a Wind Energy Custom Kit. The GreEngineering course at CMS encourages each student to explore sustainable and innovative solutions to problems impacting diverse communities. The impact of this grant in the classroom would be to create opportunities for students to interact authentically with manipulatives in a way that traditionally has not been an option. The Vernier Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Wind Energy Custom Kit requested includes materials needed for students to create and test blade designs and energy generated from a wind turbine.

Nicola Huss, Forest Hills Elementary – $2,000 – “3rd Grade Classroom Diverse Library”

Nicola Huss, a 3rd Grade Teacher at Forest Hills Elementary, has received funding for a 3rd Grade Classroom Diverse Library.  The diverse library will allow children from marginalized populations to gain access to high-quality, diverse books.  Currently, the literature in the classrooms does not represent the background/heritage of all of the students who sit in front of our teachers everyday.  Access to these books in the classroom would allow for meaningful experiences whereby classroom libraries provide a mirror for every student — a world in which they can see characters and themes that reflect their identities and experiences, such as skin color, hair style, family and home life structures, spoken languages, and range of abilities. Books and literature is a way for students to have a window into the lives, customs, and beliefs of others.  These resources will enhance the ability to learn cross-culturally starting at a young age.

Shadiah Harvey, Central Middle School Health & PE Teacher – $1,794 – “First Aid and CPR Curriculum and Equipment Kit”

Shadiah Harvey, a PE and Health Teacher at Central Middle School, received a grant for a First Aid and CPR Curriculum and Equipment Kit which will allow for First Aid and CPR lessons to be added to the curriculum. This kit, which includes a wheeled classroom carry bag, 10 Mini Anne Plus inflatable manikins, a hand pump for manikin inflation, practice-while-watching training DVDs, AED training simulators, and a facilitator guide will provide students an opportunity to learn a life-saving skill that they can use to benefit our community.  It will also provide students the credentials necessary to become a lifeguard, volunteer at a daycare, and many other employment opportunities in the local community. While CPR and First Aid is currently taught, those standards aren’t satisfied because there are not materials required for certification to teach this unit.  By providing these materials, students may develop the skills necessary to help them practice health enhancing behaviors and CMS students will receive accurate and appropriate training with the proper materials needed to learn.

Rachel Eicher, Forest Hills Elementary – $1,594 – “Special Education Zones of Regulation Reset Space”

Rachel Eicher, a Special Education Teacher at Forest Hills Elementary, was granted funding for Zones of Regulation Reset Space. The purpose for Zones of Regulation Reset Space is to support students that are on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with emotional regulation so that they can focus on learning while at school.  The space would include many items like Sand & Water Tables, Legos, Magna-Tiles, and Kinetic Sand that engage the students in sensory and emotional calming activities.  Students can use this space at designated times throughout their day for a pre-determined amount of time and then return to their schedule, minimizing the disruptions in the general education classrooms.

Jenni Gilligan, Eden Lake Elementary – $1,500 – “Sensory Pathway Project”

Jenni Gilligan, a Kindergarten Teacher at  Eden Lake Elementary, received a grant to implement a Sensory Pathway System as a tool to support the academic and social/emotional success for students. The Sensory Pathways provides for an effective way in which to teach children how to regulate their bodies and brains. Specifically, the Sensory Pathways will positively impact students presenting learning needs that make it difficult for them to successfully participate alongside their peers in the daily activity, noise, and stimulation that encompass learning within the classroom.  By children navigating through a series of movements (such as those specifically built into a Sensory Path) they are better able to release their internalized tensions which allows a child’s body and brain to refocus.

Kristin Cayo, Forest Hills Elementary – $935 – “Legos Across the Disciplines”  

Kristin Cayo, a Gifted Education Specialist at Forest Hills Elementary, applied for and received a grant to purchase Lego Kits to introduce as part of a curriculum designed to foster a logical progression of problem solving for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade talent development groups.  Since Legos are a great, age-appropriate tool for 6-9 year olds to explore engineering and problem-solving, Kristin specifically plans to build a unit around Legos which requires students to solve a real world problem given a set of basic Legos.