Teachers & Staff

FEPS Awards $50,350 in Fall 2023 Teacher Classroom/Staff Grants! 15 District Teachers/Staff receive grant funding!

 

2023 Fall Grants

Spotlight on Strings in Eden Prairie Schools: Kawai Digital Pianos for Each Elementary School Music Program – $14,000 – ECMC Foundation Grant Recipient

Laurie Busch, a 5th Grade Music Teacher at Prairie View Elementary, received a grant to purchase five (5) Kawai CN301 Digital Pianos and five (5) rolling carts which would allow one for each of the elementary schools in the district. – Cedar Ridge, Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion, Forest Hills, Prairie View, and Oak Point.  The addition of these digital pianos will enhance performances of Band, Orchestra, and Chorus/Classroom Music students in the elementary schools.  They would be used in all-school assemblies and also in a new pilot program in Eden Prairie retirement homes this year called Music Buddies where students are motivated to prepare and perform virtually and reach beyond the classroom into our community.  Building musicianship and interpersonal skills at the elementary level can help students start to build a solid foundation that they can carry with them through their middle and high school years and beyond.

Fluorescence Adapter for Keyence VHX Series Digital Microscopes – $5,315 – 3M STEM Grant Recipient

Jayson Sandeen, Eden Prairie High School Science Teacher, received a grant to purchase a microscope and adapter for fluorescence microscopy which will be used to conduct research opportunities for students in the Science Research and Design Capstone.  This equipment is used for environmental science and ecology studies and enables the user to observe very small particles.

Sensory Motor Area at Cedar Ridge Elementary – $5,000

Special Education Teachers at Cedar Ridge Elementary, Kathy Otos and Kim Kelley, requested a grant to develop and enhance a designated area at Cedar Ridge that will have durable sensory/motor items for students to self-regulate, so they will be ready to learn.  The space will include a large motor area and a smaller quiet/sensory area to meet both large motor and quiet calming sensory needs.  This area will be especially helpful for students who have a hard time functioning successfully in the classroom and need a place to take a break and learn more about their sensory systems, improve awareness, and gain strategies to help them through their day and be more socially and academically successful in their classrooms.

Force Sensors for Collecting Data in Engineering – $4,935 – Class of 1973 Grant Recipient

Dr. Nehring, a Physics Instructor at the Eden Prairie High School, has been working to build the engineering pathway at the high school and requested a 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.  All of these sensors will be used in the engineering class to allow students to collect data, such as impact force, acceleration, and voltage in order to perform predictive analysis as they work to solve problems.  Later, that data can be graphed within the included software, so students can make informed decisions based on their data.  One of the things that distinguishes engineering from other forms of problem-solving is the use of predictive analysis to determine how the solution will perform.  By adding these digital sensors, students in Dr. Nehring’s class will be able to measure the acceleration of an object on a different axis, the velocity of an object, impact force of an object, etc. and apply that knowledge within the development of a solution.

Make Medical Terminology Authentic – $4,500

Kjersten Welter and Andrea Benzine, Eden Prairie High School 10-12 Science and Health Instructors, received a grant to purchase lab supplies for a new course called Medical Terminology and Health Careers.  The grant will allow for the purchase of lab supplies (stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, mini spirometers, reflex measurers, pulsoximeters, etc.) in order for students to perform mini-labs that require them to be familiar with the equipment, and use the terms and abbreviations they are learning in more authentic types of write-ups and scenarios as if they were in a real world health care setting.

The Heritage Month Awareness Project at Eden Lake Elementary – $4,000

Eden Lake Elementary Teachers, Jana Janis and Maria Villavicencio, identified a goal to foster a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural diversity at Eden Lake and wanted to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, staff, and families.  With the goal of 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. students will be invited 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.

Growing Minds Outdoors: Creating an Engaging Learning Environment – $3,500 – SCHEELS Education Grant Recipient

Jessica Cozza and Cori Johnson, 2nd Grade and 5th Grade Teachers at Forest Hills Elementary, identified the need for providing students at the elementary level with an inspiring and immersive outdoor learning space.  The “Growing Minds Outdoor” grant aims to create an enriching outdoor learning environment for students which includes providing hands-on exploration, environmental education, and active learning, all while cultivating a deeper connection to nature and fostering academic growth.  The outdoor learning space also promotes physical activity and a sense of well-being, potentially leading to increased focus and improved academic engagement.  Besides transforming an outdoor space on the Forest Hills Elementary property, this grant will fund a variety of items such as outdoor classroom furniture, educational resources (cameras, binoculars, gardening tools), audiovisual equipment, and storage units.

Bilingual Textbooks – $2,000

Shelly Kasid, an Interventionist at Forest Hills Elementary, wrote a grant to support bilingual literacy in the classroom and fostering a love for reading in both English and another language.  Students who identify as bilingual may not have the resources of text in their home language, so when books are paired with their home language, students can make connections, build background knowledge, and further their speaking, reading, and writing proficiency.  Through the introduction of books in a variety of languages into the classroom, young learners will be empowered to embrace diversity, expand their communication skills, improve language proficiency, and experience enhanced cognitive development, ultimately leading to increased academic success and a more inclusive learning environment.

Just Be Space Materials – $1,500

Oak Point Elementary Staff, Samantha Kevitt and Jessica Puchner, received a grant to enhance classroom break spaces or “Just Be” spaces in each classroom.  “Just Be” spaces provide universally designated spaces in each classroom 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.).  Having “Just Be” spaces and materials in every learning environment in which the student moves, whether it be in the classroom, art room, or grade level changes, is an important factor in promoting mindfulness which research has shown positively impacts academic and lifelong success.

Business Board Games – $1,330

Peter Swanson, 8th Grade Business Teacher at Central Middle School, received funding to purchase two classroom sets (30 games) of Ice Cream Empire board games including rolling totes for storage.  The games would rotate between 6th, 7th, and 8th grade business classes, and would be used as teaching tools to help the “world of business” come alive for students.

Digital Microscopy for Earth Science & Geology Classrooms at Central Middle School – $1,200 – Knutson Construction STEM Grant Recipient

Ray Trejo, Ph.D., 6th Grade Science Teacher at Central Middle School, received a grant for the purchase of  four (4) digital high definition microscopes (50x to 200x magnifying power) and microscope slides for 6th Grade students at CMS (including special education and ELL) to experience in the Earth Science and Geology classroom.  With these high-powered microscopes, the whole class will be able to view minerals, soil, sand, rock, and fossil images projected on a screen for the entire class to observe together.  The fact that all of the students will see the same detailed images at the same time will improve class instruction and discussions, and the images are so detailed through this microscope that students will even be able to see differences between sands from different sources such as river sand, beach sand, and ocean sand.

Cooperative Games for Preschoolers – $1,030

Jillian Lorang, Little Eagles Lead Teacher, received a grant to implement cooperative games for Little Eagles Preschool students at each of the six (6) district preschool sites.  Cooperative games for preschoolers help develop and build upon social emotional skills – these games do not have one winner but, rather, require a group of students to work together towards a common goal.  These cooperative games will assist teaching the district’s youngest learners how to share, take turns, compromise, recognize and respond to others feelings, resolve conflict, follow rules, and work together, amongst other academic skills that the games provide.  Examples of some of the games to be purchased are Hoot Owl Hoot!, Mermaid IslandSneaky Snacky Squirrel, and Race to the Treasure.   

CMS Zen Academy: Non-Contact Boxing Intervention – $750

Central Middle School Student Support Staff, Caleb Willis and Allison Poss, will use their 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.  After purchasing Heavy Boxing Bags, Boxing Speed Bags, Heavy Bag Stands, Boxing Gloves, and Hand Wraps, Dean Caleb Willis will meet with students to teach them how to use the bags and supervise their use, and in doing so it will be an opportunity for staff and students to positively connect and build relationships.  Research has shown that non-contact boxing in a school setting can help students who are struggling with fighting, skipping classes, or engaging in other negative behaviors to meet their need for physicality and provide a cathartic release of anger and stress and an increase in mood improvements, self-esteem, and concentration.

Classroom Sets of Wipebooks – $700

Ginny Enfield (Instructional Coach) and Mia Rhodes (Instructional Excellence Coordinator) at Central Middle School received a grant to purchase and implement in the classroom ten (10) class sets of Wipebooks, Erasers, and Expo Markers, to be readily checked out by teachers.  Wipebooks provide a way to utilize Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces in classroom teaching which research has shown increases student engagement, enhances collaboration, supports knowledge mobility throughout the classroom, and creates a low-risk environment in which ideas can be easily erased or rearranged, encouraging students to experiment and refine their work.  By fostering creativity, communication, and critical thinking, the implementation of Wipebooks for learning will have a lasting impact on students’ academics and preparing them for success far beyond the classroom.  From an equity in education perspective, Wipebooks will provide all students, including those from underrepresented populations, with an equal opportunity to engage in interactive and collaborative learning.

Small Group Whiteboard Table for Equitable and Accessible Learning – $590

Students in Briley Roser’s 3rd Grade Classroom at Prairie View Elementary will benefit from her grant request for a Kidney-shaped Whiteboard Table which will make facilitation of small group learning accessible and meaningful for all students.  The implementation of the Whiteboard Table will allow for small group support and enrichment opportunities whereby students can come together to collaborate with peers, receive additional support from the teacher, and the whiteboard surface will allow students to show and share their learning in innovative ways leading them to become peer teachers as they share their ideas with others.

 

 

 

The Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools is offering a 2024 Teacher Classroom/Staff Grant Opportunity. We encourage you to imagine new ways to impact and engage our Eden Prairie Schools’ students. We have money to help make your academic achievement dreams come true. Applications are closed. Please check back in October.

Proposal should match the following criteria:

  • Generated through collaborative discussions in a PLC, and approved by your Principal;
  • Has a high probability of significant impact on student achievement and engagement;
  • Aligns with the District Strategic Plan;
  • Proposes a novel concept or different teaching/learning material or practice for your site;
  • Is founded in best practice, student-focused, and curriculum-based; and
  • Includes a specific budget and explanation of how your funds will be spent prior to June 30, 2024.

We give high priority to projects that:

  • Are creative and new to the district;
  • Require one-time, start-up support rather than on-going funding;
  • Impact a significant number of students over time;
  • Have the potential to be duplicated through routine district funding, by other classrooms or sites;
  • Are primarily non-consumable (sturdy equipment, reusable materials, etc.)
  • Display an easily understood or clear plan to measure success.
  • Significantly impacts student achievement and engagement, especially in underrepresented populations.

We give low priority to projects that:

  • Impact a small number of students;
  • Have a high cost per student;
  • Request funds which could be provided by other sources within the district; or
  • Are not creative or new to the district or to your site.

We will not award grants for: 

  • Travel/transportation expenses of students or staff;
  • Teacher stipends, staff salaries, or costs of reserve teachers;
  • Prizes or incentives;
  • Child care costs;
  • Proposals that are not related to academic achievement; or
  • Purchase of technology or software that cannot be supported by the district.

The Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools has funded many successful projects for staff through the years.

Please help us continue our mission to support and enhance the legacy of excellence in Eden Prairie Public Schools. Examples of past grants can be found at www.FoundationforEPSchools.org

Questions can be directed to: llindner@foundationforepschools.org / ldayton@foundationforepschools.org 

Finished applications can be submitted to: lsisinni@foundationforepschools.org

Questions can be directed to: llindner@foundationforepschools.org  |  ldayton@foundationforepschools.org

Completed applications can be submitted to: lsisinni@foundationforepschools.org

 

 

2022 Fall Grants

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 – Recipient  of the SCHEELS Education Grant”

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.

2022 Grants

SPRING

“Make Virtual Reality Real in the Classroom” – $9,800
Emily Aust, from Oak Point Elementary, received a grant to expand students’ learning far beyond the walls of the classroom with the introduction of virtual reality experiences.  The grant will allow for the purchase of 16 sets of virtual reality goggles with a mobile cart and controllers, including the pre-designed curriculum connected to Minnesota standards, and training to implement the concepts in the classroom.  The virtual reality technology will help increase knowledge and raise engagement of the students as they practice skills across many content areas such as literacy, language arts, math, science, social studies, art, music, and social emotional learning.  The implementation of virtual reality in the classroom will allow students access to see and develop a greater understanding of other cultures and perspectives in the world — it can take them on a journey to discover new things and inspire their creativity.

STEAM in the Art Room – $1,500
Jennifer Totoritis, from Prairie View Elementary, received a grant to introduce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts in her art classroom through a clay project.  This grant will allow for the addition of a second clay art project for which the students will engineer the clay structures to be strong, sturdy, and 3-dimensional.  While creating these structures, students will gain hands-on experience exploring mathematical and engineering concepts while introducing their artistic flair to the sculpture.

Outdoor Courtyard Garden Learning Environment – $445
Jackie Drummer, from Prairie View Elementary, received a grant to create an outdoor learning environment for students in grades K-5.  This outdoor garden will show students how to grow and maintain sustainable gardening techniques that restore natural resources while teaching students that small steps can go a long way towards creating a healthier environment.  The courtyard garden at the school is a beautiful sight to passers-by, and the students will add plant signage to help identify plants or features (such as the parts of a plant, layers of habitat, species of flowers, and the water cycle).  Involvement in caring for the garden will introduce students to a variety of science concepts, and prompt discussions on life cycles, ecology, and recycling.  While gardening, students will also practice how to work side by side with each other in a collaborative effort, learn how to be good stewards of the environment, and develop gross and fine motor skills.

 

2021 Grants

FALL

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.

SPRING
The Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools has announced the award of $32,600 in teacher/staff classroom grants for Spring 2021. The following classroom programs were funded thanks to our generous donors and supporters and will benefit thousands of Eden Prairie students. 

Ready! For Kindergarten – $2,500
This grant provides training and high quality learning tools for families to develop school-ready skills with their children.  Through this program families learn how to support their child in reading, math, and social emotional development in order to be fully prepared for Kindergarten. 

STEM Exploration Summer Program – $5,000
This grant will provide materials for STEM-focused, experiential, and hands-on learning experiences for students participating in the Summer EPIC program through Targeted Services. With the support of these materials, students with the greatest academic need will be able to strengthen their math and science skills in a dynamic, creative, and unique manner different from the core school day.

Little Eagles Diverse Library – $5,000
Children’s literature plays an essential role in the literacy development of children. This grant will provide educators with a wide range of books across multiple genres that are representative of the diverse world we live in. These books have the potential to entertain, foster a love of reading, and inform while also affirming the multiple aspects of student’s identities and exposing them to the values, viewpoints, and historical legacies of others. 

Little Eagles Preschool Supplies – $5,000
Little Eagles Preschool uses Creative Curriculum materials as the curriculum for all 3 and 4 year old classrooms. The goal of this grant is to purchase Creative Curriculum materials for the unit studies so students can further engage in critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration while engaging in studies aligned activities in the classroom. Furthermore, with the expansion of Little Eagles Preschool into six buildings in the coming school year, this grant will impact up to 30 classrooms/teachers and 600 students. 

BEST (Book Engagement in the Summertime) Summer Reading Program – $2,700
This grant will be used to supply books to Kindergarten through Grade 2 students for the purpose of providing summer reading materials to students in order to minimize reading loss that can occur during the summer months. A book fair at the end of the school year provided students with select 10-12 choice books to take home for summer reading support. 

Zones Toolkits at Forest Hills Elementary- $1,828
Zones of Regulation are taught schoolwide to help teach students different tools to help them regulate their behavior. Along with thinking strategies and calming techniques, students are provided with sensory supports (fidgets, worry rocks, putty, etc). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, toolkits are not able to be shared, so this grant will provide for additional toolkits for each individual student in need. 

TASSEL Screen Printing Start-up Equipment – $10,600
TASSEL works with young adults 18-21 years old who are addressing areas of growth around secondary education, independent living, and work experience needs. This grant is for the introduction of a complete screen printing shop in order for the students to have an opportunity for creative outlets, skill building, and gain the hands-on experience of running a screen printing production shop. This grant provides for all equipment including a screen printing press, flash dryer, design software, ink, work tables and storage, as well as a consulting artist to support in teaching the art of screen printing. 

2020 Grants

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, FEPS decided to use the 2020 Teacher and Staff Grants funds to establish a COVID Relief Fund along with generous donors from the community.  This fund supported the district and families during the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2020 with needs related to COVID-19.

2019 Grants

In February 2019, The Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools approved the following grants totaling over $22,000.  These grants are funded through generous donations!

Mindful Movement This grant provides staff with tools to teach social emotional learning activities that improves self-control, focus, problem solving and self esteem. It will benefit 700 elementary students. $900.00

Generative Art in Geometry Class This grant provides computer-aided pen plotters to help student learn math concepts and how to creatively code using the context of visual arts as their geometric designs come to life. It will initially benefit 70 high school geometry students. $1100.00

Mind, Body and Heart This grant provides teachers with tools to increase the student use of practices in self-awareness and self-regulation which will lead to increased time on task and increased academic performance. It will benefit 150 elementary students. $825.00

Elementary STEM Through Robotics and Coding This grant provides coding packs and robots to expand these activities through all K-6 grade levels.  These activities have proven to enhance creative thinking, problem solving, engagement, perseverance and teamwork.  It will benefit 700 students. $3194.00

Sensory Path This grant creates a sensory path and active learning space that promotes social-emotional engagement and fine motor development.  It will benefit over 500 elementary students. $2153.00

CNC Laser Cutter/Engraver This grant provides a modern manufacturing tool used in engineering, manufacturing, design and other technical fields. It will be built into the existing 8thgrade Technical Education program. It will benefit over 600 students. $4316.00

“Just Be” in EACH Classroom This grant provides a universally designed break station in classrooms that gives students a “Just Be” space equipped with tools and resources for mindfulness strategies to meet their social-emotional needs.  It will benefit over 700 elementary students. $4073.00

Gizmos for Learning This grant provides an interactive math and science simulation that uses an inquiry based approach to learning which helps build understanding by helping students visualize conceptual material.  It will benefit over 900 high school students. $3275.00

Upstream Arts Residency This grant provides professional artists to teach interactive art activities to special education students age 18-21 in the district’s TASSEL program. Students will practice essential social skills and communication as a result of their participation in these activities. It will benefit 62 students. $2350.00

The following are grants with community partners:

My Book Day This grant provides funding in support of a citywide celebration, which takes place in April at Eden Prairie High School. At this event, all first grade students receive their choice of a high-quality hardbound book, selected from a collection of six books they have been reading throughout the year. This event includes high school students promoting the importance of reading to the first graders.  This grant is in partnership with the Eden Prairie Noon Rotary. $4000.00

School Supplies This grant provides school supplies for the start of the school year, for all students who register as needing supplies through People Reaching Out to People (PROP). Last year, over 500 total K-12 students were served, and items can be purchased by PROP which are not commonly donated. It is important to their young clients, especially middle and high school students, to start the school year successfully. This grant is in partnership with PROP Food Shelf. $2700.00

Ready! For Kindergarten This grant provides training and high quality learning tools for families to develop school ready skills with their children.  FEPS supports this research-backed program in partnership with the EP Schools’ Early Childhood program. $4000.00

Thank You For Your Support!

It’s because of you, our donors and partners, that we can support Eden Prairie students.