Representatives with the St. Joseph School District and School District Foundation made trips to local schools to award teachers with Apple Seed Grants.
Nineteen grants totaling $32,000 were issued to educators across the district, funded through the community as well as donations from American Family Insurance. The money will go toward funding innovative project ideas proposed by the teachers, from programs that support self control and self regulation in kindergarten classrooms through to potential classes that utilize lasers.
“It’s so neat to see the innovative ideas and the amount of expertise and passion that our teachers have for the kids and our community,” Bobbie Cronk, a board member with the School District Foundation, said. “(This is) a great way for the School District Foundation, which represents the community, to be able to get in to the buildings and make a real difference for our students.”
Portable translators, a recreation room lounge as well as an Apprentice Leadership Training program also plan to be funded through this year’s grants, up $5,000 from last year.
Applications for the grants are made available to teachers through the beginning of the school year, and sometimes even the spring before. The foundation then forms a committee which reviews the ideas provided by local educators.
“Our parameters are that they need to fund innovative ideas that help student achievement,” Cronk said. “Then we fund new projects that have the potential of being replicated across the district if they’re successful, so really we’re planting that seed and hopefully it will be successful, and then the tree will grow later.”
Educators who received the awards Friday morning also were given a brief celebration from their staff, balloons and a rose or bag of candy. Many, who were teaching a class prior to receiving their award, also received hugs from students and staff members.
“All of the awards have direct impact on student achievement,” Cronk said. “So the teachers come up with these really amazing ideas to help encourage learning and increase the academic achievement and success of a student and their ability to be successful in school.”