Grand Forks Foundation for Education awards 'mini grants' for 17 teacher-led projects

The foundation is distributing $14,093 for a variety of enrichment projects throughout the school district.

Seventeen teachers in the Grand Forks public school system are receiving grants from the Grand Forks Foundation for Education, Inc., for a variety of enrichment projects, district officials have announced.

The Foundation is awarding $14,093 for projects that will impact students at all grade levels, according to Emilia Hodgson, executive director. The “mini-grants,” which have been awarded by the Foundation since 1992, are usually for classroom-level or grade-level projects and cover all areas of the curriculum.

Grant recipients for this round of funding are:

In elementary schools -- Susie Lancaster, Viking, $314, for “A Soft Way to Begin the Day,” to provide multiple STEM tools -- such as Legos, magnetic strips and snap circuits -- to help students to make connections, communicate and be creative as they start the day;

Katie Wood, Century, $386, for “The Spot (SEL (social-emotional learning) Curriculum for Primary Grades),” to purchase “On the Spot” SEL books for K-2 that include themes of courage, perseverance, teamwork, kindness, responsibility, patience and other traits;


Jessie Pieper, Ben Franklin, $579 for “Sensory Learning in Early Childhood Special Education,” to purchase sensory and tactile tools to be used in her early special education classroom;

Amy DeWitt, Century, $655, for “Equitable Instruments,” to purchase an additional xylophone to give students the most engaging experience possible during music class;

Cassie Riewer, Wilder, $773, for “Making the Most of Mentor Texts,” to purchase additional mentor texts for all grade levels in the school; the texts are not included in the district curriculum but are referenced in teacher lesson guides.

In middle schools -- Brooke VanLooy, South, $241, for “Hands-On Foreign Language Materials,” to purchase multiple games in Spanish, German, French and Latin, which touch on social, cognitive, physical and emotional development;

Josey Chow, Valley, $285, for “8th Grade Math Algebra Tiles,” which help students visualize the concepts and increase understanding of abstract equations and formulas;

Kat Puhl, Valley, $700, for “Higher-Level Texts for Advanced Readers,” to purchase books used in 8th grade literature circles;

Justin Johnson, Schroeder, $721, “Getting Flexible with Classroom Seating,” to purchase standing desks and wobble chairs which help students with strong urges to move, to increase their ability to focus;

Nick Pederson, Valley, $1,000, for “School-Wide Traveling Manga Resources,” to purchase popular “Manga” titles that can be shared throughout the school;


Ann Herbeck, South, $1,095, for “Connecting Creativity Using Strawbees,” to purchase a Strawbees construction set, to be used with her Micro Bits, to allow students in her science classes to explore the engineering process.

In middle and high schools -- Marilyn Iverson, STEP (Student Transitional Education Program), for “Alternative and Equitable Literacy,” to purchase books for a mini-library onsite, providing students with access to various-leveled pieces of literature;

LoRia Novak, Valley Middle School, and Eileen Zygarlicke, Community High School, $800, for “Literacy Beyond the Classroom,” to purchase copies of the book “Long Way Down,” by Jason Reynolds, for a student book study which meets via Google Hangouts for discussion and allows students the opportunity to interact, listen, and learn from one another.

In high schools -- Emily Kulas, Red River, $737, for “Let’s Get Graphic! Tackling Complex Issues with Graphic Novels,” to purchase a variety of graphic novel titles for the Library Media Center;

Maren DeWar, Grand Forks Central, $1,300, for her “Purple Rhymes with Orange Student Workshop,” to provide theater students the opportunity to perform an original, multi-cultural production with North Dakota artist Patrick Kasper;

Sheri Sletten, Red River, $1,420, for “TI-84 Python Graphing Calculator,” to purchase 10 Python Graphing Calculators, for her enriched algebra classroom, which introduce students to more STEM opportunities, including programming;

Lindsay Fugleberg, Red River, $2,305, for “Biology Microscopes,” to purchase six microscopes to be used by all science classes for a variety of experiences, including analyzing various types of cells and tissues in living organisms.

For more information on these projects, contact Hodgson at 701-787-4866 or .

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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