2021 Foundation Grants

Foundation funds over $3,500 in innovative teacher grants ‚Äč
Posted on 01/11/2022

The Poplar Bluff School Foundation recently voted to fund over $3,500 in competitive grants designated to benefit a range of students, both at-risk and gifted, at the Middle School and Junior High.

“I’m glad we have this many applications; that’s a good thing,” commented Emily Wolpers, Foundation chairperson, during the November meeting of the nonprofit organization. A total of seven innovative educational projects were ranked by a sub-committee over the annual grant program, and the top two were approved, one fully funded and the other partially.

Poplar Bluff Middle School math interventionist Krystal Dover received the green light from the Foundation board for her $1,500 proposal to purchase several licenses to TouchMath Connect interactive software and apps for teacher dashboards across multiple devices, along with acquiring two additional iPads with cases for classroom usage.

“I have successfully used TouchMath resources to help my struggling students throughout my 16 years of teaching, through hand-me-down printables and free resources online,” Dover wrote in her successful grant proposal. “Now I would like the opportunity to utilize the app component of the program.”

Dover further explained that she would use the software to increase basic math concepts such as counting, adding, subtracting and multiplying for learners still struggling beyond structured interventions in place: “with a fun and engaging platform to make them enjoy, understand and possibly even love math.”

At the Junior High, Hilary Taylor, who teaches SINGS (serving the individual needs of gifted students) as well as a series of electives, received 60 percent financing toward a $3,200 Glowforge 3D laser cutter and engraver, with a building commitment to cover the remainder out of the supply budget, on top of an air filter needed for the classroom.

“The Glowforge is a tool that can be used by every student in each class for a different purpose, while still allowing for critical thinking and problem solving,” Taylor stated. “Unlike many other tools and pieces of technology, this will give our students access to something that most will never be able to utilize otherwise …This could spark the love and joy of STEM to guide students into a future career path.”

Taylor broke down how her SINGS students can use the tool for entrepreneurial inventions or architectural challenges; the drama class can create marionette puppets during its puppetry unit; game design students can design a board game beyond the prototype step; and robotics students can create a hydraulic arm or devices for LEGO Mindstorm robots to complete tasks. The classes may also collaborate with PBHS business educator Pam Davis, who added a Glowforge in her department in recent months.

In addition to the innovative educational projects, the Foundation voted unanimously to fund its annual scholarship at $1,000 for a PBHS graduate planning to enter the field of teaching, expending its remaining gains for the fiscal year, which totaled $4,600 from fundraising efforts.

For more information about the Poplar Bluff School Foundation, visit https://mules.me/foundation. All donations to the 501c3 are tax-deductible.

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