The District 112 Foundation has been making teachers’ dreams for students a reality by awarding grants to district teachers who submit proposals for innovative classroom projects. All grants must align with Eastern Carver County Schools’ learning philosophy of engaging, inspiring and empowering students to achieve their personal best. Grants are scored on criteria that include innovation, sustainability, scalability, educational value, student impact, and the ability to leverage community support or funding. Eighteen grants across thirteen schools were submitted this fall, and in November the District 112 Foundation funded six grants totaling nearly $7,000. These grants will impact more than 1,800 students.

The primary goal of the District 112 Foundation is to fund creative and innovative learning programs not typically covered in the normal school budget. Since 2004, the Foundation has granted more than $210,000 directly to the classroom through our Excellence and Innovation grants program, made possible by the generous support of our community.

Projects funded this fall include:

  • Discovering Engineers of Tomorrow – Carver Elementary School (Gwen Valiant)
    Carver Elementary will soon have a mobile LEGO and Snap Circuit “wall.” One side of the board will use Legos to allow individual students, as well as groups, to develop social skills, problem solving and organization as they construct 3D pictures leading to endless possibilities. The other side of the wall will allow students to discover and compute simple electrical experiments that relate to coding.
  • Trailblazer Trails: Stories of Diversity Through a Learner-Created Broadcast – Pioneer Ridge Middle School (Sarah Rother).
    Pioneer Ridge Middle School students will be creating a student-led video news program. The broadcasts will be informative, enlightening, and fun and will take skills learned in Language Arts and utilize them in a new, creative way. Students will learn about script creation, production, and public speaking as they are immersed in journalism. 
  • Basel Masks in the Classroom – Chanhassen High School (Lori Constable)                                                                                                      
    Research suggests that students with autism benefit from participation in drama games and exercises. Data also suggests that working with basel masks allows students on the autism spectrum to better bridge the connection between emotions and appropriate responses. Basel masks are both gender-neutral and ethnic neutral and will be beneficial to mainstream and special education students within Chanhassen High School’s drama classes.
  • Who You Are: Spoken Word Poetry as an Exploration of Culture and Identity – Chaska Middle School West (Carol Scheffler)
    Through a customized spoken word workshop, eighth grade students will be instructed by a professional in spoken word poetry to understand the elements of spoken word poetry, which is a poetic performance art, as a way to explore identity and values. Students will then create and share their own spoken poetry works.
  • Photography Center – East Union Elementary School (Lara Groboski)
    By implementing a photography center for use in art classes at East Union Elementary, students will be able to explore composition, create stop motion art, and to learn photo editing software for use with classroom projects.
  • The Power of Movement for Learning: Seating to Aid in Critical Components of Development – Kinder Academy (Trista Smith)
    Alternative seating helps keep students active and focused, helps promote engagement, boosts student motivation, and improves behaviors. It will also allow Kinder Academy to evaluate their own learning needs and use their sensory skills to explore the seating options that best fit their own personal learning style. 

Please join us in congratulating these teachers for their hard work and dedication to excellence and innovation in our schools!

To learn more about the District 112 Foundation and to help invest in academic excellence in Eastern Carver County Schools, click HERE.