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Legacy Foundation awards eight impact grants to Moorhead teachers last year

August 10, 2018

The Moorhead Schools Legacy Foundation granted its first round of eight $500 Spud Student Impact Grants last fall to teachers in Moorhead Area Public Schools. The foundation is currently accepting application from Moorhead Area Public Schools educators for the second round of grants to be awarded this fall.

The grants funded several hands-on, innovative opportunities and impacted student learning during the 2017-18 school year.

Early Intervention Services received a grant to fund materials and supplies for a sensory room to provide a controlled sensory experience that is safe and designed specifically to meet the needs of pre-K students in EIS. The multi-sensory room is a dedicated space designed to block out noise and control lighting and temperature to offer a student-centered sensory supportive environment.

The S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School Media Center received a grant to provide the foundation for makerspace activities in the media center. The $500 allowed Kim Nelson, resource strategist, to purchase Code and Go Mice and Mats and a Lego Wall. The goal is to continue building spaces that allow students to create, collaborate, imagine, design, build, and start all over again.

The Ellen Hopkins Elementary Morning EXCEL program provides the school’s most academically at-risk kindergarten through second-grade students an opportunity to build their early literacy skills. Grant funds purchased two copies each of approximately 43 high-quality, high-interest, leveled texts to support these striving readers. According to EXCEL coordinators, the students in Morning EXCEL enjoyed the new and interesting books and content, and they were motivated to pick new books to read each week.

Science teacher Wylie Wisnewski used the majority of his grant funds to support a Lego Slot Car STEM project for students at Red River Area Learning Center. Items purchased with the funds included electric motors, electrical connectors, contact brushes, regulated power supplies, copper tape, lap counter, soldering irons, and lumber. The slot car project allowed students to learn about design, motion, speed, forces, electric circuits and motors, and problem solving. Students followed the engineering design process as they researched and designed their own car and then brought them to life. Students saw how gear ratios and the mass of their cars apply to speed and acceleration and related those concepts to real-world applications. Remaining grant funds improved the classroom hydroponic system with seeds, grow lights, PVC, trellis, and digital scales.

Probstfield Early Learning Center used the grant to purchase yoga/mindfulness materials, including 30 mats, 30 straps and 30 blocks. The mats were used for individuals to practice yoga and movement activities. The straps and blocks allowed students to practice proper alignment when doing yoga. Yoga and mindfulness were taught to Probstfield preschool students, Probstfield staff, Keys to Kindergarten participants, and groups of Horizon Middle School students and teachers as a way to help them calm their bodies and minds.

The Ellen Hopkins Elementary School Media Center received a grant to purchase Ozobots and Code-a-pillars, which gave all students an opportunity to use this hands-on technology during the school’s technology week last December. Launching the Ozobots and Code-a-pillars was a perfect fit and tied to the national Hour of Code challenge. Every class had a library lesson with Sarah Martin, resource strategist, to provide basic training and explore the technology. The teachers also had time to explore and use the Ozobots and Code-a-pillars during a staff meeting. Teachers may check out the equipment to supplement math or literacy lessons and connect to 21st century goals of collaborating, creating, critically thinking and communicating.

The Moorhead High School AVID program received a grant to assist the first class of AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) seniors with college application fees and remove barriers to attend college. The 2017 grant funds assisted in translating a birth certificate for a student who was then able to apply and received a full scholarship to Concordia College. Remaining funds will be used this year to assist as AVID seniors apply for college.

The Dorothy Dodds Elementary Media Center used grant funds to purchase paperback books to fill giveaway bins in the Media Center for students who were learning book responsibility and did not have personal books at home. Ann Woell, resource strategist, used the books to help ensure every student left the media center with a book during their weekly checkout times. Since more than a third of the students at Dodds Elementary receive free or reduced-price lunch, providing books at home was a way to promote reading and the enjoyment of books in the lives of students and families. The project had a double impact. The grant-funded books were purchased through the school’s Scholastic Book Fair, which then earned Scholastic dollars used to purchase books for the school’s Guided Reading Library and classroom libraries.

Photos: 1) Ellen Hopkins Elementary School students learn about coding and experiment with technology like Ozobots in the media center. The Ozobots and Code-a-pillars, which were purchased with a Spud Student Impact Grant from the Moorhead Schools Legacy Foundation, engage students in curriculum and 21st century skills of collaborating, creating, critically thinking and communicating. 2) Red River Area Learning Center students test their Lego slot cars. They also calculated the speed of their cars and modified their car design to improve speed, including removing weight from their cars, trying different gear combinations, or adjusting weight distribution. 3) Books purchased with grant funds fill giveaway bins in the Dorothy Dodds Elementary School Media Center.

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