Home > Past Grants > 2024 SEF Grant Awards

2024 SEF Grant Awards

Springfield Education Foundation is proud to award 40 SEF Grants to educators in the Springfield Public School District for the 2024-25 academic year, for a record-breaking total of $112,753 in funding! These awards will fund exciting projects at all 21 schools in our district.

Three types of grants given to educators this year are as follows:

Innovative Educator Grants
This grant program is to empower students through the enrichment/enhancement of current programs; provide new learning opportunities to keep students engaged; encourage positive behavior; increase a sense of belonging at school, reach underserved populations; and/or promote career opportunities and college connections.

Social Emotional Learning Fund (SELF) Grant
The purpose of this grant program is to offer funding for educators that wish to implement sustainable social-emotional learning opportunities for students attending school in the Springfield School District.

Frank Sherman Grants
The purpose of this grant are to promote and support health, physical fitness, and outdoor education activities and curriculum offered

Because of donor generosity, we were also able to fund one request through restricted Basic Needs funding, and one through restricted Outdoor Education funding!

Innovative Educators
0
Awarded in SEF Grants (all-time record!)
$ 1000
Schools Served
0
Learning Opportunities Created
0

District-Wide Awards

“PE is Powerful Education”
Frank Sherman Grant

Educator: Misty Acker, Elementary School PE Teacher
Additional Partners: All Elementary School PE Teachers
Impact: 4,104 students
Award Amount: 
$1,000.00
Physical education class is an important part of an elementary school student’s day. This grant helps provide the best experience for all students via a variety of equipment that will enhance their cognitive, affective, and physical development, including balloons, deck rings, and sports balls.

Library Activity Centers: Engaging Elementary Students in Discovery and Creation in the Library
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Karen Babcock, District Library Media Specialist Teacher on Special Assignment
Additional Partners: Classified Elementary Library Managers
Impact: 4,104 students
Award Amount:
$3,960.00
Libraries are where students not only read, but create, discover, and explore the diverse world around them. This project supports student engagement in our elementary libraries with the creation of “Maker Space” and craft activities.

Learn to Ride a Bike Program Expansion
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Jack Blashchishen, Safe Routes To School Coordinator
Additional Partners: All SPS Elementary School PE Teachers
Impact: 1,300 students
Award Amount: 
$4,000.00
The project aims to purchase 16 pedal bikes to use in the existing Learn to Bike fleet, adding more and bigger bikes to expand the program to reach students in second through fifth grades.

“PE is Powerful Education”
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Meridien Howe, Elementary School PE Teacher
Additional Educators: All SPS Elementary School PE Teachers
Impact: 4,104 students
Award Amount: 
$4,000.00
Physical education class is an important part of an elementary school student’s day. This grant helps provide the best experience for all students via a variety of equipment that will enhance their cognitive, affective, and physical development, including sports balls, tumbling mats, and spots.

“2025 SPS Middle School Black Student Union Summit “
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Xavier Davis, Teacher on Special Assignment for Equity and Inclusion
Additional Educators: Taylor Madden, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator
Impact: 75 students
Award Amount: 
$4,000.00
The BSU Summit is both a cultural experience for the entire student body to partake in a summit designed to better Black or African American students’ outcomes and increase a sense of belonging in SPS Middle Schools.

Technology for Science
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Dara Brennan, Science Teacher on Special Assignment
Impact: 4,500 students
Award Amount: 
$4,000.00
CO2 Sensors for secondary science classes will be used to collect and analyze a variety of scientific data. These devices will be managed and maintained through the district STEM media library and made available to science teachers.

Elementary School Awards (K-5th grades)

Increasing Student Engagement—Kindergarten SMART Board
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Ivy McClain, Kindergarten Teacher
Impact: 60 students
Award Amount:
$3,299.00
With the purpose of increasing student engagement, a SMART board for Kindergarten students could open more possibilities for student participation in the classroom; increasing student academic opportunities for learning, content involvement, and regulating student behavior.

 
Enhancing Elementary School Attendance and Self-Confidence through Laundry Access
Basic Needs Request

Educator: Char Sandefer, Special Education Teacher
Impact: 308 students
Award Amount:
$2,236.90
Clean clothes improve attendance and confidence and decrease social stigma. We request the funds for a washer and dryer at our school to maintain our clothes closet and to help our students feel confident and cared for.

Building Foundational Handwriting Skills
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Ivy McClain, Kindergarten Teacher
Additional Partners: Entire Douglas Gardens K-1 Team
Impact:
75 students
Award Amount:
$2,227.50
Handwriting is a foundational literacy skill that begins in kindergarten and first grade. The clear, systematic, hands-on instruction of the Handwriting Without Tears program develops strong skills and these materials are an essential tool for impactful student practice and instruction.

Music In Motion
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Elisha Oestreich, Elementary Music Teacher
Impact:
265 students
Award Amount:
$3,823.00
I am requesting a classroom set of rolling xylophone carts so that my students can practice xylophone in a variety of ways, from whole group, to small group, to individual practice, with minimal risk of damage or transition time needed.


Connecting Cultures Through Mariachi Music
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Krystal Sundstrom, Dual Immersion Program Coordinator
Impact:
335 students
Award Amount: $800.00

This project will create opportunities for students to appreciate culture through music by learning about mariachi and experiencing traditional mariachi performances. This project benefits elementary students who will experience mariachi music, along with high school students who will perform mariachi.

SEATS (Sharing Equitable Access to Seating)
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Monica Tapia, Teacher
Impact:
24 students
Award Amount:
$1,629.84
Providing flexible seating options to meet student’s social, physical, and academic needs.

“STEAM in the Four Spheres 2023-24”
Outdoor Education Request

Educator: Sara Burgin, 5th Grade Teacher
Additional Partners:
Autumn Erickson & Lindsey Dennis, 5th Grade Teachers
Impact:
75 students
Award Amount:
$3,889.79
“STEAM in the Four Spheres 2024-25” will bring student scientists out of the classroom and into the world! Classroom learning will be enriched, extended, and enhanced through a series of physical and experiential activities centered around earth’s four systems.

Equipment to Enhance Physical Education
Frank Sherman Grant

Educator: Jason Clark, Physical Education Teacher
Impact:
420 students
Award Amount:
$926.00
This project will add supplies to help meet the curriculum requirements for Physical Education classes, Kindergarten through Fifth grade.


Kindness Mural
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Kristen Noor, Principal
Impact:
375 students
Award Amount:
$4,000.00
Our students will learn about kindness and then they will create a kindness mural that will be installed on our playground to promote kindness on the playground.

Let’s All Be Heard
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Sarah Bowman, 4th Grade Teacher
Additional Educators: Shelby Masterson, 4th Grade Teacher
Impact:
70 students
Award Amount: 
$991.91
This project will purchase 3 QBall microphones, “Mics you can drop, toss and roll” for our whole grade. These mics will help encourage student understanding and engagement in class with a multi sensory approach for visual and auditory learning.


Getting Wiggles out with Flexible Seating
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Shoshana Brice, 4th Grade Teacher
Impact:
50 students
Award Amount:
$1,293.04
Providing active seating options to improve student learning and behavior.


Redesigned Recorders
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Kristin Woodford, Music Teacher
Impact:
80 students
Award Amount:
$1,349.10
Students will learn instrumental music skills through the redesigned NUVO Recorder. This instrument is made specifically for elementary students and will result in greater student success and engagement.


Equalizing Volume
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Lelia Zsiga, 3rd Grade Teacher
Additional Educators: Tami Dillon – 3rd Grade Teacher, Bryanna Jones – 3rd Grade Teacher
Impact: 66 students
Award Amount:
$4,000.00
Microphones give the ability for all students to share and participate in the classroom. The Qball speaker microphone adds fun and excitement to the discussion experience, while the Lightspeed microphone system allows for more effective teacher communication and formal presentation.

Middle School Awards (6th-8th grades)

Promoting Health and Fitness through Understanding Heart Rates
Frank Sherman Grant

Educator: Shannon Clark, 3rd Grade Teacher
Additional Partners: Megan Wyatt, Teacher
Impact:
450 students
Award Amount: 
$1,000.00
In this project, heart rate monitors will be used to collect data during physical activity and then students will learn how to interpret the data to better understand how their body works.


Roald Dahl Books for Amplify
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Matt Weber, 6th & 8th Grade Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher
Additional Partners: Tiffany Busse, Diane Chaffee, Joey Barrote, Jennifer Utt, and Carol Grau Bull
Impact: 70 students
Award Amount: 
$991.91
This funding will purchase physical copies of Boy and Going Solo to enhance the district-adopted “Amplify” Language Arts curriculum. These books are part of core instruction, but only currently available to our students as digital excerpts.

Raku Kiln
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Nathan White, Teacher
Impact:
450 students
Award Amount: 
$800.82
A raku kiln is a small portable kiln that fires ceramics at high temperatures and is used in traditional Japanese pottery. Raku kilns use different coloring agents, glazes, and temperatures to create interesting colors on the pottery.


“Using Ozobots to Enrich Middle School STEM Lab”
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Megan Wyatt, Teacher
Impact: 450 students
Award Amount: 
$2,990.00
This project will provide a classroom set of Ozobots in order to create an enriching and accessible introduction to coding, programming, and robotics for middle school students.

Ensuring the Long-Term Success of My Music Program
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Ana Gavrilovich, Band/Orchestra Director
Impact: 
136 Students
Award Amount: 
$4,000.00
My project seeks to replace the aging instruments in my band program. These instruments are not durable enough to withstand the brunt of a middle school player year after year without necessitating budget-draining repairs.

Engaging Student Readers with High Interest Books
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator:  Tracy Poe, Library Manager
Impact: 610 students
Award Amount: $3,744.59
Reading Rocks! We know that the more students read, the better they do in school. This project funds the acquisition of highly engaging and accessible books for our middle school library.

Middle School Mindfulness
Social Emotional Learning Fund (SELF) Grant

Educator: Michelle Molony, LCSW/School Counselor
Impact:
560 students
Award Amount:
$3,000.00
Provide mindfulness skills to target the social and mental wellness of middle school students. This will be done through a partnership with Willamalane to provide classes, Flex instruction by SPS staff, and purchase supplies.

High School Awards (9th-12th grades)

SPHERO Robots for STEAM Projects
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Katie Ryan, Teacher
Additional Partners:
Cody Rosenberg, Math Teacher
Impact: 
205 Students
Award Amount:
$3,284.00
We will use SPHERO robots in STEAM projects to allow students to participate in interdisciplinary lessons in math and science classes. Lessons will cover subjects including Art, Math, Science, Technology, and Engineering.


“Metal Arts & Blacksmithing”
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Ruxandra Westra, Educational Assistant-SPED
Impact:
200 students
Award Amount:
$3,456.74
The “Cake Club” is a space to explore careers and creativity through an edible medium. It opens real life career choices to students and promotes leadership and accountability. Everyone is welcome and valued for their effort, not their gear.


Suicide Prevention
Social Emotional Learning Fund (SELF) Grant

Educator: Wendy Zacharias, Counselor
Additional Partners: Scott Crowell, Ame Beard, Melz Vetor, Jared Mills
Impact: 200 students
Award Amount:
$1,000.00
We are currently in our third year using the Source of Strength curriculum and frame work to support suicide prevention. This funding will help to continue with this program, which is used school-wide.

Feeling the Beat
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Jon Bridges, Teacher – Band/Mariachi
Additional Partner: Chandler Larsen, SHS/THS Contracted Advanced Percussion Instructor
Impact:
50 students
Award Amount: 
$4,000.00
This project will provide upgraded and updated instruments to be used in the Advanced Percussion Workshop class, specifically in the area of our drumline. Instruments will impact students across the 6-12 grade levels.


“Cultural Heritage Months
Celebration”
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: David Frost, Teacher
Impact: 1300 students
Award Amount: 
$750.00
Create 8 x 11 posters and digital posters (being displayed on a digital frame) celebrating a different culture and their contributions every month of the year that will be posted throughout the school highlighting scientists, mathematicians, writers, artists, and leaders.


Flow of Genetic Information Kits
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Sonja Ljungdahl, Science Teacher – Biology
Impact: 700 students
Additional Partner: Ryan Herlands
Award Amount:
$4,000.00
Students struggle to grasp the detailed steps of how the DNA code is converted into proteins and how DNA is replicated during cell division. The flow of genetic information kit offers a hands-on approach to support our current biology curriculum.


Technical Education Shines Light on Our Students
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Jill Plumb, Theatre Teacher
Impact: 1300 students
Award Amount: 
$4,000.00
Students will be able to set up and utilize SACN technology to program, create, design technical aspects of lighting/sound production utilizing platforms and tech that will give them experience and knowledge to make them immediately employable post graduation.


Creating A Multi-Use Library With Flexible Seating
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Dani Schneider, Library Supervisor
Impact: 1300 students
Award Amount:
$4,000.00
This grant will allow us to purchase flexible seating options for the library, increasing engagement and comfort in a space that is highly used by students, staff and the community.

Podcast Equipment & Media Studio Supplement
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Bren Bovee, CTE Film & Video Production Teacher
Impact: 160 students
Award Amount:
$3,993.00
Podcasts are everywhere these days, and they should be in our schools, too! This project aims to put professional quality podcasting and related media studio equipment in the hands of our students for the production of student-driven audio/video content.


Enhancing Hands-on Experiences in Science Courses
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Jonathan Hornung, Science Teacher
Impact: 300 students
Award Amount:
$3,865.00
This projects seeks to increase the level of rigor and engagement in laboratory activities through the use of updated materials to more closely mimic real-world lab practices.

“Printmaking 2”
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Perry Joseph, Arts Teacher
Impact: 100 students
Award Amount: 
$3,000.00
We have had a successful start to our printmaking program! I am hoping to enhance our current program with higher level offerings by supplementing consumable supplies like quality papers, matrices, and inks, as well as a few permanent studio items.

Cross-Curricular Learning in the High School Arts Program
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Casey Leonard, Visual Arts Teacher
Impact: 350 students
Award Amount:
$2,500.00
This project aims to enhance the visual arts program by adding units that incorporate learning from other disciplines, including math, science, and literature.


Recipe Development
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Crystal Martorano, CTE Teacher/Culinary
Impact: 300 students
Award Amount: 
$4,000.00
The purpose of the recipe development project is to encourage culinary creativity and experimentation through recipe development projects. Students will expand their culinary repertoire by exploring diverse cuisines, ingredients and cooking techniques.


Library “Glow-up” – Enhancing Student Engagement in the Library
Innovative Educator Grant

Educator: Timothy McSwain, Library Manager
Additional Partner: Karen Babcock, District Library Media Specialist Teacher on Special Assignment
Impact: 125
0 students
Award Amount:
$3,954.70
High school libraries are happening places! This project funds 1) book displays, and signage representative of diverse affinity groups and student interests and 2) engaging manipulatives and activities for student engagement.

SEF Grant Tour, May 22, 2024

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