The Gering Schools Foundation Board surprised teachers and students at each school over the last two weeks to award four Innovation Grants.
In its first ever round of awards, the Innovation Grant Program provides teachers and staff the opportunity to apply for grants in two rounds annually to fund projects and initiatives that enhance innovation in learning for students.
This round the Gering Schools Foundation awarded $18,416.41 in grants impacting each building and reaching over 1,000 students.
“Providing an opportunity to support our teachers and staff was important to the Foundation Board when we launched this Innovation Grant Program,” shares Board President, Mike Moravec. “We have incredibly talented and committed staff and we are happy to provide additional tools to promote innovation and creativity in the classroom.”
The 2019-20 Innovation Grant fund was established through a major gift campaign held in the spring of 2019.
“Our Foundation has been fortunate to build meaningful relationships with our Bulldog community and grow a network of incredibly supportive individuals and businesses that want to see Gering Public Schools thrive. I am incredibly grateful for their continued support of students and staff,” shares Foundation Director, Jennifer Sibal.
Round One Innovation Grant winners, grant awards and projects were:
Gering High School – submitted by Kim Busby and John Boswell, $6,052.88, “Technical Math for Trades.” This year, two new classes began at GHS, Geometry in Construction and AMPED Algebra. Students in these project-based classes learn mathematics concepts and apply them in context of their use in trades and business. For example, Geometry in Construction will apply right triangles, parallel/perpendicular lines, area and measure concepts in the building of an 8×8 garden shed.
Geil/Northfield/Lincoln Elementary – submitted by Kelly Tofflemire and Marty McAndrew, $6,000, “STEM Lego Learning for All.” This project will be inclusive of grades K-5 at each Gering elementary building. Enrichment groups will learn age-appropriate STEM skills through the use of Lego technology. Students will utilize a computer aided design (CAD) software to design virtual lego kits which also maximizes writing, planning, and communication skills through the creation and design of instruction booklets for each kit. As students advance through grade levels, STEM skills will be enhanced by introducing lever, wedge, pulley, and flywheel systems and eventually adding coding elements for 4th and 5th grade.
Gering Junior High – submitted by Drew Zwieg, $1.363.53, “Interactive Ag/Science Growing and Aquaponics Learning Center.” This project involves converting a space at the Junior High into an interactive plant and aquaponics learning center for 8th grade Ag students. Students will study and grow botanical and aquatic life and study more in-depth concepts of applied science. New technology will include a seed starting growing station, semi-mature plant growing station and an aquaponics station with live fish.
Gering Junior High – submitted by Julie Siebke, $5,000, “Gallup Strengths and Restorative Practices Pilot.” This collaborative project with Mediation West in Scottsbluff utilizing the Gallup StrengthsFinder program to help students identify and build on their strengths. All 6th grade students complete this inventory in their Life Skills class rotation. Students are encouraged to celebrate what is unique about their top 5 strengths and use that in goal-setting and relationships. Also a part of this project is a special pilot “peace circle” with volleyball participants who meet weekly after school to learn and model sportsmanship through strong interpersonal relationships, learning coping skills for stress, and promoting a positive school culture.