Wayzata Education Fund names 2017-18 grant recipients

The Wayzata Education Fund, formerly named the Wayzata Public Schools Education Foundation, has announced its list of 12 “From Excellent to Exceptional” grants for the 2017-18 school year. The grants, which total more than $36,000, are meant to support innovation in a wide range of curricular areas to students in every school in the district.

Wayzata Education Fund board members and Superintendent Chace Anderson present a check to this year’s “From Excellent to Exceptional” grant recipients during the May 8 Wayzata School Board meeting. The money will be used to support innovation in a wide range of curricular areas to students in every school in the district. (Submitted photo)

The fund, an all-volunteer nonprofit supported by families, businesses and staff in the district, has distributed more than $230,000 for innovative projects since its inception in 2003. It is the only organization that raises private funds for innovative teaching for the entire school district.

Teachers and staff submit grant applications from August through December each year and the fund awards the grants the following spring. Funding is intended for projects above and beyond those typically funded by the district and school budget, PTA/PTO, boosters and other existing district and school resources.

“Wayzata Education Fund’s mission is to foster community support for innovative teaching,” said Adam Hannemann, fund chairperson. “We are so grateful to all the teachers who took time to apply for a grant and for the fund’s generous donors who make these grants possible.”

Projects receiving funds for the 2017-18 school year:

• Full-size fossil specimens for the high school’s new evolution class and biology classes, thanks to science teacher Toni Leland.

• Aeroponic tower garden for 2nd graders at Meadow Ridge Elementary, thanks to teacher Samantha Exsted.

• Recumbent bike for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program at the high school, helping students cope with anxiety, stress and sensory overload, thanks to Renee Heiland and Nicole Delorme.

• New books for the district-wide volunteer literacy program, which helps struggling readers in grades 2-5 in all eight elementary schools, thanks to Charlene Barghini and Colleen Wier in the district volunteer office.

• 3D printer for the high school’s art department and 3D design classes, thanks to art teacher Dawn Duwenhoegger.

• Google Expeditions virtual reality technology for fourth and fifth graders at Gleason Lake and Oakwood Elementary schools, thanks to principals Mary McKasy and Sarabeth deNeui.

• Anatomical human skull collection to enhance the anthropology unit in the high school’s forensic science class, thanks to science teacher Amy Campbell.

• Resources – including a drone – to augment student research capabilities in seventh grade life science bioblitz/outdoor research at East Middle School, thanks to teachers Jessi Herrscher and Kristi Byrlev.

• Ukuleles for the fifth grade music program at Meadow Ridge and Kimberly Lane Elementary schools, thanks to Meadow Ridge music teacher Katie Baker.

• Augmentative alternative communication devices to help give a “voice” to non-verbal and limited-verbal students throughout all schools, thanks to speech-language pathologist Olga Campbell and assistive technology and occupational therapist Carole Ries.

• Ozobots to provide early exposure to coding for students in the Vision 21/Young Scholars program in grades 1-5 at Sunset Hill, Kimberly Lane, Gleason Lake and Oakwood Elementary Schools, thanks to Vision 21 teacher Angela Henry.

• An East-meets-West collaborative workshop and curriculum for all high school and eighth-grade orchestra students, featuring world-class Indian composer and performer Chitrvina N. Ravikiran, thanks to orchestra teacher Mark Gitch.

To learn more about the fund, or to make a donation, visit wayzataedfund.org.