Past Innovation Grants


Here are some examples of previously funded Teacher Innovation Grants:

Watershed Models – MSS–7th grade science (Lisa Linder)

Grant provided: EnviroScape Watershed Models

  • Identify what watershed our community is a part of
  • Define what nonpoint source pollution is
  • Identify the causes of nonpoint source pollution in our community (fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, oil/grease from automobiles, sediment and erosion from construction sites, bacteria from pet waste)
  • Explain how community members contribute to the problem of nonpoint source pollution
  • Connect the problem of nonpoint source pollution to the effects on the water ways and animals of our community
  • Investigate and educate the community on the causes of nonpoint source pollution and alternatives to current practices that cause this problem by creating a brochure, and having a presentation to members of the community

“This project and the use of these models have the potential for students to see that they can slow down and reverse the negative impact on the watershed by making small changes and educating the community.” — Lisa Linder, Middle School South


Understanding Differences in Reading Project – Spencer Loomis 5th Grade Teachers

Grant provided: Student and teacher’s books for different reading levels and styles of reading. These books allowed students to read and discuss books that have characters with differences or disabilities.

“I am so impressed by the reactions and character of my students. They are very sympathetic and caring about these fictional characters, and the emotional connection they experienced is helping them make connections when they read other stories. Thank you so much for these wonderful books! We truly appreciate all you do for our district.” — Ms. Kay, Spencer Loomis Elementary School


Mentor text for Writing – MSN–Library and ELL (Laura Dooley-Taylor & Sharon Brown)

Grant provided: Mentor text for writing. The English Language Learners and the Library Media Center will collaborate to increase the supply and use of Mentor Texts in the school. These texts will improve and reinforce reading and writing skills across the school. Additionally, they will provide texts that can be used for higher-level thinking for all students.




E-Books for Math – MSS–Instructional Math (Aimee Russo)

Grant provided: E-Books for creating an integrated program for using math in the real world. The goal of this project is to develop an integrated math program that will allow students to analyze real-world professions that illustrate the importance of mathematics in daily life, synthesize this information, and present their learning to an audience. The project will feature curricular integration of mathematics, literature, and technology. Students will be able to choose from several exciting, EBook titles that form the foundations for data gathering and problem-solving exercises.

Sensor Unit – MSN–Applied Technology (Gary Simon)

Grant provided: A lift and drag sensor unit for evaluating CO2 cars. 8th Grade students spend 10 weeks designing, constructing and racing CO2 cars. The addition of the drag and lift system for the CO2 cars will increase skills in math and data analysis, allow for predictive capabilities, and provide for the application of physical science principals.

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Hands On Algebra Kits (5) – Spencer Loomis 5th Grade Teachers (Vicki Kay, Patti Nishimura, Carrie Werner, Billie Rusheinski, Matt Coaty)

Grant provided: One Hands-On Algebra kit for each fifth grade classroom (4 kits) and one for the math replacement teacher to provide inquiry-based activities and hands-on materials to help students figure out and create balanced algebraic equations. MAP scores helped the teachers determine that algebraic thinking is an area they would like to strengthen. The goal is to work with these kits and activities at least once a week to help achieve the Common Core standard of algebraic thinking. As these kits also provide algebra activities for higher-grade levels, they will be able to use them for enrichment in addition to core instruction. They will work to implement an innovative workshop model to help meet students’ needs in math. In addition to direct instruction, these kits will provide tasks to engage and challenge students while we work with small, flexible groups.

Playaway Preloaded Digital Audial Books – Seth Paine 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade Teachers (Kristan Felix, David Herlocker, Toni Mathisen, Sue Lindquist, Karen Lodewyck, Suzanne Lyons, Melissa Marrello, Mary Beth Mirock & Megan Pender)

Grant provided: Playaways that are an enticing way for all students to experience literature. These digital books extend reading possibilities by helping students keep pace with their peers, reduce distractions and allow them to take in information both visually and audibly. Inexperienced readers, students with learning differences and English language learners are able to enjoy reading with the use of Playaways. Professional readers provide positive models for new readers to hear proper names and difficult words pronounced correctly and better understand text while listening to proper timing, emphasis, pause and stress by the reader. The devices have adjustable speed to improve comprehension for students with lower listening rates.

Family Math Night for 1st & 2nd Grade – Seth Paine 1st & 2nd Grade Teachers (Colleen Johnson, Kimberly O’Brien, Kim Tomczyk, Suzanne Weider, Robin Kern, Robin Reinstein, Susan York)

Grant provided: Funding so the teachers could host two Family Math Nights at Seth Paine. One session was held for 1st grade and one for 2nd grade – to educate parents about changes in mathematics education. The goal was to help students build their number sense so they become confident math students who understand the mathematical thinking and reasoning behind a problem, not just the procedure. Separate training sessions were held for the parents and the students, providing bilingual presentations for the Spanish speaking population of the school. Parents received specific training on the use of the math kits the students use throughout the year.

Research Project to Link Fiction and Non Fiction Text – Isaac Fox Library Media Specialist and 4th Grade Teachers (Anne Kuehl and Colleen Brouse)

Grant provided: Dedicated iPads for use in the Library Media Center and classrooms for students to create, share, and connect various media. The goal was to allow for a seamless integration between the media center and classroom. The project used the iPads to enrich curriculum, specifically in regards to the Common Core reading standards. In the first year of this project, Ms. Brouse’s fourth grade students found nonfiction texts such as Internet articles and books on the iPad that relate, deepen, or expand the topic of different fiction books throughout the library. Students connected the texts through the use of QR codes. These codes are easily created on a free website. The QR codes were printed and attached to fiction books. Students of all grade levels can use the iPads to scan the QR codes through a free app to read Internet texts and check out nonfiction books that are in the library. Conversely, the fourth graders can find and make QR codes that will connect fiction books of similar topics.

Stability Balls for Use as Classroom Chairs – Sarah Adams 1st Grade Teachers (Liz Hedstrom, Liz Szarek, Liz Moore & Sharon Rane)

Grant provided: The 1st grade with new stability balls. The team felt the stability balls would foster improved attention, learning and memory as well as lessen off task behavior. Brain based research supported the premise that when the body is engaged, the brain is engaged and the tiny movements made while balancing on the stability ball stimulates the student’s brain and helps them focus. Each of the three classrooms rotated use of the stability balls and evaluated out of seat behavior, engagement of students and behavior changes while the balls were in use.