Teachers get creative with grant money

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The Kalispell Education Foundation Great Opportunities Grants program awarded a total of $8,812 for innovative and special projects in schools.

This year, the seven teachers who applied received funding for attendance, engineering, music, reading and technology projects and programs.

A Hedges Elementary third-grade classroom purchased a tablet for each student using a $4,700 Great Opportunities grant. Technology teacher Erin Landrum wanted the one-to-one technology so students can research topics they are passionate about and present it to the class in a variety of ways.

Kalispell Middle School students may get a case of “Manga Madness,” after librarian Jana Warnell made a successful application for a $1,035 grant to purchase manga — Japanese-style graphic novels. The goal is that the illustration-rich books will appeal to a wider audience of students who might not otherwise read often, and in the process, create lifelong readers.

Through a $900 grant, the “Board Games Not Bored Games” program was started at Kalispell Middle School. The aim is to increase social interactions between students and reduce behavioral issues during lunchtime by offering students the option to check out and play board games with strategic and skill-building capacity. Science teacher Carter Eash submitted the grant application.

Kalispell Middle School’s counseling department also benefited from a Great Opportunities grant. The school received a $500 grant to provide incentives for improved attendance, particularly among the at-risk student population. The grant also will be used to recognize students with good attendance.

A Peterson Elementary fifth-grade musical was accompanied by a professional band this year thanks to a $400 grant submitted by music teacher Amanda Sienknecht. The collaboration allowed students to see professional musicians in action.

There might be a few more rock-n-roll enthusiasts at Edgerton Elementary after a drum set was purchased with a $750 grant. Music teacher Mike Casey applied for the grant to get students interested in percussion and to add variety to student performances, musicals and classes.

Agriculture teacher Layne Taylor submitted a successful application for a $528 grant to help students put their electrical, wiring and welding skills to the test by making their own “Wall-E” robots as a final project at the H.E. Robinson Agricultural Education Center.

The Great Opportunities Grants Program is possible through donations or partnerships with community members, businesses and Kalispell Public Schools. Each year, teachers in Kalispell Public Schools can apply for grant funding.

This year’s grant funding was possible through contributions from Imagination Station, Northwest Montana Association of Realtors Foundation, Target and Western Building Center.

For more information on the Great Opportunities Grant program or to donate contact Kalispell Education Foundation Director Christine Hensleigh at hensleighc@sd5.k12.mt.us or call 751-3432.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

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