By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Teachers will have new and creative ways to help their students learn.
The Mid-Del Public Schools Foundation last week awarded more than $55,000 in funding through the Big Idea Grants program.
The Foundation awarded 39 grants at 16 schools in the district. Teachers received grants for a variety of subjects including science, math, literacy, and physical education.
Members of the Foundation board and school district administrators traveled to the school sites to present the grants to each of the teachers.
“I was happy with the quality of the grants this year,” said Lindse Barks, executive director of the Foundation. “There were some great ones in there.”
Barks said the grant program is open to any teacher in the district. The goal is to help teachers purchase creative or unconventional learning materials.
“We like it when teachers think outside of the box and innovation doesn’t always mean technology,” she said. “Teachers have great big ideas, and we want to fund them.”
An example of that was a grant for a school and community garden at Parkview Elementary School. Patricia Wesselhoft, a third-grade teacher, submitted the grant to help teach students how to grow vegetables and herbs.
“We’re hoping to be able to give the produce to parents who want it and use it in the cafeteria,” she said.
Another unique idea came from teacher Jamie Bortscheller at Townsend Elementary who received a grant for vests that allow students who are deaf and hard of hearing to experience music. The vests vibrate along with the music using the same technology found in cell phones.
“They can feel the music in different spots and intensity based on the type of music they’re listening to,” he said. “People that are deaf and hard of hearing that have used this technology have really praised it and have been excited about where it’s going. I thought we should get our kids in on this, so they have an opportunity to really immerse themselves in the music as well.”
The Foundation opened the grant application period for teachers at the beginning of the school year. They recently reviewed the submissions and selected winning grants.
Grants ranged in size from $618 to $2,500.