Because of tremendous support from community members, the foundation was able to award grants in its third year of grant making. Our goal, as always, is to create unforgettable learning experiences for our students.
Josiah Passe – Robotics and Science Department – Jaycees Grant Winner
3-D Printer – The newly developed science standards are moving towards a modeling and engineering approach to learning science. 3D printers will allow students to learn and employ engineering skills to create models that directly demonstrate scientific topics. Using 3D printers will allow students to learn how the skills (like CAD) that they have acquired in the Tech Ed. department are applied across disciplines as their printed designs are connected to scientific concepts. 3D printers will allow for students to express complex ideas and designs in an active, material way. Designs that would be too difficult to create using other materials can be easily produced using 3D printing technology.
Prototyping is a key step in designing components for the robotics course. Building prototypes of robotic components from wood or aluminum is time-consuming and difficult to create components that are within millimeter precision of proposed designs. 3D printers can quickly produce models that are accurate to within a fraction of a millimeter of the proposed models and designs. Using computers to create and print designs allows them to be easily and quickly modified. For example, the size of an object in a CAD program can be scaled up or down at the click of a button rather than a complete rebuild which would be required with a more traditional metal or wood object.
Jake Eichten – Bike Fleet
The Physical Education Department offers an Outdoor Recreation class to students in grades 10-12. It is by far our most popular physical education class, with approximately 100 students enrolled annually. The curriculum incorporates a variety of outdoor activities, the majority of which are individual activities, which are a likely source of physical activity for a lifetime. This unique offering gives students the opportunity to participate in a physical education class where team sports and competition are not the focus of the curriculum. Therefore, a lot of non-athletes, who are in greater need of physical activity, take the class. Some of the activities covered in this class include kayaking, archery, golf, disc golf, tennis, in-line skating, and biking. The biking unit is quite popular among the students as they are exposed to a great local resource, the Wobegon Trail. The bikes are also used weekly to transport the class to North Park, where multiple other activities take place, such as frisbee golf and tennis. This project is the epitome of connecting people, resources, and needs to strengthen our community.
Mike Rien – Welding Helmets
Albany High Schools welding program is in need of money to purchase auto darkening welding helmets. Auto darkening welding helmets are the latest technology in welding personal protective equipment. The helmets will help our students learn how to weld as they might in a future welding profession as well as keep them safe.
Amy Spohn – YES Network Activities for Grades K-8
YES Network summer and in-school activities are designed to meet the social and emotional needs of students (grades K-12), which are of paramount importance in our changing world. The activities are designed to promote a sense of community and to enhance the soft skills that are absolutely crucial for students’ future relationships, education, and college & career readiness. Those who have participated in the program have all said it was an unforgettable experience. They have learned that they are capable of establishing friendships, working together, and being responsible for others.
Here are the nuts and bolts of the program: High school students apply for and are hired to be leaders and mentors who organize and facilitate activities for grades K-8. Any student in the district is invited to participate in the activities. During activities, all devices and electronics are turned off/put away as often as possible. Outdoors, movement, creativity, and human interaction are the goals for each activity, and meals or snacks are usually involved — sharing food promotes community!
Nicole Snoberger – Battle of the Books
This project will create a memorable learning experience for students. In the Battle of the Books program, each team of students is challenged to read a certain number of books on a book list. Books are targeted for students’ particular reading ability. Students meet regularly to compare their notes on each book and practice competing against other teams to answer questions about the books. The questions are formatted so that students need to demonstrate rich comprehension of the stories. The actual competition is facilitated game show style.
The Battle of the Books program could gain momentum and become something students strive to join in years to come. It is a new way to motivate students to read that provides exposure to a variety of books and genres, is accessible to various reading levels, and involves community members.
Stacy Meyer – Personalized Learning Opportunities
Data shows that students excel in a personalized learning environment. In order to create a quality personalized learning environment, we need supplies and activities to provide opportunities for individual students to excel on their own learning paths. Currently, kindergarten teachers do not have adequate materials to support meeting the needs of individual students. The funds would be used to purchase age appropriate, standard based learning materials. Each kindergarten classroom will benefit from a set of their own materials, as classes will be working on the same standards at the same time. By choosing the personalized learning path, our kindergarten team will encourage excellence from our students. Personalized learning creates critical thinkers who become problem solvers.
Kathy Conrad – Science Lab Experience with MS/HS Teachers and Students
Fourth grade students would work with high school students in the high school science labs. Students will have the opportunity to delve into the makeup of cells and the body with instruments not available at the elementary schools. MS/HS students would share scientific lab procedures with 4th graders, as well as assist them in identifying body parts. The first lab would consist of 4th graders looking at their cheek cells under a microscope. The second lab would consist of dissecting fetal pigs.
Katie Radeke – Safely Supporting the Social/Emotional Needs of Kindergarteners and Preschoolers
Educators are seeing an increase in social/emotional/behavior needs at younger ages. Many children in preschool and kindergarten are demonstrating the inability to manage emotions, self-regulate, and attend to classroom expectations. Our paraprofessionals and special education staff are increasingly working on calming skills, positive redirection, practicing self-direction, and behavior management in order to prepare students to be successful in a school environment. This trend in behavior needs has disrupted learning in the classroom for all students. As we learn more about the effects of trauma on student learning, we are realizing that many more children are working through social and emotional obstacles than ever understood before.
I would like to create a safe and calm space for students who need to work through their emotional needs. The space needs to be physically safe, as well as equipped with resources that can be used to teach these basic coping and self-regulating skills. Books, DVDs, and activities would be used to teach the essential skills. The furniture items would assist in making the space more comfortable and safe. While the resources chosen are geared for EC and K, the space could be used for older students. The Foundation’s mission is supported by encouraging real-life, hands-on learning opportunities that can be taught in small groups or individually with hopes that the students will carry those skills into the classrooms. Having a safe space to work with trusting adults provides unforgettable learning experiences through relationship building and positive interventions.