The Education Foundation awarded six grants totaling $10,575 to teachers and staff at five schools today.

“This is the seventh year we’ve awarded inspiration grants to teachers and staff for innovative and unique programs that complement MCPASD’s educational goals,” said Amber Kiggens-Leifheit, executive director of the Education Foundation. “The grants fund inspiring experiences for students that go beyond those provided in a traditional learning environment.”

Counting the 2020 recipients, the Education Foundation has awarded 110 grants worth more than $115,000 since 2013.

To announce the grants, Foundation board members attended virtual staff meetings at recipients’ respective schools. In previous years, Foundation board members and members of Middleton High School’s marching band traveled via school bus to grant recipients’ respective schools to honor them with presentations in their classrooms and a band performance.

“We especially appreciate the efforts of our 2020 recipients given what a tough year this is for everyone,” said Carl Frederick, Education Foundation secretary and chair of the grants committee. “Our recipients are going above and beyond for our students, and we’re honored to recognize their wonderful work with these grants.”

Below are brief summaries of each grant:

  • World Drumming at Sauk Trail/Sunset Ridge Elementary Schools: John Becker received a $600 grant to hire four professional musicians to host virtual concerts, allowing students to work on percussion, drumming and dance skills using their music supply kits at home. They will play Brazilian Samba, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean and African music styles.
  • Sharing Our Stories Out Loud Podcasts at West Middleton Elementary School: Amanda Struckmeyer received a $1,475 grant for podcast recording equipment to allow students, staff and families to share stories. They will record personal narratives, prompted by specific questions, as well as fictional stories.
  • Sensory Pathway at Glacier Creek Middle School: Laurie Wood, Jennifer Broadley, Abigail Prestigiacomo and Kristin Benz received a $1,000 grant to create a sensory pathway to provide physical activity as well mindfulness and breathing activities for students. It will offer students a “brain break,” helping them return to the classroom ready to learn and focus.
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Middleton High School: Steve Kurr received a $2,500 grant to work, virtually, with Mark Wood and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra to prepare songs and create virtual videos of middle school and high school orchestra students performing. About 750 strings students across the schools will participate, and a Hip Hop Strings unit will also be available for those interested.
  • Forward Garden at Middleton High School: MHS students Alex Seaborg and Aarush Gupta, received a $2,500 grant to fund an irrigation system for Forward Garden, a community-based initiative with the nonprofit Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens. Several MHS students volunteer with the garden, which was created to address food insecurity in Dane County. The grant will help the garden expand and distribute more produce for community members in need.
  • Hip Hop Mobile Stations at Middleton High School: Doug Brown received a $2,500 grant to create mobile stations to store hip hop students’ equipment – like record players, laptops, records and recording technology – to facilitate collaboration with other students for breakouts and performances.