Making Bold Ideas Happen: $52,632 for Experiential Learning, Labs, and Creative Partnerships
As evidenced by HEF’s November 2019 grant awards, Hopkins Public Schools educators at every level, in every building, have embraced the district’s forward-focused mission and are redefining learning opportunities for their students. These 17 grants totaling $53,632 will positively impact students, including those receiving special services, to become confident, well-traveled, critical thinkers. Labs and innovative, collaborative pilot projects are bringing bold ideas to life with the specific goal of disrupting predictable outcomes to create exciting new ones. Learn abut each of these amazing grants below:
This pilot at North Junior High invests in a new model for special education students, typically a group who learns best through active learning. Monthly outings will offer experiences outside the normal classroom and give the community a chance to get to know them. Students will acquire 21st century skills, form long-lasting relationships and make connections with their community. Read more.
As an innovative pilot alternative to traditional homework, Meadowbrook third graders will take home weekly tote bags filled with fun, interesting experiences for students to explore. These “home connection literacy packs” will expand students’ range of experiences and broaden background knowledge around a variety of topics, cultures, and points of view, including the fine arts, STEM and more. Read more.
Early Childhood Screening is required for 3-5 year-olds in MN, and it’s an excellent way to identify potential barriers to school success prior to Kindergarten, including vision deficits. Harley Hopkins Family Center (HHFC) provides this critical preventive service to 600 students per school year, in addition to vision screening conducted in first, third and fifth grades. Now, thanks to this HEF grant, the SPOT Vision Screener will provide extremely accurate, reliable, and time-saving measurements. Read more.
Music theory is the study of how musicians and composers literally make music, including tuning systems and composition methods, and it’s not easy. In this new approach, all HHS Choir students will now have access to Breezin’ Thru Theory, an online theory curriculum. Students begin with a wide range of musical backgrounds, and this program allows them to test themselves or practice outside of class, learn at their own pace, and review or re-test as needed. Read more.
At the heart of this grant is a new partnership between West Junior High and Transition Plus. The two- and-a-half dozen older students from T-Plus will work with about 50 students with unique needs from WJH. The whole group will cooperatively design, build and grow gardens at both locations, fostering hands-on learning to enhance the curriculum and producing healthy food. Read more.
Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre residency is coming to Eisenhower’s FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School). Grades K-4 will experience Ta Ti Ti Tran Tran Toro, the one-of-a-kind flamenco puppet theater performance geared for children, where they will learn the enchanting story of Minnesota farmer Olie Olson, glamorous flamenco dancer Carmencita and her pet bull Torito. Read more.
Place-based learning and out of school experiences are part of a vigorous re-imagining of the best way to educate our children. Glen Lake’s first and second grade teams will pilot this lab prototype of frequent educational ‘field trips’ into the real world. Over the next few years they intend to add more grades; eventually all students will participate. Read more.
Tanglen’s Media Center will use this grant to innovate into a hub of access – to digital information, to collaborative learning, and to a warm welcoming environment. Tanglen will now expand the concept of Maker Spaces to set up multiple stations of various activities including simple building materials and technology, a Cricut Maker machine, coding devices, and programmable robots. Read more.
An exciting new approach to conquering severe anxiety may have remarkable results for HHS students. EmpowerU is a highly personalized, online social-emotional course with embedded daily coaching from trained therapists. It is designed to overcome the kind of crippling anxiety that causes withdrawal and absenteeism. In 20-minute sessions each school day over a 14-week period, the program builds skills and strategies and teaches coping skills to help students stay in, or return to, school and to apply to future challenges. Read more.
Mandalas are geometric figures – usually circles – created with repeating patterns, shapes or colors, by many different cultures all over the globe, and have been used for centuries for mediation and personal transformation. Mandalas are fun and simple to engage in, soothing, stress-relieving and engrossing, and have been used as art therapy. At NJH, all students will get the opportunity to create mandalas by painting dot designs on stones they can take home. Read more.
Increasing Engagement and Rigor — $5,970 — Glen Lake Elementary — Anne Kuffel, Elizabeth Nemec, Colette Kastner, Maria Williams, Jeff Radel, Dee DenHartog
Glen Lake staff have fully undertaken the Hopkins’ Vision 2031 mission to disrupt the current system. They have been planning and collaborating to create a culture of innovation and intend to re-imagine teaching. HEF’s grant is sending a team of six to Educator Training at The Ron Clark Academy (RCA) – a preeminent lab school for fourth-eighth grade in Atlanta Georgia with similar demographics to Hopkins. Read more.
Early Childhood Partnership — $945 — Harley Hopkins Family Center — Maura Castellanos, Angela Sandok, Jennifer Muller
Collaboration and a strategic partnership are building a new curriculum around speech pathology for ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) classes. A speech pathologist from ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) will provide individual instruction to facilitators and parents during ECFE classes. HEF’s grant will stock the library with multiple informative resources. Read more.
Modern Band Instruments — $4,620 — Gatewood Elementary and Eisenhower / XinXing Elementary — Katie Hoefer, Jonathan Feulner
Modern Band is a new model of music curriculum using popular music and performed with electric guitars, bass, electronic drum set, small keyboards, and a vocal PA system. The 1,200 students will benefit from HEF’s grant to purchase these new instruments. Read more.
The Closet — $1,500 — West Junior High — Laura Jensen
Opened last year, The Closet is an LGBTQ+ resource library housed at WJH in the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) headquarters, open to any student. HEF is providing funds for a wide range of reading resources to represent the LGBTQ+ community in all its facets, which in turn provides extra support for ALL students to see themselves in positive and affirming ways. The goal of The Closet is to promote acceptance, equality and pride among students and their community. Read more.
Log Cabin Outdoor Learning — $640 — Meadowbrook Elementary PreSchool — Ann Aanestad, Shanyn Dick, Maggie Georgopoulos-Fenke
A new child-sized log cabin will be added to the outdoor preschool play area in this collaboration among all early learning programs at Meadowbrook. As staff model care and concern for nature and the environment, preschoolers will be guided in activities designed to develop essential skills, observe changes in nature, and work cooperatively. There will also be ample time for free hands-on creative play and self-directed activities. Read more.
PEACE (Pavilion Equitable Adventurous Community Experience) — $3,237 — Pavilion School, Grades 6-9 — Jacques Youakim, John Keaveny
The bold intentions of the teaching staff at the Pavilion are to lead a new model that aids students in becoming self-directed adventurous learners, while allowing them the opportunity to give back to the community. This HEF grant is designed to develop authentic inclusivity through weekly experiential learning trips. Read more.
La Oportunidad’s Young Professionals is a 15-session weekly afterschool curriculum focused on educating and empowering Latino/a young people. Taught through a cultural lens, it focuses on career opportunities, developing skills for higher education and/or the workplace, the practical aspects of applying to post-secondary ed and finding the funds to pay for it. Read more.