The mission of the Educational Foundation has always been to support district initiatives that enhances the learning environment of our schools. That has included providing funding for school property, equipment and buildings, and special projects.
With the passing of the April 2022 facilities referendum, concerns and challenges of aging and outdated learning environments at Bayside Middle and Stormonth Elementary are being addressed through tax dollars and visionary thinking.
So with school property, equipment and buildings well in hand, it is with special projects that the Educational Foundation will focus its fundraising efforts and support.
That programming focus began even before the referendum was secured with our 2021-2022 fundraising campaign to Encourage Inclusive Programming.
During the 2021-2022 school year, the Educational Foundation through the generous support of district families and local businesses was able to fund more than $25,000 in programming and is prepared to offer immediate seed money for additional initiatives early next school year.
Here is an overview of the programs the educational foundation was able to fund:
Motor Labs: Ready the body for learning
The idea for motor labs is that through task-oriented circuit training, supported by consistent, foundational exercises, students receive developmental support for sensory and motor systems and readies the body for learning.
K-5 teacher, Amy Ziegler introduced the concept to her young students at Stormonth Elementary. In the early stages of implementation, Ms. Ziegler utilized equipment she personally acquired and used the school courtyard to give her students space to move.
As she tells it, “my students certainly enjoyed the motor breaks, and I could identify specific motor needs in my students which I knew the targeted motor lab exercises would address.”
As the first months of school grew colder, Ms. Ziegler moved the motor lab to a small hallway indoors. This is when other teachers and students began to see the activity, and wanted to know more.
By the spring of 2022, three grade levels were utilizing the concept and equipment. Ms. Ziegler has received support from Stormonth Elementary principal, Laura Witkov to take Motor Labs to the next level. The school granted money from the PTO to purchase additional equipment and make a home base for motor labs in a designated room on campus. But there is still more to do to grow the program.
The Educational Foundation provided funding to expand Motor Labs even more in the 2022-2023 school year. Ms. Ziegler plans to develop an official Motor Labs manual, instructional videos and purchase new equipment that will allow the motor labs to rotate exercises monthly to keep challenging students.
STEAM Club Launches At Bayside Middle School
STEAM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, is an after-school program that piloted during the 2020-2021 school year. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the program grew and was offered twice-monthly in the 2021-2022 school year.
The ultimate mission of the club is to provide all interested students the opportunity to explore careers and passions in the STEAM fields. It will actively promote equitable practices in hopes of diversifying these work forces in the future. The club is a safe, collaborative space for students to tinker, discuss, and learn new skills.
It is widely understood that by introducing students to STEAM at a young age, it cultivates progress from project-based learning through collaborative exploration, to problem-based learning which focuses on real-world problems, and ultimately to place-based learning where students learn by doing.
This particular initiative is especially meaningful toward the Educational Foundations commitment to encouraging inclusive programming as STEAM aims to close the staggering gap between gender, racial and ethnic disparities in science and math fields. Within the STEAM club, Bayside students are hearing from innovative professionals from industries such as atmospheric science, analytical chemistry, civil engineering and much more. They are get to work on projects, which the club calls “tinker time”.
The Educational Foundation provided funding to help nurture the expansion of the program and support members to attend field trips, competitions and University visits.
Maker Spaces Fully Embraces Podcasts and Video Production
Through increased collaboration and integration of projects using the makerspace, students in all grades at both Stormonth and Bayside have been creating at impressive rates.
The Educational Foundation proudly funded Maker Spaces from the beginning and has enjoyed continually supporting its development as an integral part of our schools. As Director of Technology Amanda Orth described, “the maker spaces have really changed the culture of our buildings and are being utilized all the time. The potential for these spaces evolves and as entire grades use the space the creations are expanding too.”
In 2022, the Educational Foundation provided additional funding toward Maker Spaces to expand podcasts and video production as well other materials to enhance design and creation.
Students are producing audio and visual content as class projects and it is exciting to watch…and hear.
Cue The Robots
As students grow in their understanding and experience with coding in the Maker Spaces, there is new opportunity to expand the robotics offerings.
Cue Robots allow students to transition from block-based code to state-machine and text-based programming.
Cue’s motors and sensors work together seamlessly to provide accurate and versatile behavior while reacting in real time to its surroundings, inspiring kids to build problem-solving skills through coding, engineering, and design.
These robots also offer an opportunity to become a larger part of the Math curriculum and address computer sciences standard in the state of Wisconsin.
The Educational Foundation provided funding to purchase 6 Cue Robots.
Scoring Big In The Net
With all the new equipment and surfaces students of all abilities are able to enjoy on the playgrounds at both schools, the Educational Foundation didn’t want to overlook the needs of the playing fields such as the soccer field at Stormonth.
Children enjoy sprinting, dribbling, kicking and defending as soccer stars in their imagination at recess. The active free-range play is important to the cognitive and social development of our students and shouldn’t be hindered by equipment that is damaged or unavailable simply because it has reached the end of its lifespan.
The soccer field at Stormonth Elementary School is not only used for district curriculum and play, but by the community as a whole. The Educational Foundation provided funding to purchase new soccer goals for the playing field to be available by the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
Helping 7th Graders Find The Courage
As it has for the past 10 years, the Educational Foundation provided the funding to welcome Youth Frontiers to lead 7th graders through a Courage Retreat in the fall of 2022.
The Courage Retreat is a day to inspire students to use courage to do the right thing and make responsible decisions despite their fears. The popular Youth Frontiers program is designed to empower kids to be themselves and take positive risks that make a healthy difference for themselves, their peers and their school.
This important program makes a difference in the lives of our middle schoolers and the Educational Foundation is proud to continue to fund the participation.