Return to Headlines

Teachers and staff surprised with Innovative Educator grants

Spring 2019 Innovative Educator Grants

A number of teachers throughout the district were recently surprised – with cash!

The Springfield Education Foundation awarded a total of $32,000, broken up into 19 different grants this spring. It was the second round of grants that were given out this school year, and teachers were elated to receive the funding.

Each year, teachers apply for Springfield Education Foundation’s Innovative Educator Grants, which recognize and encourage innovative teaching programs within Springfield Public Schools.

Grants are awarded to programs that align with SEF's efforts to increase student participation, reach underserved populations, increase attendance, improve graduation rates and promote career opportunities and college connections.

The grant applications are read by a committee of volunteers through a blind application and review process and are presented to teachers twice a year. Each one-time grant ranges from $250 to $3,000.

Here’s the list of the teachers and programs that received a grant this spring:

  • Theatrical Light Design - Jill Plumb (SHS 9-12) - $2,999 will provide practical, hands-on experience with relevant lighting equipment
  • Gaining Essential Skills for Adulthood - Stacey Whaley (SHS 9-12) - $1,000 to provide curriculum for teachers to teach post-high school skills needed for success.
  • Small Group Music Lessons - Jonathan Light SHS (9-12) - $3,000 to provide students with small group lessons from highly qualified musicians.
  • Diverse and Up-to-Date Library Materials - Benni Rose (SHS 9-12) - $3,000 to update the library with diverse reading materials that reflect the student population.
  • High School Speech and Debate Team - Corrie Alijian, Tom Lininger (6-12) SHS - $1000
  • Project Based 7th Grade Class - Andrew Hunt (Hamlin Middle School) – $1,870 to provide field trips, community integration and guest speakers
  • Reading to Meet the Needs of All -- Judy Thomas (WLS HS 9-12) – $1,940 to add books which target special needs, ESL and struggling readers.
  • Elementary School Keyboard Lab - Dorian Buttacavoli – (Page Elementary K-5) $1496.80 to pay for a portable keyboard lab which could be used at all of the Springfield elementary schools
  • Bike School -- Cory Edwards (Briggs Middle School) - $1326.09 to teach underserved students how to build and maintain a bike.
  • STEAM Roll - Joe Hass (Briggs Middle School) - $2,233 to teach STEM concepts through a pinewood roller derby program
  •  Flexible Seating in First Grade - Ashley Buchholz - (Yolanda, grade 1) - $1,303.27 to provide different seating options in an effort to increase student engagement, autonomy, and learning.
  • Learning Language Through Literature - Sara Starlin (Maple Elementary K-5) - $1,601 for books that target explicit instruction in sequencing ideas and explain answers concisely.
  • Tools and Teams Construct Communication - Amy LeRoy (District-wide K-12) - $3,000 to address communication needs.
  • Conscious Discipline - Tonya Reichenberger (Thurston Elementary K-5) - $2,966 to implement a trauma-informed brain-based approach to social-emotional learning and classroom management.
  • Academic and Social Games for Students - Paula Anderson (Douglas Gardens Pre-K-5) - $275 for new games that offer academic and social skills and positive behavior support.
  • Early Readers Foundational Series Constance Anderson – (Douglas Gardens K-5) - $868
  • This grant will implement the Flyleaf Curriculum for students at risk of reading failure.
  • Mystery Science – (Mick Drath Douglas Gardens K-5) - $499 engaging science lesson program.
  • Social Emotional Learning in Elementary “Colleen” Annie O’Meara (Douglas Gardens K-3) - $1,327 to purchase Second Step kits for the rest of the elementary school.

2019 SELF Grant

2nd Steps Supplemental Literature Library - Devon Annalora (Douglas Gardens K-5) - $500 to enable all students in Douglas Gardens to be involved in 2nd Steps

Congratulations to all of this spring's recipients! 

Foundation Background: The Springfield Education Foundation is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization working in alignment with Springfield Public Schools to strengthen our schools, helping to ensure our children are solid learners with the knowledge and skills to be productive citizens now and in the future.

The SEF was created to advance student opportunities and support educational programs that enhance, enrich and promote student learning and achievement. We solicit and provide direct financial support from individuals, corporations and foundations to Springfield students and classrooms. This support is becoming more critical as public (and state) funds for public education continue to decrease.

Donation Information: Anyone interested in funding Innovation in Springfield Public Schools should contact Executive Director Dr. Sally J. Storm at 541-726-3243 or