Arts and Technology Specialist Wayne Feller applied for an Education Minnesota Grant and secured funding for the “Ripples Project”, which will target needs of 21st century students.
Feller first learned of the grant application opportunity from his building SCEA representative. Feller had not applied for this grant before, but after looking at the application, he was impressed and decided to apply.
Having applied for grants previously, Feller understood many common grant application elements: objectives, timelines, and evaluation. The Education Minnesota Grant included those elements, but within the context of the needs of the 21st century student. The flow of the grant questions asked the applicant to articulate those needs first, then explain how the grant addresses those needs. Goals, action plan, and evaluation were natural extensions of this inquiry process.
Feller didn’t read the grant application, then come up with an idea. He actually created the idea about a year ago (along with other ideas). Feller then met with teachers and forged a collaboration plan with teachers from Rutherford and Stonebridge. When he saw the grant proposal questions, he knew immediately which idea was perfect for this grant. According to Feller, the “Ripples Project” was the right fit because it matched the available grant money, involved a number of teachers, and targeted some of the needs of “21st century students”.
All of the recipients of Education Minnesota Grants went to the Education Minnesota Convention in Minneapolis March 20 to receive training for implementing the grant. This training included understanding financial processes and accounting, using innovation to foster evolution in educational practices, and dealing flexibly with obstacles when implementing a new project or program.
Feller was surprised to learn that most of recipients of this year’s grant program (like me) received this Education Minnesota Grant for the first time. The types of grants that were awarded were also very diverse. According to Feller, he was impressed by the level of passionate commitment grant recipients had towards their programs, although this was not a surprise. For example, he talked with two teachers from a St. Paul school whose grant was aimed at reducing truancy at a school where truancy was rampant. They were going to use contemporary methods enthusiastically for an old and deep seated problem to improve the chances for success for their students.
Feller will work with the following teachers to implement the grant: Megan Prom, Jami Stack, Andrea Vizenor, Susie Mollegas, Kate Papke, Catherine Weschcke, among others. Students in grades 1 – 6 will be involved and will begin next fall.