Funded Projects


Students seeking science demos

Becky Knudson – Vernon Middle School
“Down in front!” will be a phrase that can be put to the wayside for Vernon’s 5th grade science students as they have a new demonstration table for their lab experiments.  The mobile table comes with a sink and a full table size mirror so that everyone can see the hands-on experiments.


Jacobson institute summer ceo camps

Phil Cochran – Vernon Middle School
Scholarships were given to students who wanted to attend the Jacobson Institute’s Entrepreneurship summer camp.  The students would work in teams, interact with local entrepreneurs, develop their own innovative product, determine their target market, and even sell their product at a local farmer’s market!


Flexible seating for 3rd Grade

Becky Gustafson – Francis Marion Intermediate
For that student who can’t “sit still” in their seat—help is on the way.  Wobble chairs, ergo stools, and stability balls are just a few of the new options that are coming for those students who need to be able to move around while still staying at their desk.

easy reading e-books

Apra Loomis-Mainardi – Marion High School
With every student being issued an electronic device for school use, why not let them checkout a book from the library that they can read on that electronic device.  To evolve with the technology available to students, the library has received a grant to offer over 40 different titles to students that they can electronically check out and read from any smart device, thus allowing them to carry a “book” with them practically anywhere they go.


sensory materials

Kristina Simmons & Dixie Recker – Starry Elementary
Self-regulation, emotional regulation, and calming practice teachings will be coming to Starry this year along with many helpful tools.  Body socks, a cocoon swing, and a trampoline are just a few of the supplies that were funded for a sensory room to help the students.


Hotspots for the hot summer

Peggy Murphy – Marion Independent School District
Funding was provided for a pilot program for high school students working on credit recovery as well as ELL families to provide Verizon Hotspots to allow them internet access during the summer.  These hotspots allowed them internet connection to continue with recovery courses and to allow them to continue building their English skills using software that they currently use during the school year during the summer months.


Klunky Clavinova Keys

Jonathan Dyrland – Marion High School
With the ever-growing music program at the high school, students will often come in for additional practice and need to assistance of a piano but it doesn’t help when keys on the piano stick or the piano won’t even hold a tune.  A new Yamaha Clavinova was purchased with a grant to be placed in the practice rooms at the high school for students to use during individual lessons, group lessons, and more.


softball tarp

Scott Fruehling – Marion High School
The days of watching hours of prep work preparing the infield for the night’s doubleheader for it to only be washed away by an afternoon rain are now memories of the past.  Through a grant and partnership with the Cedar Rapids Kernels Foundation, the softball has a new tarp that will protect to countless, painstaking hours that are spent preparing the field for each and every game.


Sousaphone for a growing band

Logan Vander Wiel – Marion High School
Strike up the band as it’s time to pep up the crowd!  While most students can use their own instruments for marching band and pep band it can be pretty difficult to carry a tuba out on the field.  With funding from a grant the high school band program was able to purchase a new sousaphone to help with the needs of a continuously growing band program.


independent reading options for teens

Michelle Wilson – Marion Independent School District
With the opening of the new Boys & Girls Club for Marion in August 2019, they will be moving into an empty space with no prior materials.  As the main purpose of the space is for students in grades 5-9 to have a place with available programming after school and during the summer, continued reading is always a priority.  Through funding, the program will be able to start an in-house library with a variety of materials available to spark everyone’s interest.


Yoga & Meditation

Jennifer Fairbanks – Francis Marion Intermediate
Annette Maier – Starry Elementary
Helping students control their emotions and behavior as well as keeping calming and focused are daily practices in a school that are sometimes met with a challenge.  But through a professional development grant, FMI & Starry can add yoga and meditation to their toolkits by enhanced breathing techniques, various poses, and mudras and will know how to implement them into the classroom.

Classroom Collection

Greg Wilkinson & Laura Worden – Vernon Middle School
There are some literary works that everyone should read at some point in their life.  For 6th graders at Vernon, that will be Woodsong by Gary Paulsen.  With a grant, the literacy team is able to add over 60 copies of the book to the classroom set so that every student will be able to follow along in class with their own copy of the book.


Motion detectors for HS Science

Madi Ramaekers – Marion High School
What fun is a science lab if you cannot get your hands in it?  The high school science department received funding for new motion detectors and velocity vehicles to keep up with the growing number of students interested in the physics and motions fields.  This will allow the over 200 students that take these classes every year to be able to participate in class more.

Schoology session

Peggy Murphy – Marion Independent School District
Now that MISD is 1:1 with technology it is time to implement the chosen learning management system for students and staff to use the technology to the best of its ability.  To help do that a professional development grant was awarded to send the Technology Integration Coordinator to a pre-conference of a Schoology Next conference to gain additional insight on how to plan the MISD Schoology implementation for students and staff this upcoming year.


FCS Kitchen tools & Table upgrades

Micaela Combs – Marion High School
Baking class was interrupted the day it was announced the Family & Consumer Science department would be getting 24 new bar stools to match the counter height tables that we already in place in the classroom.  And to help move the tables around the kitchen, casters were also funded so each of the tables can move with ease.

Early MATH skills

Nicole Harmer – Longfellow Elementary
The preschool program has partnered with the Grant Wood Area Education Agency to adopt a new math curriculum that will cohesively align with the curriculum being used in both elementary schools.  The recommendations embrace topics that focus on interactive learning including bug counters, building blocks, memory cards, traffic cones, and much more.


Computer tool kits

Heath Mueller – Vernon Middle School
With everyone using a computer almost every day—what happens when it needs to be repaired?  Students will now be able to learn how to take it apart, replace hardware components, and put it back together with the tool kits that were awarded.  Students will be able to practice on the more than 30 computers and laptops that were donated to the program.


Makerspace for Starry

Matthew Thornton – Starry Elementary
Adding a new level of exploration and creativity is what is on the plate for Starry this year.  A Makerspace has been added and will include high-tech tools, no-tech tools, building tools, art supplies and so much more for both large group and small group learning styles.  The kit will also include robot so students can begin learning about coding.

support for struggling readers

Liz Pearson – Francis Marion Intermediate
With much research and emphasis on reading proficiency at the third-grade level, the library at FMI is expanding their collection of books to include titles that are aimed at assisting struggling readers.  These books will be available throughout the entire school year and can be pulled aside and suggested for students that might need the little extra help.


apple ipad pros & apple pencils

Jen Thilges – Marion High School
To prepare students for college and the professional world they need to learn on varying styles of technology.  For the graphics and digital arts world that learning will be done on some new Apple iPad Pro’s to create technical digital illustrations and two-dimensional artwork.

arrive alive!

Nancy Alderdyce – Marion High School
Driving while texting, driving under the influence of THC, and driving under the influence of alcohol are three different simulations that MHS students were able to simulate in the Arrive Alive emulator brought by a committee of dedicated professionals and volunteers from DRIVE SOBER.