In fall of 2020, Francis Marion Intermediate instructors Becky Gustafson and Jamie Shields submitted a joint application to purchase “Think Spots” for FMI (3rd and 4th grade) classrooms. These spots contained items such as fidget cubes, stretchy string, glitter wands, noise cancelling headphones, and breathing balls. The goals of this project were to ensure that all classrooms were equipped with tools for students to de-escalate, that teachers were shown how to use the de-escalation tools so that they were being used with fidelity, and to eliminate the financial burden that purchasing such items was putting on teachers.
The Marion School Foundation funded $930.22 for this program and is happy to report that all 3rd and 4th grade classrooms in the district are equipped with items for students to de-escalate. A PowerPoint was shared with staff to provide clarification on items that were purchased and how they can be used. Staff then trained students on how to appropriately use Think Spots and the tools.
According to FMI staff, “We have seen relief in students when they see the familiar tools in Think Spots in different locations in the building. Students know how to use items appropriately and not for play.”
The Marion Foundation’s grant program provides teachers an opportunity to receive funding for projects that benefit students in the Marion Independent School District. Grants are made possible because of generous contributions the Foundation receives throughout the year from both businesses and individuals as well as a number of educational funds that are invested with the Foundation for long-term benefit.