Wayzata Public Schools Education Foundation Announces 2011 From Excellent to Exceptional Grant Recipients

Left to right: Pat Gleason, Wayzata School Board, chair
Tom Cullum, WPSEF board member
Linda Miller, WPSEF treasurer
Mari Colbourne, WPSEF board member
Paula Picard, WPSEF secretary

The Wayzata Public Schools Education Foundation (WPSEF) today announced that four curriculum-based projects, in the areas of special education and literacy, were selected as part of its 2011 ‘From Excellent to Exceptional’ grant program.

This year, WPSEF considered 10 projects and selected four that will extend the regular curriculum in collaborative and innovative ways. The selected projects will receive more than $8,000 in grants as part of nearly $18,000 in total funding for 2011 programming. Additional funding was facilitated by WPSEF through the Wayzata School District. Following are the 2011 recipients:

  • The Sensory Approach to Learning: This program will allow the professional development and training of five district staff in specific sensory strategies for use in three pilot classrooms at Oakwood Elementary School, Central Middle School and Wayzata High School. The sensory techniques will facilitate intervention support for students with learning disabilities, behavioral and emotional problems, motor incoordination, attention problems and other developmental issues. The goal is to eventually roll out these techniques to all schools within the Wayzata Public School District, and to better arm general education teachers with classroom strategies that to improve the school performance and general attentiveness of students of all learning styles.
  • Closing the Summer Set Back Reading Gap of Economically Disadvantaged Students: This summer reading program will help struggling readers in first through fourth grades at Plymouth Creek Elementary. Qualified students will receive appropriately leveled reading materials and additional reading support with the goal of increasing reading proficiency in the areas of accuracy, fluency and comprehension, and to close the current achievement gap.
  • 21st Century Literacy: This program will fund the purchase of 15 eReaders and a library of digital grade level novels and audio books at West Middle School. The goal is to enhance the literacy learning of all reading levels, especially those who will benefit from the auditory and visual capabilities enabled by this technology.
  • Integrating iPads in Special Education Programming: WPSEF facilitated district funding to provide two iPads and customized applications to be used at Oakwood Elementary School. The iPads will enable children with special needs to utilize technology to learn through visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities.

“We believe all students in the Wayzata Public Schools are exceptional, and we are pleased to fund these worthwhile and curriculum-based programs that would otherwise not be available,” Jenny DeWall, WPSEF board co-chair.

Since 2007, WPSEF’s ‘From Excellent to Exceptional’ Grant program has provided more than $95,000 to projects in the Wayzata Public Schools. Prior grants recipients include:

  • Essays for Everyone: a ‘Document Based Questions’ AP- based program for all WHS US History classes.
  • Elm Creek Water and Soil Testing and Research Materials: for students in WHS AP Environmental Science, Environmental Science, and Wildlife Biology classes.
  • Middle School Media Center US History/Geography Book Collection Upgrade
  • Elementary Library Media Centers Book Collection Upgrade
  • Elementary Literacy Project: community/school partnership to provide one-on-one reading assistance to elementary students.
  • Ropes Challenge Course: S.T.E.M.- based collaborative approach (WHS P.E., Math, Science departments and students) to enhance physical education curriculum by designing/building/implementing a ropes challenge course which will utilize biomechanical and physics concepts in P.E. class lessons.
  • Accelerated Summer Math Program at Wayzata High School.
  • Discretionary project funding to support the needs of students in the WPS elementary and middle schools.

“The programs funded this year and in previous years would not be possible without the generosity of past and current WPSEF donors, and we wish to express our sincere appreciation for this support,” said Michael Hagerty, WPSEF board co-chair.

About The Wayzata Public Schools Education Foundation

The Wayzata Public Schools Education Foundation was formed in June 2003 by a group of concerned parents and community leaders who wanted to ensure academic excellence across the district despite unreliable state and federal funding for public schools. The Foundation’s sole focus is to maintain and sustain the high quality of education in the Wayzata Public Schools. WPSEF is a fund of the Minnesota Community Foundation. For more information, visit www.wpsef.org.


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