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Classroom Grant Updates

Classroom Grant Comes to Life Through Howard Sensory Stations

By Abigayle Hansen


The GIPS Foundation recently awarded a Classroom Grant to Howard Elementary School to acquire three sensory stations, providing educators with invaluable tools to cater to diverse learning needs. We had the opportunity to speak with Deb Glover, the counselor, and Amy Hannah, the social worker at Howard Elementary, who shared their excitement about the grant and the positive impact it is poised to make.

Abi, from GIPS Foundation, kicked off the conversation by asking about the grant’s purpose, which was soon revealed by Deb, "We are here to give a shout out to the awesome Foundation for awarding us a Classroom Grant to purchase 3 regulation station calm-down carts to be used in our school." The grant focuses on providing tools that assist students in self-regulation, offering a space for them to calm down or reenergize, ultimately reducing referrals for dysregulated or off-task behavior.

Deb elaborated by sharing, "This morning, we unboxed all of the items and sorted and organized them into totes and put the three carts together. One will be utilized in the kindergarten annex; one for the preschool, 1st, and 2nd grade hallway; and one for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade hallways." The strategic placement ensures accessibility for students across different grade levels. The carts, designed as reengagement strategies, aim to provide students with a supportive environment and to empower teachers with the tools to assist students in returning to a focused state, minimizing disruptions in the learning process.

During the conversation, Abi asked about their favorite items in the cart. Deb couldn't help but express her affection for the weighted, scented sloth. "Right now, my favorite is the weighted, scented sloth. I'm sure every day my favorite item will change, but I just think his face is absolutely adorable! He's squishy. The kids are going to love him. And how could you not fall in love with this little guy?"

Amy, on the other hand, favored the building toys. "My favorite things would be the building toys. The gears, the pipes, the Legos, just because it gives kids something to do with their hands and get their minds off of other things to just help them calm down."

Deb expressed her anticipation for witnessing the impact of these carts on the students. "I'm really excited to be able to see our kids utilize the tools on our carts and be able to see how they can help kids, and just hear how they help teachers have some autonomy to give kids what they need and get kids reengaged quickly."

The GIPS Foundation's Classroom Grant has not only provided tangible tools for self-regulation but has also ignited a sense of enthusiasm among educators at Howard Elementary. The Foundation's commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment is evident through initiatives like these, showcasing the transformative power of strategic investments in education. Classroom Grants are designed to fund educational opportunities for students that are not available through the school district’s general fund. As the carts find their place in the school, they stand as one more testament to the Foundation's dedication to empowering students and educators alike, creating a brighter future for all.

Now, more than ever, the GIPS Foundation invites you to be a part of this transformative program. Your support can make a real difference in the lives of students, providing them with the tools they need to succeed. Consider making a donation to the GIPS Foundation to ensure that more grants, like the one supporting the sensory stations at Howard, can be awarded to schools looking for additional opportunities for their students. Your contribution will directly impact the educational experience of students and empower educators with resources to create dynamic and inclusive learning environments. Join us in shaping a brighter future for students and supporting initiatives that go beyond traditional education.

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