Grant commission awards eight innovation grants totaling $25,000 |

Grant commission awards eight innovation grants totaling $25,000

— The Education Fund Board’s Grant Commission awarded $25,000 for eight innovation grants supporting projects in the Steamboat Springs and South Routt School districts.

The commission spent about two hours Wednesday night deliberating whether to award or partially fund 19 grant applications totaling $135,000. Members slowly weeded out grants the group didn’t believe were innovative or otherwise didn’t deserve funding.

Grants were awarded to the following projects.

Hokki stools

Strawberry Park Elementary technology integration specialist Kristi Lear applied for $3,242 in funding for Hokki stools in the school’s computer lab. The commission awarded Lear $1,000 with the intent to fund some stools to use as a pilot program.

3-D visualization

Steamboat Springs Middle School teacher Ben Barbier requested $5,140 for a 3-D television, glasses and class materials, as well as a laptop and teacher training. The commission partially funded the grant, awarding $4,000.

Shakespeare workshops

Commission President Stuart Handloff requested $1,000 for Shakespeare workshops to take place at Steamboat Springs High School. Handloff recused himself from Wednesday’s meeting and a previous meeting when the grants were also discussed. The commission awarded the full amount to Handloff.

3-D design

Steamboat Springs High School art instructor Lisa Derning requested $18,484 for 3-D design equipment, including a laser printer that would be used to produce ceramics pieces during 3-D design courses, including Advanced Placement classes that require students to produce a large number of art pieces. The commission awarded Derning $9,070, with the requirement that she find other funding to carry out the intent of the grant or rescind the money for future innovation grants.

Virtual reality and PowerUp 3.0

The commission received two grant applications from Soroco Middle School teacher Nicholas Loeb for Google Cardboard virtual reality materials and for technology-powered paper airplanes for use in physics and robotic classes in the amounts of $900 and $855, respectively. The commission awarded $900 and $430 for the grants, noting that both applications budgeted for iPods, which the commission thought might be shared between the two projects.

Drone camera

Soroco High School art teacher Jody Elston requested $1,938 for a drone camera to integrate into her curriculum, including use during photography instruction. The commission awarded $1,500.

Outdoor classroom

A group of Steamboat Springs High School teachers, including Kipp Rillos, requested $14,200 for a proposal to rebuild a destroyed outdoor stage, a project that would involve construction, art and English students and be available for community use when completed. The commission granted $7,100 for the project, with the requirement that the applicants find the rest of the funding from another source or rescind the money.

Following allocations, the commission noted that several of the 11 grants that were not funded still represented needs within Steamboat Springs, South Routt and Hayden school districts.

The commission agreed to forward applicable grants to grant writer Karla Setter, who works with all districts and whose salary is funded through the Education Fund Board.

They also discussed alerting district administrators to some of the grants that represented basic classroom needs or capital renewal within the districts in hopes that administrators would consider including the requests with their own district grant applications in February.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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