The Butte Education Foundation has awarded the Great Ideas Grants for the fall of 2018. Grants are awarded twice during the school year to teachers and schools to provide funding for innovative projects and programs that are not funded by the Butte School District.  Since program inception in 2008 over $150,000 in grants have been awarded to Butte Silver Bow Public Schools.




How do you stop young students from fidgeting?  You let them with wobbly stools, bouncy bands, wiggle wedges, and stability cushions.  Katie Whitaker, Whittier Elementary, was awarded $650.00 to purchase equipment to let her students fidget and move while learning.  Active seating options promote body engagement and studies show that movement helps increase focus by giving children sensory input that they need to stay actively engaged in learning.



Similar to the grant awarded at Whittier, the special education contained classroom teachers at West requested a grant to purchase sensory-motor domain equipment.  A Special Learners Toolkit will provide the necessary items to promote sensory modulation, self-awareness, self-regulation, and emotion control.  This is especially important for students with sensory processing disorder, emotional disturbance, ADD, ADHD, and Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  The BEF is proud to award $1400.00 for the purchase of this equipment. 



“A Closer Look” is the grant awarded to Butte High’s Amanda Curtis in the amount of $220.00.  Students will literally get a closer look at biological specimens viewed under a high power microscope by being able to project the field of vision onto the classroom Smart Board.  This will allow for enhanced lessons, facilitate clearer instructions during labs, and allow access to more hands-on biology experiences. 



How do you keep the interest and attention of 7th & 8th Graders?  By using advanced technology in the classroom.  Kacey Queer, Karen Alley, and Rochelle Ryan have been awarded $2000.00 for “Breaking Boundaries”, a grant to purchase Virtual Reality Headsets.  Immersive technologies like VR are expanding the possibilities of education, enabling new forms of instruction across various subjects and disciplines. VR is a new technology used in several STEM fields such as medicine and engineering.



Music is a foundation of learning and at West Elementary and Kennedy schools more students are participating in playing string instruments than ever before.  Hence the need for some additional string instrument accessories.  Sabrina Himley has requested and was awarded $996.00 to upgrade everything from shoulder rests, bridges, bows, and strings on existing instruments to accommodate the influx in interest.  Let the music begin.



“Mustang Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Good Students)” will be a new program at Margaret Leary thanks to a $450 grant awarded to Jennifer Luoma.  The program will invite dads, grandfathers, uncles, and other father figures into the school to provide positive male role models for students.  Their presence at school will demonstrate that education is important, while providing an extra set of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.