A little money can go a long way in the hands of a creative teacher. The Gerstacker Teacher Mini Grant Program enables teachers to turn unique ideas into reality, enriching the classroom experience for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
Working with the Midland County Educational Service Agency (MCESA), the Foundation has issued $300,000 since 1992. Teachers submit proposals, and the MCESA facilitates the grant selection process. A panel of community members selects projects based on creativity, innovation, and the potential to impact large groups of students.
Recent projects from the past three years include several ideas that use technology to enhance learning. One teacher uses a new document camera to showcase student work and enhance traditional writing projects.
Another teacher purchased digital video camcorders to allow students to record and edit weekly video newsletters that they share with their parents. In these video newsletters, students reinforce what they have learned in class by summarizing lessons and explaining concepts in front of the camera.
An elementary teacher recently used a mini grant to purchase materials for a reading intervention program that helps struggling readers.
“The Gerstacker mini grants encourage our teachers to innovate, often bringing technology into the classroom,” said Carl Ellinger, superintendent of the Midland Public Schools. “Students respond with excitement and enthusiasm, which positively impacts their achievement. We are extremely grateful for the continued support of the Gerstacker Foundation.”