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2023 Teacher Mini-Grants Awarded

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

The Sturgis Area Community Foundation and local service Clubs including Sturgis Noon Kiwanis, Sturgis Exchange, and Sturgis Eastside Kiwanis have announced the recipients of more than $9,000 in grant dollars through the Teacher Mini-Grant program. Each year, mini-grants provide teachers with resources for innovative classroom initiatives that enrich the educational experience for students.

Typically, teacher mini-grant awards support projects or programs including, but not limited to, classroom enhancements that meet curriculum guidelines, expanding existing programs, technology improvements, educational experiences, and projects that promote arts and culture. All Sturgis Public School teachers and staff are eligible to apply and submit an application each year in December.

Meet this Year's Recipients

This month, 19 projects were funded with support from the Sturgis Area Community Foundation and local service clubs including Sturgis Exchange Club, Eastside Kiwanis, and Noon Kiwanis.

Sturgis High School

· Amber Meert – Amber's grant award for "Flex Seating for Reading" will allow her to update her classroom with new, comfortable seating options for students to utilize while reading.

· Meaghan Anderson – Meaghan's grant award will provide new classroom laptops for her 11th grade classes.

Sturgis Middle School

· Andrea Littlefield – With funding for her "Tower Garden Project" Andrea will introduce her agriculture students to indoor gardening. This is a new class at SMS and Andrea hopes that by giving students an opportunity to grow plants, they will gain confidence, expand their palates and understand where food comes from.

· Dianne Wolford – Research has proven giving students a choice in their reading will increase engagement and learning. With Dianne's mini-grant, she will expand her classroom's book offerings and implement a six-week unit in which students will choose their own novel to read while focusing on grade level content standards.

· Jody Cline – Jody's mini-grant for "Kanine Kindness Krunchies" will provide start-up funding for a student-run business that makes and sells dog treats each week.

· Megan Watkins – In support of student book report projects, Megan's grant will allow her to purchase new sets of "Tall Tales Books" for her students to read.

· Morgan Pueschel – With an SACF mini-grant, Morgan will run "Unified Club", an afterschool club providing new opportunities in leadership and sports for students with disabilities and their peers.

· Nikita Milliman – Nikita's mini-grant will be used to purchase "Captain America: Civil War" graphic novels to support classroom learning. Students will use the comics to explore essential questions for the unit like, "What things should the government regulate?" and "How do human rights relate to identity?".

· Stacey Richardson – Grant funding will allow Stacey to make some updates to her classroom kitchen, which supports her life skills and STEM classes.

· Whitney Bast – Whitney's mini-grant award will support the purchase a new Apple iPad to implement Digital Portfolios for her Advanced Art classes.

· Jeannine Koeneke - Jeannine's mini-grant will fund the purchase of Micro:bits, which are pocket-sized computers to give students hands-on STEM experiences in coding and designing.

Eastwood Elementary School

· Katie Wooten – With support from a mini-grant, Katie's Sensory Box project will provide each classroom at Eastwood with a sensory bin for students to use when they need to regulate their emotions. The goal is to keep kids inside the classroom for longer periods of time instead of removing them when they need help regulating.

· Nathan Schwartz – Nathan will use his mini-grant award to purchase new classroom headphones for his students.

Wall Elementary School

· Ashlin Heller – Funding for Ashlin's project "Hygge Comfort for Students" will provide the resources she needs to upgrade her counseling space at Wall Elementary School.

· Krystal Watson – SACF's mini-grant for Krystal's project "Growing Readers!" will support Wall School staff in their efforts to update their school's book room and increase the availability of new texts and reading units for teachers.

· Lauren Cypher – With her mini-grant, Lauren will build a "Regulation Space" for Wall school, creating a safe and calm space with resources for students to utilize and learn to regulate their bodies independently when needed.

· McKenna Bishop – McKenna's grant award will support a collaborative mural project for school hallways at Wall School and Congress School. Students will help design and paint the murals. Additionally, funds will support a student Postcard Art Show.

Through philanthropic services, strategic investments, and community leadership, Sturgis Area Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come. For more information on grants or donor services, email

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