For Release: 01/15/2020

More than two dozen area educators named Innovative Educator Grant recipients

Nearly $25,000 awarded to enhance STEM learning

Green Bay — Students across northeast and north central Wisconsin will soon have new, hands-on opportunities to learn important skills thanks in part to the Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Foundation's Innovative Educator Grants. The WPS Foundation is awarding more than $24,000 this year through the grants to 27 northeast and north central Wisconsin teachers.

Each year, the WPS Foundation provides the grants to help 6-12th grade teachers fund interactive projects or initiatives in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

"I believe that students learn best when given the opportunity to engage in hands-on, problem-solving activities," said Tonya Young, a biology teacher at Green Bay West High School and recipient of an Innovative Educator Grant. "These kits will allow our students to have an authentic experience, from setting up a testing method to seeing real-time results that can be analyzed further."

Some of the projects being funded this year are:

  • Green Bay West High School — Kits to separate and examine DNA patterns, a technique used in genetic testing and forensic science.
  • Northland Lutheran High School (Kronenwetter) — Construction and analysis of wind energy systems.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Academy (Marinette) — A small greenhouse to grow and study plants, including tomato seeds that came from the International Space Station.
  • Tomahawk High School — Upgraded hydroponic growing tanks, which will allow students to grow additional produce to provide to their school district and an area homeless shelter.
  • Valley Christian High School (Oshkosh) — New anatomical models of the human body.

"We are convinced that STEM skills are among the most important skills students will need to be successful in the future," said Rick Grundman, a science teacher at Northland Lutheran High School and recipient of an Innovative Educator Grant. "This gift will allow us to add a very meaningful and practical experience to our STEM-based renewable energy course."

Grant helps hundreds of students

Since 2007, the WPS Foundation has provided its Innovative Educator Grant as part of its commitment to enhance student education and support teachers in communities served by WPS. During that time, more than $200,000 has been donated through the grant to fund more than 230 STEM-based projects and activities.

To be eligible for a grant, educators must work at a school within the WPS service area and showcase how the items or activity they propose are part of a well-planned, integrated effort to improve STEM learning. Projects that are awarded a grant often help students in multiple classrooms and in some cases benefit entire schools.

See a complete list of this year's Innovative Educator Grant recipients here.

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WEC Energy Group