2022 Teacher Grants

Imagine Learning for English Language Learners
Amount: $1,800
Location: District-Wide ELL Program
Applicant: Aimee Dittmer

In the 2021-2022 academic school year, Hudsonville Public Schools welcomed 22 English Language Learner (EL) immigrants to classrooms across the district. That is 5.5 times as many enrolled EL students as the year before, and the number is expected to continue to grow. EL students are identified as multilingual learners who have low levels of English language proficiency and may be new to the United States. Currently, HPS has 123 EL students across the district, or 1.1% of the student population are ELs.

The HPS EL program is dedicated to helping multilingual learners succeed academically in their K-12 classrooms. With a $1,800 grant from the Hudsonville Education Foundation, EL teachers Aimee Dittmer, Sarah VanWieren, Hannah Le, Darien Stimley, and Eemma Iseman purchased licenses for Imagine Learning, a research-backed, content-based online curriculum.

Individually tailored to their specific learning needs, EL students with the lowest English proficiency currently use this online platform. Students benefit from building their English language proficiency and literacy skills with first-language support in 15 different languages. In addition, EL teachers benefit from testing the Imagine Learning platform without committing HPS district or EL program resources.

Literacy Took Kit for Phonemic Awareness
Amount: $900
Location: Jamestown Lower Elementary

Applicant: Lindsey Horlings

Thanks to your support, kindergarteners at Jamestown Lower Elementary are benefiting from supplemental phonemic practice tools to help build their foundational pre-reading skills. (Think identifying letters, letter and vowel sounds, syllables and blending individual sounds to make a word.)

With a $900 grant from the Hudsonville Education Foundation, Ms. Horlings and the kindergarten team purchased items such as mirrors, mouth cards, magnetic wands, Elkonin boxes, preassembled LETRS Lit Kits, and more for students to practice their phonemic awareness. Early mastery of these skills predicts future reading and writing success.

Students enjoy the new classroom additions in small groups during literacy center time. Future students will be able to use them for years to come.

Digital Piano
Amount: $2,000
Location: Hudsonville High School
Applicant: Deb Andre

Mrs. Deb Andre, HHS choir teacher, received a $2,000 grant from the Hudsonville Education Foundation to replace the music department’s 23-year-old, irreparable digital piano. The brand-new digital piano will be used with 230+ choir students, 150+ musical students, middle school choirs, and orchestras for their concerts. 

Digital keyboards can patch different instrument sounds, change the key of any song, and, most importantly, record music for students’ future use. This lessens the need to have a piano accompanist present at every rehearsal. Accompanist playing differs from a general audio recording because the keyboard’s recording allows artistic freedom in following how students sing the song. In addition, the digital piano audio gets “patched” into the auditorium sound system to feed music to monitors and speakers for optimal listening enjoyment. 

Soft Start Morning Tubs
Amount: $250
Location: Georgetown Elementary School
Applicant: Allix Hutchinson

Ms. Allix Hutchinson, a Georgetown Elementary school teacher, implemented “soft start morning tubs” in her classroom by purchasing small toys and sensory manipulative objects with a $250 grant from the Hudsonville Education Foundation.

A “soft start” provides 10-15 minutes of intentional play for students to work with different activities in each bin. Allowing students to settle in, make an independent choices, talk to their friends, connect with their teacher, and move around the classroom during soft-start offers many benefits.

This time promotes problem-solving skills, develops conversation norms, and creates imaginative play opportunities. Students gain a greater capacity to focus during lessons, increase verbal language comprehension, which aids in reading and develop a sense of ownership and pride in their classroom community.

  • Raz Kids Reading App – Ms. Lindsay Morris, Ms. Natalie Klapko, Ms. Jessica Kopka

Georgetown Elementary

  • Schoolwide Shared Decodable Book Library – Ms. Jennifer Stutz, Ms. Jennifer Baker, Ms. Kierstin Mowinski, Ms. Julie Reifschneider
  • Soft Start Morning Tubs – Ms. Allix Hutchison

Park Elementary

  • Balanced Classroom Literacy Library – Ms. Jodi Durham

Riley Street Middle School

  • Earbuds for Readers – Ms. Lauri Achterhof

High School

  • Digital Choir Piano – Ms. Deb Andre
  • Adaptive Percussion Ensemble for Special Education – Mr. Craig VanderWall
  • TI83 Graphing Calculators – Ms. Andrea Twigg
  • PSAT/SAT Scientific Calculators – Mr. Joe Szymanski
  • Laser Engraver/Cutter – Ms. Kris Payton

Past HEF Grant Awards