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GIPS Foundation surprise teachers and students with grant money

The Grand Island Schools Foundation had over $18,000 in grant money to give selected teachers.

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Tuesday, teachers and students with Grand Island Public Schools got a big surprise that includes money.

The Grand Island Schools Foundation had over $18,000 in grants to give selected teachers.

This is something the foundation has done for 14 years.

Teachers had to apply for the grants.

They ranged from $200 up to $2,000.

With the money, teachers are able to provide more educational resources for their students.

Instruction Coach Melisa McDonald and teacher Bailey Aupperlee, at Shoemaker Elementary were surprised they were chosen to receive grant money.

"We really questioned it. We've been trying to figure out other grant possibilities just in case because we didn't want to give up," McDonald said. "We knew some of the supplies was on sale for Christmas, so we were texting over the weekend and doing a little extra praying."

McDonald and Aupperlee were awarded $2,000 they said they would use to fix up the Makerspace Lab at the school.

"There are little robots, called Ozobots that we have in our grant that we would like to get those for the kids," McDonald said. "These can be used across the curriculum. Inside the Makerspace Room as well as their portable enough that people can take them to their classroom."

Over 6,000 students will benefit from the grant money.

"Our teachers are so creative and they'll do anything to help kids succeed. So, they're looking for opportunities daily so that they can invest in our kids," said Traci Skalber, the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Executive Director.

Teachers say the grant money will open up a lot of doors for learning in the classroom.

"It fit perfectly to empower teachers to design some activities for their students to not only engage them, but to give them some higher level thinking skills," McDonald said.

The school system raises money all year long to come up with the grant money.

The grant funding was established by the Add It Up to Opportunity group, Grand Island Public Schools staff and a community campaign.

Wednesday, the foundation will visit four other schools in Grand Island.

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