SFSD Teachers innovate for student’s futures


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Members of the Sioux Falls Public Schools gathered for the annual Education Foundation’s Innovation in Education Breakfast, where they start off their day with food, conversation, and a peek into the future of teaching.

Washington High school German teacher, Britt Samson has seen a lot over the years…

“I travel every couple of years with students. Unfortunately, the cost is getting so high that not all kids can go,” Washington High School German Teacher Britt Samson said.

Thanks to the innovation in education grant she earned, now her students will too through virtual reality.

“This is the most exciting thing for me to be able to take students, who cannot afford the opportunity, and let them experience it,” Samson said.

She’s showing off her investment at the latest Innovation in Education Breakfast; It’s a time to celebrate teachers, faculty, and donors who help contribute to the Sioux Falls School District.

“Above all, it’s raising a lot of money for the kids in the school district and that great things are happening for kids and teachers,” Superintendent Doctor Brian Maher said.

Over 20 teachers received the grant over the 2018-2019 school year. They got to show off their ideas to other members giving them a new perspective on what teaching can be.

“We can teach culture through this… you can even look at architecture, art, you can go to different museums, there’s just so many possibilities to give kids that experience,” Samson said.

And getting students in touch with overcoming obstacles. S-F-S-D Occupational Therapist Kristine Smith developed the concept of toys being activated by switches for students with special needs.

“If a student has limited movement, it’s a really light touch that’s needed to activate the toy. The goal would be that they could use a higher level of assistive technology so whether that’s a computer they could run with a switch or a speech generated device if they have some communication needs,” Smith said.

The next school year is one you’ll have to see, or touch, to believe.

“It’s kick-starting hands-on immersive experiences. Without these grants’ teachers wouldn’t be able to purchase these materials, so it’s really kind of a once in a school year opportunity,” Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation Allison Struck said.

“It just reminds me of how good things are in our classrooms. You see our teachers and you see the technology and you see the tools and that’s awesome, but what makes it awesome is that human behind the technology and behind the tools. It tells me that we have great teachers in the community that we should be proud of them,” Maher said.

These new devices will be implemented during the next school year. Several members donated to the school district at the breakfast and they were able to raise nearly $19,740 to go toward grants for the next school year.

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