Virtual State of the School District event looks to grant hope for the upcoming school year


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The Sioux Falls School District Education Foundation will be hosting their very first virtual State of the School District event on Thursday. It’s goal is to recognize spring grant winners and get an idea of how things will be when school officially begins.

Teacher Chris Bierle was awarded $4,500 in grant money from the Sioux Falls School District Education Foundation in the spring.

Teacher Chris Bierle

“It was exciting… to be able to have the chance to make it happen,” Bierle said.

He works as a special education teacher, and has invested his funds into teaching functional living skills through virtual reality.

“And they’ll put the goggles on and they’ll get to see first-hand what I’m doing along with instruction behind it,” Bierle said.

He’s not the only one working to make a difference. In total, the foundation awarded $100,000 in grant money to 49 educators across district.

“When we started awarding these grants, it really gave them something to look forward to this fall because it meant that, you know, they could be using these things in the classroom to inspire and motivate kids,” Executive Director of the Education Foundation Allison Struck said.

Thursday, the foundation will be recognizing these educators in a virtual event called ‘The State of the School District.’ It was originally set to be an in-person event but, like many things, has been altered because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Do you think that will, at all, affect how you plan to implement the grant when you come back?” Hofer said.

“No. I think that I would’ve done it the same way that I would’ve done it before. Nothing’s changed on that end of it. Maybe a little more urgency,” Bierle said.

The live stream will present teachers and parents a chance to get to know the new Superintendent Jane Stavem.

“We hope and feel that are able to listen to Dr. Stavem and get a preview of the upcoming school year. There are a lot of unknowns, and uncertainty, but it’s nice to have Dr. Stavem come on and reassure us a little bit,” Struck said.

So while teachers are still on course to return to class, this event might be able to grant them some hope going in.

​The live stream begins at 6p.m. Thursday on Facebook. You can also make donations during the event as the money is used to fund the grants.

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