Monsanto Fund awards Dells school $25,000
Money set for iPad, GPS purchases
September 04. 2012 6:00AM
Advancing the technological skills of its students is one major priority as the Dell Rapids School District prepares to accept an award for $25,000 from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education group, part of the Monsanto Fund.
The organization announced Dell Rapids as a finalist for the grant award process in late July. The district was up for either a $10,000 or $25,000 award, one of nine finalists in the state of South Dakota.
“We received so many outstanding applications from rural school districts across the country,” Monsanto Fund president Deborah Patterson said. “The finalists truly went above and beyond what was expected and stand out as top tier choices.”
Dell Rapids, like many of the other nominated school districts, was partially selected for the award based on area farmer nominations.
High school principal Kim Kludt said that she was happy with the support shown by community members, as a district must be nominated in order to apply for the grant.
“It’s fantastic that they thought of us and are willing to give us the opportunity,” she said. “We’re very thankful to whomever nominated us.”
The administrator said that the school found out about its ability to apply for the grant late last year, when word of the nomination came.
She said that upon meeting with the mathematics, science and agricultural science departments, it was clear how the grant should be written. The grant money is intended for use in the math and science areas.
Kludt garnered information from the teachers in those high school departments, as well as sample projects they wanted to utilize with the proposed purchases, and wrote up the grant, which was then scored based on merit, need and community support, as reviewed by science and math teachers from ineligible school districts and a farmer advisory council.
The staff selected technological hardware that would otherwise be too expensive to purchase, including 30 GPS devices, 30 iPad 3 units, 30 iPad covers and 30 sets of iPad applications, for use in the math and science areas.
“If our goal is to prepare students to be college- and career-ready, giving them access to the latest technology is important,” Kludt said. “It’s just allowing our students the opportunity to use current technology to do real-world projects.”
Sample projects included in the application were measuring latitude and longitude with GPS units and mapping them via the iPad, identifying geological forms by county, state and township lines and logging soil types within a region based on plot yield and rainfall.
Kludt said that many of the faculty are already versed in using the technology and have brought their own expertise to the classroom previously, so expanding the depth of technology will bolster that.
The check for $25,000 will be presented to the district within the next 30 days.