Two teachers who've found ways to inspire Central High students to write poetry are among the winners this year of "inspired educator" grants presented by the St. Paul Public Schools Foundation.
The foundation announced this week it had issued $26,632 in grants to teachers at 13 schools.
The Central High teachers, Anthony Jacobs and Jesse Kwakenat, were repeat winners for their project, "Becoming an Author; Finding our Voice," which enlists a spoken word artist to teach poetry to 10th-grade students who in turn write, publish and perform poetry of their own.
Last year, Central's poems served as table centerpieces at a student success breakfast that drew hundreds of business, civic and school leaders to Washington Technology Magnet School in the North End area. The event raised money for mentors and tutors, and for the inspired educator grants.
The grants are used to encourage critical thinking and artistry among students and creativity and innovation among teachers. Other efforts being funded this year include:
The production of an art "zine" at Creative Arts High School that is to feature student artwork and will be offered for sale so the project can be continued at the downtown school.
The purchase of sensory materials such as light filters, pressure vests and DVDs that can be used to calm students for a return to the classroom at Dayton's Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary, Highland Park Middle School and the Riverview West Side School of Excellence.
An iPad-based project at Washington Technology Magnet School that will have students here and in Masaka, Uganda, use email and Skype to share numerical data about their respective cultures.
The use over seven days of a master puppeteer, Gustavo Boada, to help fifth-grade English Language Learner (ELL) students at Mississippi Creative Arts create puppet shows based on their life experiences. Boada's residency ended with a puppet show for students and families on Jan. 13, the foundation said.
Carol Henseler, an ELL teacher at Mississippi Creative Arts, said she hoped that having students incorporate arts and and personal experiences into their speaking and puppet-show rehearsals would help them with their English-language skills.