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By Amber Hayden
BOYCEVILLE — During the December 18 meeting, the Boyceville Board of Education accepted two teacher mini grants from the Community Foundation of Dunn County.
The grants totaled $1,500 and were made on behalf of the Healthy Futures Teacher Mini Grant program.
Out of the grant total, $1,000 will go toward a Gaga ball pit, and $500 will go toward the Wellness Walk that students take every week around the track.
Superintendent Nick Kaiser said that when the fifth grade students return from Beaver Creek Reserve they ask for the pit every year, and this year Tiffany Creek Elementary decided to look into installing one.
“The total cost of the Gaga Ball pit will come to approximately $1,300,” Kaiser explained. “The grant paired with $300 from our school’s Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports account will allow us to add this to our playground for all of our students to benefit from,” he said.
Tiffany Creek Elementary will hope to have the pit installed in April which gives the “Be Team” members a chance to teach the rules to younger students and allow the usage of the pit to begin in May.
Gaga Ball is played in an octagonal pit, and is dubbed a gentler version of dodge ball. It is played with a soft foam ball and combines skills such as dodging, striking, running and jumping all while trying to hit opponents below the knees. Players have to keep moving in order to avoid being hit by the ball.
As for the $500 grant, this will go toward the Wellness Walk that students from kindergarten to fifth grade participate in each week.
“Our students in kindergarten through second grade have accumulated enough miles to walk from International Falls, MN, all the way to New Orleans, LA,” Kaiser stated. “Our third through fifth graders have collectively walked from New York, NY to Los Angeles, CA.”
The grant money will be used to provide rewards to TCE student who reach a milestone, such as shoelaces, wristbands, t-shirts, or backpacks.
“The students always have another goal in front of them and an incentive to achieve them,” Kaiser explained.
The Wellness Walk was started five years ago by 5th grade teacher Joan Klassen.
Klassen came up with the idea for students to be out walking while teachers used the time to meet for each grade level.
“If the weather allows, our kids dress for the cold and have a chance to continue to log their miles,” Kaiser commented. “Their determination and perseverance is amazing to watch.”
Corey Day, Angela Hellmann, and Joan Klassen were the three
teachers who applied for the grants through the Community Foundation of Dunn County.