Simplified: This year, the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation set a record for the number of grants given to new teachers, showing some of the growth in the foundation. Here's what they've been up to.

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls has 108 first-time teachers this year, which is a new record for the district. Each new teacher will get $200. That means $21,600 is going into the school system from the Education Foundation and 29 more grants this year than last.
  • In addition to the first-time teacher grants, the foundation manages a student success fund, which helps bring, food, hygiene products and other necessary services to students in schools.
  • The foundation also gives out their "Public School Proud" grant, which gives exemplary teachers up to $10,000 for school-based projects. Last year, the foundation gave $108,000 back to school teachers.
“It's not getting any easier being in this profession, so if there's anything that we can do to just elevate them and celebrate them, that's something that I want to be a part of," Struck said.

Tell me more about the first-time teacher grants

None of the awarded teachers know about the grants before receiving them.

  • The Sioux Falls Public School HR department shares with the foundation a list of new hires that just took their first ever teaching job, that way the foundation can set up the funding in secret.
  • The teachers will receive the money through their school, so they will submit receipts for reimbursement instead of getting the money directly.
“This is really one way that we can welcome individuals to Sioux Falls and then to thank them for choosing to start their career in the Sioux Falls School District," the foundation's Executive Director Allison Struck said.  

The teachers can use the funds for any aspect of running their classrooms. Eduardo Mendoza will teach Elementary Music at Laura B. Anderson Elementary and Renberg Elementary this fall.

  • He said he wants to buy world flags that represent his students to put up in his classrooms. He also wants to buy cultural instruments to teach his students about diverse music.
“I'm looking forward to students realizing that music is a great part of the world and a great deal for cultural awareness and exposure," Mendoza said.

The foundation will have a second round of the first-time teacher grants this October as Struck said the district is still hiring more teachers.

What about the other programs?

The "Public School Proud" grants are awarded to teachers who go "above and beyond" in giving kids learning opportunities, Struck said.

  • Struck said past recipients have purchased drones, garden grow kits, robotics, light tables and yoga equipment.
  • A total of 410 public school proud grants have been given to Sioux Falls teachers.

Struck said the foundation also provides regular treats and meals to educators and counselors in the district.