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Fishers Mayor surprises local teachers with more than $50,000 in grant funding

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness visited local schools this past week to surprise seven teachers with more than $50,000 in funding as part of the new Educator Innovation Grant program. The program launched this year, with $500,000 allocated from the 2024 budget to empower educators within HSE Schools with the resources to bring innovation to the classroom and inspire students to rethink learning.

Recent grant recipients included:

  • John Hochstetler (5th grade teacher at Riverside Intermediate): $35,000 to modernize the school’s makerspace to better support its STEM program, which centers upon environment, agriculture, and engineering. Along with funding renovations to the makerspace, the grant will also fund professional development workshops for educators within the space, teaching them to adapt curriculum and utilize the new equipment for project-based activities to ensure longevity of the makerspace and STEM curriculum within Riverside Intermediate.
  • Anthony Sturgeon and Kevin Stumpf (7th grade teachers at Fishers Junior High School):$1,500 for professional development at the Library of Congress on implementing Primary Sources in the classroom. This professional development opportunity will assist Sturgeon and Stumpf with leading civics education in the classroom and the We the People team at Fishers Junior High. HSE Schools has historically put forth strong performances at We the People competitions nationally—both at the junior high and high school levels. This opportunity allows Sturgeon and Stumpf to better prepare students for We the People in junior high as they progress to high school.
  • Heather Butz (8th grade teacher at Fishers Junior High School): $600 to attend 1st Amendment Professional Development at the Constitutional Center in Philadelphia. As a We the People teacher, Butz anticipates this professional development opportunity will help her better prepare students for We the People competitions and continue to deliver strong performances nationally.
  • Ashley Eaton (4th grade teacher at Southeastern Elementary): $1,095 to bring the Orff-Schulwerk Method of Teaching Elementary Music to her fourth-grade classes. The Orff Schulwerk Method of Teaching is an innovative form of music education that allows students to learn music in a hands-on, interactive, and creative way.  The method incorporates singing, movement, instruments, composition, and improvisation to lay a strong foundation for students’ future musical endeavors.
  • Jennifer Suskovich (Teacher-in-Residence at Fishers Maker Playground): $6,000 to purchase two 3D printers for the Fishers Maker Playground to enhance science education for fifth grade students around the HSE Schools district. The Maker Playground 5th Grade Study Trip at Hub & Spoke provides hands on STEM activities for students to prepare them for future careers in STEM fields. The investment in 3D printers will further impact students’ creativity, problem solving, and technology literacy skills learned at the Maker Playground.
  • Jennifer Harmon (2nd grade teacher at Geist Elementary): $6,300 to implement Vex Robotics, computer science and coding with Geist Elementary students. Students will learn algorithms, loops, engineering, problem solving, design thinking, and more. Harmon would like to continue building upon the investment until Geist Elementary has a strong coding program, to prepare students for intermediate, junior high, and high school with foundational STEM skills.

 The City has awarded more than $80,000 in grant funding to ten educators to date. In April, three educators were awarded more than $30,000 in grant funding for projects including bringing the LEGO Education SPIKE program to the classroom, a pilot virtual reality program, and a STEM lab expansion and robotics program. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and there is no funding cap on project requests.

“I’m thrilled that our local educators are seizing this opportunity and pursuing projects that not only enhance learning in their classrooms, but also demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning through professional development,” said Mayor Fadness. “Their innovation, creativity, and passion are inspiring and speaks to the excellence of the HSE Schools system.”

Grants are awarded by a selection committee comprised of former educators from HSE Schools, community entrepreneurs, and HSE alumni. Committee members include Mike Fassold (retired junior high educator); Kaleigh Arndt (former elementary educator); Brad Jackson (retired junior high educator); Amy Murch (Conner Prairie teacher in residence); Jordin Alexander (HSE alum and City of Fishers Chief of Staff).

Learn more about the grant program at