The Minnetonka Public Schools Foundation funds a variety of teacher grants every year for Minnetonka Schools staff members looking to innovate, expand and improve the learning environment of their students. Stacie Olson, a Physical Education teacher at Minnetonka Middle School East (MME), has been a recipient of a grant for the past three years as she works to help her students have a more impactful physical education experience and give them the resources they need to be successful.
“Our department wanted to purchase equipment that would provide our students with the best opportunity for learning,” explained Olson, whose grants have provided students in her classes with equipment to participate in life-long sports activities.
The Life-Long Activities project aims to “provide an opportunity to introduce students to activities they could participate in for the rest of their lives,” Olson shared. Including units such as Ping Pong, Yoga, Golf and Pickleball along with others, the project allows for an expansion of activities that students can learn about and participate in during physical education classes. Giving students the opportunity to try new things, while being safe and having the correct equipment, was the overall objective of the project.
As the project has continued to progress over the years, Olson commented that she has “seen students become more interested and engaged in the activities we are doing in class.”
She plans to continue pursuing this project into the future and intends “for students to be exposed to a wide variety of activities and to find something that they can pursue outside of school. In any sport where accuracy is crucial, performance improves drastically with good athletic equipment.”
“I have really appreciated the support of the Minnetonka Foundation over the last few years of partially funding my requests to add more equipment to our Physical Education Department,” Olson concluded. “This has allowed more opportunities for our students to participate in activities that seem to have grown in popularity over the last few years.”
The Minnetonka Public Schools Foundation has supported many teachers in working towards their goals of improving students' education. They have made a large impact, and grants have led to expansions in the opportunities available to students.