Education Innovation Grant

posted Mar 31, 2017, 8:54 AM by Marieme MBAYE   [ updated Mar 31, 2017, 10:34 AM by Suzanne WARDINI ]
We want to encourage community members to help us come up with new ways to improve ISD for our students, to help our students challenge, create and change. I am pleased to announce the third annual ISD Education Innovation Grant. This will provide funding for good project ideas from students, parents, teachers, and administrators that will help our community achieve our strategic plan. The grants can fund items, services or experiences for students and teachers during the 2017-2018 school year. Projects funded by the innovation grants will be considered for on-going funding from the school’s regular operating budget.

Funding for the grants is from the non-tuition revenue the school receives, including our grant from the U.S. Office of Overseas Schools and revenue from renting the school’s facilities. Up to $60,000 will be awarded. The maximum amount for a single grant is $20,000.

All grant proposals are due by April 21 by 9:00am. They can be submitted on paper to Suzanne Wardini in the school administration building or by email to The review committee will meet on Friday, April 28 from 1:00 to 3:30 to determine which projects will be funded. All purchases will be in accordance with existing ISD financial policy and procedures.

Grant Review
A committee of two students, two parents, two teachers, and one administrator will review all grant proposals and determine which grant proposals will be funded and the amount of funding.

I invite you to contact me in person, by phone (766-44-6028), or email ( if you would like to discuss your project ideas or to volunteer to serve on the review committee.
Below is an update of the projects that were awarded funding this year.

Project: WeDo 2.0 Lego Kits
Requestor(s): Chantal Gesland, ES Technology Teacher and grade 3 students
Grant Award: $2,756

Update: I have been experimenting the 12 Wedo 2.0 Lego Kits during two after school activities during the second trimester with 24 grade 3-5 students (2 students collaborating with 1 kit) and the participation of 4 ES teachers. 
Each kit comes with a programmable SmartHub motor, two sensors and 280 building elements, plus software. The WeDo 2.0 software provides an easy-to-use, icon-based programming environment that gives life to student's models. The students have been using our iPads to get directions to build their models and to program them. The software is very well designed and works perfectly. Students get step by step directions and as teachers we did not have to step in many times except to help students find their mistakes and to make sure they were not loosing pieces or mixing pieces with the different boxes. I am going to have another after school this third trimester and my goal is also to have the kits being used in the classroom to teach some curriculum Science topics.

Project: Mindfulness Theory Workshop with Tim Burns
Requestor(s): ISD Counselors and Eric Rodine, Activities Director
Grant Award: $9,350
Update: We hosted Tim Burns for 3 days to speak with all students grade 2-12, ISD parents, and teachers about the benefits of mindfulness for focus, health, and stress. The students, parents, and teachers were able to learn short and easily implemented mindfulness practices to use for themselves, in the classroom, and at home. There are teachers and students in the elementary and middle school who are still using the mindfulness practices introduced in Tim's workshops which was the best outcome of all.

Tim Burns was kind enough to let us Milm his presentations for any parents or teachers who were unable to attend. The video is attached HERE.

Project: Garden Project
Requestor(s): Nyah Gueye, Teaching Assistant
Grant Award: $10,565 
Update: The garden project revived the ISD garden area by making compost, amending the soil and planting a garden. 
Teachers have used the garden this year as an outdoor classroom to enrich and enhance their curricular lessons. 

Classes in elementary, middle school and high school have all utilized the space for science lessons and after-school activities. Students have harvested and taken home produce: lettuces, kale, chard, basil, fennel, tomatoes, carrots, eggplant and flowers.

Project: Robotics
Requestor(s): Micah Hall, Secondary School Technology Teacher
Grant Award: $13,640
Update: The Vex Robotics program is a resounding success. Over 30 ISD students were directly involved in the design, engineering, construction, and programming of two robots for competition. There was a junior team comprised of Grade 6-9 students and a senior team comprised of grades 10-12. In addition to building and competing in the local competition - the first in Africa, the senior team helped supervise and mentor 20 Senegalese public school students in their formation of two teams.

The ISD students began mentoring in January and have devoted most Saturdays until March, the tournament, to help get the Senegalese teams going. Not only did they learn about Robotics engineering, but also got a healthy dose of cooperative and service learning.
Their work has not only educated themselves, but has made a real world difference in the lives of the Senegalese students that were involved. The Senegalese team will also be representing the nation in the first world robot Olympics, First Global, which will be in Washington, DC in mid-July of this year. They will continue to work every Saturday in the ISD Maker Space until the end of the school year. Our own Vex team captain, Ali Ka, will be a member of this first ever Senegalese Robotics team. We are proud of the team building both inside and outside of ISD.

Project: Silent Practice Rooms & Performance Instruments
Requestor(s): Gary Posner, Secondary School Music Teacher 
Grant Award: $9,969
Update: The equipment was used to allow Mr. Posner to implement the innovative practice of informal learning in the music classroom. This model aims to enhance student motivation, enjoyment and skill-acquisition in music lessons by tapping into the real-life learning practices of popular musicians. The Silent Practice Rooms allowed multiple groups to use a variety of instruments in small spaces.

Project: Outdoor Reading and Study Area by Library
Requestor(s): High School Students
Grant Award: $5,000
Update: The library patio project was completed, with a few minor alterations, by the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. Following the steamy weather of October, the patio has been used daily by students. It has become the lunch spot of choice for a number of high school students. It is out of the wind and affords some privacy with lovely views.
Students wanting a quiet place to study when the library and library collaborative space are busy, use it for study. When the library is quiet, students have used the space for collaboration and conversation. After school, the space is used by students from all schools, especially by students with tutors and some students with parents. It has decidedly increased the library spaces and has proven to be a flexible space. One student provides the follow feedback. “I feel like one of the effects our project had on the student community, is that we allowed them somewhere to go at lunch when they want to go somewhere quiet to work or read while still eating their lunch. This is useful as food is not allowed in the computer labs or library, but now they can eat as they work while still enjoying a quiet atmosphere.”

Dr. Alan Knobloch