The Bridgman Foundation for Educational Excellence has $10,000 to award in Innovation Grants during the 2019-2020 school year. Innovation Grants are awarded to teachers for the purpose of supporting curriculum enrichment and enhancing the learning experience.


Grants may submitted at any time and will be reviewed and responded in accordance with the current year's process schedule.

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In August 2018, the Foundation made its final payment of $150,000 to fund the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) lab located at Reed Middle School.  In this state-of-the-art lab with 30 collaborative work stations, students learn about and use an array of technology tools, including computers, a variety of software programs used in STEM disciplines, 3-D printers, and a filming production lab.  All students have the opportunity to use the lab in a rotation similar to other selected partial year courses. Students choose a project, work in small groups to conduct research, problem solve, and present their finished products at the end of the 10-day class.

2018-2019 Grants

5th Grade Stand-Up Desks

(R. Allman)

A previous grant for 4 stand-up desks proved extremely beneficial in one 5th grade class. Funding for additional stand-up desks provided each of the three 5th grade classrooms with this flexible option to stand. Students who need help focusing or just need a chance to stand rather than sit, have shown marked improvement in behavior and learning.

Screenagers/Internet Safety Video (K. Haskens)

A documentary film to be shown at a Parent/Community forum provides information to parents and students on how to safely navigate the digital world and find balance in accessing and using technology.

Stem Library (J. Klunder)

A library of various STEM oriented materials that are reusable and can be integrated into all grade level reading classes in support of STEM principles and skills. The idea is to provide a natural progression to the Middle School STEM Lab.

Cultivating Creativity (Green)

Replacement display cases in the bus hallway for art in the elementary school encourages positive feedback among students and discussions about art and creativity. It also meets the Michigan State standard for art display of all grade levels throughout the year

Animation in Art (J. Bender)

Building on students’ STEM rotations, 6 th grade art class students will use iPads and software to create stop motion animation videos after storyboarding and preparation with analog props. It also will employ the team work and communications skills used in the STEM Lab.

2017-18 Innovation Grants Awarded

Elementary School Garden Club

(M. Payne, P. Ferguson) for grades 2-4. Teaches students about basic gardening, nutrition and food preparation of produce that will be used in school lunches and snacks. Excess produce will be shared with the community.

Middle School adaptive furniture

(E. O’Shea) for Resource Room. Helps students focus, increase time on task while eliminating disruptive behaviors.

Elementary School Reading/
Listening Center 

(A. Doyle) for Pro-5. Provides supplementary materials for the Reading/Listening Center.

​Elementary School Ruth McNally Barshaw Author/Illustrator School Visit and Parent Night

(L. Payne) for all 350 students and their parents. Follow up projects will integrate arts, reading and writing to all grade levels.

2015-17 Innovation Grants Awarded

Drone for Band Camp

We provided funding towards the purchase the Chroma 4K Camera Drone for the marching band. A camera drone that can be utilized by the marching band will help 60 students a year. The aerial drone hi-def footage will help the band review and improve their marching performance. The band can use the video to self-evaluate and improve their marching technique, improve specifics of the marching show for the year, and evaluate progress/growth.stated that finding students with this level of experience is next to impossible. The Foundation felt this was just another door that needed opening for the students within Bridgman Public Schools.

“Beyond the Pages” Audio Books

RMS 8th graders have to read 20 chapter books over the course of the school year. Slower readers and a-risk students that struggle will greatly benefit from having audiobooks to listen to and follow along with while reading. Audiobooks will help these students to actively participate in classroom discussions and to learn. The use of audiobooks as an approach/intervention has been proven to increase a student’s reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension scores. This grant will provide 30 audiobooks and 5 books.

Reading Lesson

The 6th grade uses a “workshop” model for Language Arts instruction. This allows teachers more time to focus on reading and writing with the students. The mini-lessions give students examples of in a simpler text, taking 15 mins to highlight a skill. Lessons address both narrative and informational texts. Students then can use this information and apply it to their own reading. These skills help students better understand the text and its overall structure and use some of the reading skills to help create their own writings.

CNC Machine: From Concept To Design

Students within the industrial arts department can put to use their CAD drawings by using a CNC machine purchased by the Bridgman Foundation for Educational Excellence.  Bridgman schools is the first known school district to install such a device, giving students a full concept to design learning experience traditionally found in only advanced college classes. Employers within the area have often stated that finding students with this level of experience is next to impossible. The Foundation felt this was just another door that needed opening for the students within Bridgman Public Schools.

BHS Request for 3D Printers Granted

Dr. Dale Quatrain submitted a grant request for two 3D printers and six printer material kits for the high school engineering class. The class will be able to (with software that the class already has) experience the full Engineering Design Algorithm process by addressing a problem, creating a design and producing a product. The class will be able to integrate the existing machining, welding, and foundry equipment, to be used with the 3D printer. The 3D printed object could function as a prototype for subsequent creation though machining a final product, or a mold design that is then used in the casting process.

"Hey Ugly!" Anti-Bullying Assembly

Hey U.G.L.Y. or Uniquely Gifted Lovage You, featured Devin Rush, singer/songwriter who was on American Idol. She shared her story of be bullied and learning how to overcome her lack of self esteem and “self-bullying”  to all 3 buildings. Her message that, “I AM ENOUGH” helped students to see that they are equal, unique, gifted and lovable.

Math Field Trip

Math on Stage- EUREKA! from Kim Lundin and Amanda Veldman. A grant for 36 students in 2 advanced algebra classes (Sophmores and Juniors) to go to the University of Chicago to attend a math presentation. There is a whole curriculum that goes with the program that the students will use that goes along with the Math on Stage event.

Biography Books for the BES Library

The seeds for the enjoyment of reading are planted in elementary school. The students at BES are excited about this biography series and when they find a book series they love, it is infectious and spreads to others. The books are flying off the shelves. Previously, there were over 40 of these books in the collection, and often no more than five left on the shelf at a time as kids are reading them, taking accelerated reader tests on them, and checking out more. In the last few weeks, 15 of the books have been in the top 50 of books most popular checked out in the library.


Increasing the number of biographies by 37 books is a wonderful and needed addition to the BES library, as the children were limited to checking out only one of these books at a time. This has also allowed for an increase of age-appropriate levels of the books. There are now more second-fifth grade reading level books.

2011-14 Innovation Grants Awarded

Nearly $30,000 for second round of  iPADS

for second graders

The Bridgman Foundation for Educational Excellence funded the one-to-one learning program by donating nearly $30,000 for the purchase of iPads® and protective cases for every second grader in the 2013-2014 school year.


With the success of the school’s initial one-to-one learning device program in the 2012-2013 year and donation of over $40,000, the Foundation voted to fund a second round of iPads®.


(Pre-K / Ashley Vincentini & Ashley Doyle).

This is a whole body approach to learning the alphabet, reading, writing and spelling. Zoo-phonics uses the phono (hearing), oral, kinesthetic, visual and tactile approached to learning the alphabet. It also maximizes the brain and its ability to remember names and sounds.

Geography Alive

(6th & 7th grades / Lacy Payne & Alyse Pallas).

This project provides electronic presentations to correspond with curriculum. It allows the teachers to present the material using new Mimio technology, which creates an even greater opportunity for students to interact with curriculum, while meeting multiple intelligence needs for all learners. This application and subscription will have a lifespan of six years and will benefit more than 480 students.

VersaTiles: Algebra1 Lab Mini Cases (Algegra1 & Advanced Algebra1 / Amanda Veldman).

VersaTiles Math is designed as a supplemental mathematics program. The program combines the challenge of a puzzle with the practice of a workbook, offering many activities that allow students to practice skills independently and at their own pace. Students use an answer case to complete activities, in which numbered tiles are used to indicate answers to the activity’s multiple-choice questions. Once all questions in the activity are answered, the answer case is flipped over to reveal a pattern on the backside of the tiles. The pattern is used to check for accurately answered questions. This way, students receive immediate feedback and may rethink solutions to the incorrectly answered questions until they are successful. The ability to make mistakes and self-correct fosters motivation and engagement in students. Skills taught include: number concepts, estimation and computation, patterns, functions, algebra, geometry, measurement, probability, problem solving, and abstract thinking. This will impact at least 60 students per year.

4th Grade Students Visit Capitol

Recent funding for the entire 4th grade class enables the students to enjoy a trip full of learning to our Michigan State Capitol on February 14, 2012. This trip complete with Motor Coach transportation provided learning experiences about our State Government and prepares our kids for the future ahead. Our governor, Rick Snyder, our state respresentative Al Pscholka and our state senator, John Proos took time for a special greeting for our students. 

Practical Wind & Power

(High School & Middle School Shop Class / Hanns Heil).

This project is to give students a hands-on experience with modern 12V and 24V DC systems that provide power (12V, 24V, DC and 110V AC) for residential and remote field applications. This two-year project will impact about 340 students.

This FLIP Video Camera Bundle

(Middle School / Lacy Payne).

This newest video technology will allow recording of student performances and uploading to their school based websites. This additional tool will enhance social studies and language arts projects and will impact approximately 500 students over the next five years.

Southwest Michigan Symphony Young People's Concert (2nd grade / Eric Morris).


All 2nd grade students will experience a LIVE concert on March 23, 2012 to enrich them and stimulate their love for the arts.

BES News (Elementary Students / Nick Foxworthy).

The development and creation of a monthly news show where students will learn time management and creation of a real news broadcast. The project will run for multiple years and includes the purchase of the following equipment; 2 FLIP video recorders, 2 tri-pods, 2 cases, 2 USB cables, an HD camcorder and software to edit and produce the production. Look for these performances to be posted on this website.

2010-11 In Review

Funding of innovation grants deliver Bridgman Students much needed tools to enrich their education. In total, the Foundation awarded 10 Innovation Grants consisting of a variety of projects that involved the Arts, Arithmetic, Science, History and Reading. In all, over one thousand students attending the Bridgman Elementary, Middle and High School benefited.


Grants consisted of a trip to visit the Art Institute in Chicago as part of a geometry curriculum that showed the correlation of Geometry in Art, a RTI-Readers Association that is short for Response to Intervention in reading, a trip to the Southwest Michigan Symphony so that music students could experience and learn about the characteristics of musical instruments and harmony never before seen. Drama students in the 5th and 6th grade classes received funding for personal instruction from a local talent company “Creative eLMNTts”.


Additionally, ten fitBall seating discs were purchased to benefit students with attention deficiency problems. Many other projects and activities were also awarded. This is the third round of Innovation Grants that teachers have been given the opportunity to apply for. The experiences and education these students have gained are paving the way to their future.


The Foundation is proud of the teachers involved in these projects and learning experiences. Funding of a spring 2010 innovation grant delivers Bridgman Students the technology needed to earn the Award of First Place at the Michigan Industrial & Technology Education Society state competition held in Sault Ste Marie on May 6th 2010 for a Solar Powered Tri-Cyle.  The American Society of Body Engineers also Awards this innovative project with a First Place distinction during this same event.

2009 Funded Projects
  • Purchase of BOSU Fitness trainers in support of a PE Department goal to promote lifelong physical activity and fitness.


  • A social studies project re-creating the experiences of a Civil War soldier from a common soldier’s viewpoint.


  • Tools to assist in reading comprehension and writing productivity.


  • Frog Dissection Alternative Lab software.


  • Material to enhance study of Earth’s waters, weather, and climate.


  • Purchase of Calculator Based Rangers to be used with math graphing calculators helping students to become more analytical when interpreting graphs.


  • Materials that will be used to enhance student and staff training relative to conflict resolution and positive behavior practices.


  • Funding to support a hallway mural painting of the history and life in Bridgman, while at the same time teaching principles of design.




  • Also funded through trustee donations was the purchase of 7 digital camera packs for the Visual, Performing, and Applied Arts departments. Elementary students will now be able to use up-to-date equipment in satisfying academic requirements of bringing technology into art studies, while middle and high school students will be better able to document progress on complex projects and also enhancing creative uses of up-to-date digital equipment.


  • The Foundation also funded the entire 4th Grade Class trip to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids. This trip gave these students a real world field trip including a chartered bus tour and enhanced the students knowledge about our 38th President of the United States.

Some Past Grant Winners:


• Butterfly Garden, Sarah Deckert

• Instruments of the World, Rachael Griswold

• Reading Beelievers, Rebecca Hoehn

• American Civil War Unit, Lacy Payne

• Exercise balls for the 2nd graders, Amy Cottingham

• Hands on Solar, Hans Heil

• Glass Fusing, Pam Carlson

• Geometry field trip to Chicago Art Institute, Kim Lundin

• Zoo-phonics, Pre-K

• Young Peoples Symphony, Eric Morris

• Practical wind power, Hans Heil


Innovation Grants provide students additional ways to learn.





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by Bridgman Foundation for Educational Excellence