Back to School Grant: Amanda Fuessel, Springfield Option Site


Amanda Fuessel, from Springfield Option Site, wanted to provide students the opportunity to learn through alternative methods of focus for their specific learning needs in 8 classrooms on their campus. In order to do so, she submitted a grant, “Sit, Stand, Learn” for $1,600, asking for alternative seating choices and fidget stimulus objects for their classrooms. The grant would allow students to have a choice in seating options and focus alternatives that could increase their engagement when learning and working. After receiving her grant on Grant Delivery Day, Amanda was excited to get started!

Once the items were purchased, students were equipped and ready to start their learning in their new environment! As the year went on, students in all eight classrooms started showing improvements in their learning “The engagement from the beginning of the year increased 17% after utilization of fidgets. Engagement in Kinsley and I’s classes increased by over 25% at the mid year with the inclusion of choice seating when looked at in the survey.”

Amanda also received a second grant, “Education Through Experiences” for $4,500. This grant allowed S.O.S to provide students with opportunities and experiences they would not have otherwise and to encourage learning outside a classroom environment. These trips are educational in nature and expand on lessons which were taught both before the trip and after to allow students to make meaningful connections to the curriculum and give a lasting impact to the units being covered.

“My students were so excited to hear we had earned this grant. Most of our student population at Springfield Option Site are less fortunate than many others; not only in that they live on campus at Great Circle but also because most of our student body is in the care of the state or waiting in line to be placed through the foster care system. As a result many of our students have not and do not have an opportunity to go to places such as the theater, baseball games, Wonders of Wildlife or even the Nature Center and Zoo. When students were told these opportunities would be available this year because of the Foundation’s funding of our grant they worked hard to earn them. As we came closer to each field trip date they not only improved their behaviors and increased work turn in,  but they also were able to show measured goal progress in much needed social skills areas. We love to provide outings for our students which will enrich them socially, since many of our students have not had social etiquette taught to them from a young age.”

When asked how the support from the Foundation for SPS impacted the classroom Amanda said, ” As an educator the support from the Foundation has had a huge impact. I know at our site it is especially hard to find funding since we do not have a traditional campus. We lack a PTA and many of the funding support programs that other schools have. Our students cannot fund-raise through magazine, candy or gift wrap sales due to their unique circumstances, so we rely on grant funding for a majority of our needs. Without the Foundation to help, we would be unable to show the students a more traditional school setting with lessons enriched through real world experiences.”

“If you are considering donating to the Foundation I would say it is one of the best places you could put your donations. the money goes to students and schools in need-a true investment in the future! If you are current donor, I would like to say that your donations have given our students hope and opportunity. I cannot express how much that means to all of us. Thank you so much!”