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SEF News & Success Stories

Innovation In The Classroom

Teachers specializing in the education of children with disabilities bring important knowledge of successful teaching approaches. Often, there is insufficient financial support from government-regulated taxes for creative educational projects, forcing teachers to either fund materials themselves or not do them at all.

Since 2002, the Special Education Foundation (SEF) has been addressing this funding gap by awarding Classroom Innovation Grants annually to selected Special School District teachers.

It can be challenging to find an engaging approach to teach handwriting for children of various special needs. Katie Rohlfing of the Brentwood Early Childhood Center was a Classroom Innovation Grant recipient. With her grant, she implements a Handwriting Without Tears program that involves music, movement, and motor planning activities to teach handwriting before a writing utensil is even introduced.

This strategy builds confidence with pre-writing skills and helps develop the fine motor skills necessary for handwriting.

“This grant has allowed me to offer more Handwriting Without Tears groups, materials, and activities in more classrooms,” states Rohlfing.  “With these materials, I have the ability to offer a variety of groups catered to each individual class. The classroom teachers would in turn are able to utilize the program on a daily basis with their students”

SEF's Classroom Innovation Grant allowed Rohlfing to add more activities and materials and to use with more teachers and in more classrooms. Applications for Classroom Innovation Grants are accepted through December 15. Learn more about this program and how to apply.