The following are brief summaries of mini-grants awarded for the 2021-2022 school year. They represent many tactics to help students with disabilities. Review them and be inspired to apply for your own Dana Brown Teacher Mini-grant for the 2022-2023 school year. Find the application, when open, here. Refer to our main applications page for updated deadlines.

Thomas Bamvakais
SSD, VSP – VA Medical Center
Manners Matter!
This course provided important life skills for our students in a general public and private social/business situations. Children with basic manners are more predisposed to taking turns, cooperating with others and listening to others.

Emily Beger
Ferguson-Florissant, Duchesne
Multi-modal Tools for Teaching and Learning
Provides students with multiple options for learning the same skills by providing them with multi-sensory and interactive activities in math and reading.

Emily Beger
Ferguson-Florissant, Duchesne
Flexible Seating
Seating. Providing flexible, alternative seating for students sensory needs; to improve self regulation.

Patty Benner and Christina Allen
SSD, Litzsinger
Stewards of the Earth II
By adding two solar power sources to the current garden to help maintain clean water for the FROG POND as well as supply a source of power for equipment used in the garden and the outdoor pavillion classroom as well as adding three raised planting beds to grow Missouri native plants, students will learn about the importance of plants and the ecosystem, which will teach them the importance of serving as stewards of the earth.

Patricia Billeau and Barb Raney
SSD, Northview
Common Connections: Bringing ELA Instructions to Life Through Live Theatre
Read and discuss three plays and then go see them performed by a professional theater troupe. Students complete comparative analysis between book and live performance and write reviews for each.

Patricia Billeau and Barb Raney
SSD, Northview
Inclusive Live Theatre (Meeting and Exceeding IEP Goals Through Live Theatre)
Students participate in full scale theatrical production. Communication, social skills, and academic learning as benefits.

Ellen Birch
SSD, Ackerman
Circle of Friends Field Day
We have planned a day filled with a variety of activities. The fourth grade New City School students will partner with an Ackerman friend and will assist them with the many activities planned for the day.

Ellen Birch and Jason Betancourt
SSD, Ackerman
Let’s Make Gingerbread Houses
To continue the annual tradition of making gingerbread houses with Ackerman students and their families during the holiday season with the focus on family engagement

Kimberly Brandt
Hazelwood, Russell
Stock up for Success
Need communication manipulatives and low key assistive technology devices to help students learn via concrete and hands-on experiences.

Erin Capoccia
SSD Countywide, Early Childhood Special Education Program
Early Childhood Basic Needs Grant
The Early Childhool Social Workers want to support students who participate in the ECSE program thru SSD with basic needs, such as clothing, diapers and pull-ups.

Daniele Cerone-Griffin
SSD, Litzsinger
Enhancing Learning Connections Through Core Word Communication
Using GoTalk9+ devices to model related Core Word Language, to support and enhance the learning and communication skills of early childhood students. The GoTalk9+ device supports learning through visual, auditory, and motor pathways, which can enrich learning experiences for students during in-person and/or virtual opportunities.

Victoria Cicotte
SSD, Ackerman
Learning with Loved Ones
Game kits with academic objectives to be sent home for family engagement. Increase in language and communication skills.

Mamie Clark
SSD, Ackerman
Unity Day at Ackerman School
Unity Day. Bully Free begins with me. Culmination event.

Julie David
Lunch Bunch
Students volunteer at the Family Dinner Program at Ronald McDonald house and cook lunch once a month. This opportunity provides a functional setting, an increase in students’ knowledge of food preparation, and how to shop at a grocery store. Navigating the kitchen, nutrition, food shopping, budgeting, money skills, and functional reading are all areas that will be emphasized through this program.

Maura Edington
Parkway, McKelvey Primary
Outdoor Nature Learning
Providing experiences for early childhood students outdoors in nature.

Elizabeth Engelmeyer
SSD, Ackerman
Quilting with a Purpose
Project-based learning activity of making a quilt fosters cooperation, responsibility, and the development of social skills.

Elizabeth Engelmeyer
SSD, Ackerman
Derby Day
All school activity. Buddy classes (older students helping younger students). Pinewood derby race. Academic and social skills as a result.

Molly Raines Evans
SSD, Litzsinger
Learning with Our Hands: A 3D Approach to Literacy and Math Instruction for Visually Impaired Students
Using a 3D printer to create hard-to-find objects will support vocabulary developmen, as well as consistent math tools that are commonly found in 2D printed instructional materials, for students who are visually impaired. Students will be able to hold, feel and manipulate objects created specifically for targeted vocabulary and math concepts.

Connie Fiore and Karlan Bishop
Parkway, McKelvey Primary
ECSE Baby Doll Circle Time: Conscious Discipline
Baby Doll Circle time would help support early learners with their social emotional development. “It can be hard to find the one-on-one time necessary to create meaningful relationships in a childcare setting. Yet, research shows optimal child development is dependent on healthy relationships with adults. With Baby Doll Circle Time, the ration of 6:1 can drop to 1:1 as children relive moments with you while delighting in play with their baby dolls.

Alicia Firman
Hazelwood, Brown Elementary
DHH Trauma Yoga for Elementary Students
The program is designed to support students in learning mindfulness, relaxation, and positive peer interactions with the support of a trauma certified yoga instructor. The program will include a mixture of movement and postures, breathing, art, and hands-on ativities to support social emotional well-being.

Alicia Firman
Hazelwood, Hazelwood Central High School
Teens Cooking Academy – Learning the Basics in the Kitchen for Independent Living
The program is designed to support students in learning basic skills in the kitchen, including safety, cooking, and cleaning, creating a shopping list with a budget, following a recipe using specific measurements and learning how to navigate a kitchen independently.

Rachel Gill and Angela Aromando
Hazelwood, Brown Elementary
DHH Mentoring Program
The project will join Deaf/Hard of Hearing students from Hazelwood Central High School and Brown Elementary to create both academic, social, self-advocacy, language, and emotional growth opportunities for the DHH students in north St. Louis County. DHH elementary students will partner with DHH high school students during monthly mentoring sessions.

Rachel Gill, Amanda Howell and Lauren Walls
Hazelwood, Brown Elementary
DHH Social Butterflies
Students from the West/Central (Bellerive Elementary) and the North (Brown Elementary) Deaf/Hard of Hearing programs will penpal with a peer from the opposite school. Following several correspondences per student – all will meet at Faust Park for a day of socialing and language learning.

Katherine Hartson
SSD, Northview
Student-led Character Education
The project is a student-led activity in which the students design, market, and make school spirit wear using the fundamentals of character education. The proceeds from the project are used to purchase hygiene product kits that are assembled and distributed to local homeless shelters. The focus of the project is to teach cooperation, creativity, empahty, responsibility, and commitment through real life experiences.

Julie Harter
Riverview Gardens, Michelle Obama Early Childhood Academic Center
Conscious Discipline: Building Resiliency in Young Learners
These kits will assist teachers in providing instruction in a trauma-informed social emotional learning environment for the early childhool special education students in North St. Louis County area. The kits will provide the tools to assist students to connect and validate their own feelings, regulate emotions and choose an appropriate calming activity; working with teacher guidance at first, but with the goal for students to maintain self-control independently.

Steve Headrick
Webster Groves, Webster Groves High School
Sitting in Style
Providing various flexible seating options to increase movement opportunities during instruction will help students with sensory needs and increase self-monitoring skills during instruction time.

Ann Hiebert
Ferguson-Florissant, Duchesne
Books for All: Promoting Access to High-interest Reading Materials for Students of All Abilities
Many non-readers still visit the library as part of the school schedule. The “Books for All” project will focus on the process of creating the book for students who are intimidated by books. Students will select topics, pictures, and words/sentences for the books they will make, which will provide many opportunities for students to become active readers and promote meaningful, active participation in the school library.

Carrie Klein and Tatianna Ware
VSP Family Night Out
Connecting parents/families and SSD VSP students with adult support agencies outside the normal school day two to three times a year. Dinner for families followed by socializing for students and an informational meeting for parents/guardians.

Tracy Kroenlein
Lindbergh, Lindbergh Early Childhood Center
Fruit of the Month Club
The club will teach three classrooms of early childhood students how to taste and try different fresh fruits because it is important to learn to try new things and to eat healthy.

Sarah Lehman
SSD, South Early Childhood Special Education Programs
Early Childhood Special Education Project Hope Holiday Assistance
This project would provide the ability to support the “whole child” by purchasing and delivering winer coats and toys during the holiday season. The goal is to ensure that every child has a present under the tree and warm clothes for the winter months.

Jessica Little and Rachel Lute
Ritenour, Marvin Elementary
Full STEAM Ahead! Engaging Imagination and Academics Through Kinesthetic STEAM Opportunities on Osmo
Osmo brings technology-based, high quality STEAM activities to students. Osmo is a system of tangibles/manipulative in conjunction with applications for an iPad that allows students to participate in science, art, coding, mathematics, reading, problem solving, and social skills activities using a hands-on approach where their interactions with the manipulatives result in real-time actions in the on-screen visuals.

Jessica Little, Rachel Lute and Jodie Gordon-Bertish
Ritenour, Marvin Elementary
Building Independence in Self-care Skills for Elementary Students – Year 2
A small YEAR 2 addition to the original self-care and hygiene project is needed to address the gaps in needed items and materials to continue for students to build independence in taking care of their daily self-care needs.

Meg Lovera
SSD Countywide, Social Work
SEF-SSD Care Closets – Kids Helping Kids
Everyday students attend school hungry, tired, unclean, and unable to focus. The Care Closet concept was created to help meet the basic needs of students so they can attend and engage at school.

Erin Madden
SSD, Litzsinger
Restorative Mindfulness and Yoga
Trauma informed bi-weekly yoga session where students practice meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. Works towards mindfulness, meditation, and positive peer interactions.

Jayne Mansfield and Lori Guess
SSD, Northview
Expanding Job Skills for Post Graduation Vocational Opportunities
This project will provide job boxes that simulate work related tasks, which will develop vocational skills to assist with post graduation placement. Ready-made job boxes and work job tasks will provide a variety of vocational tasks for students of all abilities to learn and gain vocational experiences that would not normally be available in the classroom.

Garrick Mueller
Normandy School Collaborative, Lucas Crossing Complex
Technology Center
Two iPads for the classroom would allow students to participate in lessons more, provide daily review and quick feedback, and teach students how to navigate technology.

Alana Powers
Valley Park, Valley Park High School
Uke Club!
Uke Club! is a student-centered, social gathering that is genuinely fun and educational. Students will learn to play a musical instrument – namely the ukulele, but hand drums will be available for those with limited fine motor skills. The club will foster a sense of community and connection for the students, as well as increase overall student engagement while exploring their creative side.

Beckie Rainbolt and Deanna Wright-Coffman
Affton, Rogers Middle School
Garden of Growth
A gardening project that will enhance their growth mindset, while also improving the landscaping of the school building. Outcomes include healthy minds and healthy plants. Gardening has provided an outlet for anger and aggression and helps reduce stress and anxiety for students.

Matt Reyes
SSD, Ackerman
Disc Golf Tournament
Disc golf is a great way to get exercise, without realizing it. A walking field trip to a local park for a disc golf tournament would provide opportunities for healthy exercise, peer interactions, and team spirit.

Matt Reyes
SSD, Ackerman
Fun in the Sun
A planned “Field Day” using backyard games. Students would rotate through stations for hours of activity and fun while fostering sportsmanship and teamwork.

Sarah Romanowski
Clayton, Clayton High School
This Year I Will Love the Work in Progress that Is ME!
This project will help increase the mental health and stability of students. Using an iPad will allow self calming techniques to broadcast via the class SmartBoard. These online resources will help students to learn how to independently improve mood, mental health, and mindfulness.

Kara Rose
Lindbergh, Lindbergh Early Childhood – West
Accessible Tech for Awesome TOTS
A student accessible device would implement the use of technology will encourage increased participation and provide practice with technology in the classroom.

Kara Rose and Jessica King
Lindbergh, Lindbergh Early Childhood – West
Healthy Snacks for Healthy Kids
Providing healthy alternatives at snack time once a week.

Kara Rose
Lindbergh, Lindbergh Early Childhood – West
Innovative iPad for Independent Kids
An iPad would allow students to access educational games, music, as well as movement opportunities. An iPad will also aid in independent learning.

Catherine Schweitzer
Ferguson-Florissant, Duchesne
Cooperative Games for Teaching Social Skills
Designed for students to work together towards a group goal rather than finding a winner. Improves social skills and cooperative learning.

Ginny Scognamiglio
SSD, Litzsinger
Getting Cozy with Core
This project helps to develop a set of low tech Augmentative and Alternative Communication materials that can be used at home by families either as an extension of in-person learning or as tools that can be used to help support virtual learning. The AAC materials include communication boards, manipulatives, and books that target core language. Videos will be made on the requested iPad to provide directions on how to use the materials and how to model language and incorporate the core language across the day.

Angela Slape
SSD, Litzsinger
Litzsinger Green Paws Garden Club
The goal of the club is to immerse students in naure and the natural world, allowing for a re-connection to nature via an established green space (Mark’s Garden) at Litzsinger School. The students in the Club will help establish two to three garden beds with edible vegetables. This project will include students voting on what to grow, planting, and maintaining a water schedule as well as monitoring stages of the plant until harvest.

Samantha Snarzyk
SSD, North County
An iPad for an Itinerant
An iPad would allow my students to easily manipulate technology, especially as it relates to the resources and activities that we have been using virtually.

Kerrie Townsend
SSD, South Technical High School
Special Olympics
Athletic tournament for SSD students.

Debbie Tuitasi and Abby Heiland
SSD, Litzsinger
Healthy Kids = Successful Kids
Many students do not have access to adequate nutrition and healthy food choices at home or at school. This project would allow those students that are food insecure to get a healthy snack at school and practice social skills while interacting with the nurse. It also will allow for educating students about their medications and how they can cause hunger pains and that healthy food choices can make a difference in terms of stabilizing blood sugar. Last year’s “Healthy Kids Program” was a huge success and it needs to continue.

Lauren Walls
Hazelwood, Brown Elementary
Learning Language in a Winter Wonderland
The Winter Wonderland event provides the opportunity for students to utilize their language, reading, writing, math, speech, and auditory skill development, and social skills by participating in a variety of intentionally planned activites while celebrating the joy of the winter holidays with peers. Students will learn and use holiday vocabulary and related social routines facilitated by the teachers.

Tatianna Ware and Carrie Klein
Meet and Greet Vocational Skills Family Night
To meet and greet other students from other sites to build their social connections and for parents/ guardians to get connected.

Amanda Williams
SSD, Northview
Northviewopoly Game
Northviewopoly is a customizable game that will be created based on the original Monopoly game, using Northview information to reinforce Character Education, math skills, reading skills, PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) community building, responsibility, and respect. The game will be used to celebrate student successes and played with principal or selected staff.

Cassie Williams
Webster Groves, Webster Groves High School
Green Thumb Gardeners
The project will help students in the HS Community-Based Vocational Instruction class to learn new skills through gardening and cooking. The year-round garden will add healthy options to meal preparation

Alyssa Yakimov
Ritenour, Ritenour High School
Cooking in the Classroom
Providing student cooking opportunities to provide functional skills needed in life as it relates to nutrition, cooking, and budgeting.