Our Stories

Teacher Grant Spotlight: Student Wellness

2023-24 Teacher Grant applications are now open! All certificated PUSD staff are welcome to apply by October 6th, 2023.

Every year, we’re amazed at all the different ways that PUSD educators use their Teacher Grants to improve opportunities for students in the classroom. This time, we have a few ways that teachers are improving student wellness, including with social-emotional learning (SEL) and exercise.

Therapeutic Classroom
Nicholas Bruno, McKinley

Under the guidance of Nicholas Bruno, the project aimed to enhance students’ independence and teach life skills by providing cooking supplies and physical education equipment. The initiative successfully promoted self-sufficiency through cooking classes, self-regulation through regular physical activity, and essential healthy eating habits. Students also went on budgeting trips to local grocery stores, fostering teamwork and social-emotional learning. The grant provided nutritious snacks, improving behavior and academic performance among these students. The project’s multifaceted approach positively influenced student behavior and well-being.

Grant Award: $1,000

Viking Fitness Center II
Raul Delgado, Blair IB School

Raul Delgado used his Teacher Grant award to expand the equipment and offerings available at Blair’s Viking Fitness Center. With better access to exercise and strength training, students can improve both their physical and mental health, helping increase their self-esteem. “Students felt valued to have brand new equipment and took good care of the equipment during their use,” says Mr. Delgado. The project also benefited Blair’s athletic teams, contributing to their successes.

Grant Award: $1,000

SEL in the Classroom
Wai Yan Wu, Field Elementary

Wai Yan Wu enhanced Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in her Mandarin Dial Language Immersion Kindergarten classroom by providing resources for students to identify, regulate, and express their emotions. The project introduced emotion vocabulary, breathing techniques, and tools for focus. Though not achieving complete mastery, students began identifying and describing their emotions, using breathing exercises to calm themselves, and gradually engaging with focus tools. They applied learned skills in real-life situations, expressed their feelings more effectively, and supported each other in practicing calming techniques. The project’s positive impact demonstrated improved emotional understanding and regulation among students, fostering a more nurturing and supportive classroom environment.

Grant Award: $640

Just Breathe – Calm Down Corner
Marion Yamada, Hamilton Elementary

Marion Yamada (PUSD’s 2023 Teacher of the Year) used her Teacher Grant to establish a “calm-down corner” in her classroom to help students manage and regulate their emotions. This project addressed the diverse needs of the students, providing a tool for self-regulation, conflict resolution, and emotional expression. The calm-down corner featured a quiet tent space with hands-on calming tools and posters displaying strategies for emotional regulation, such as breathing exercises. The project successfully provided students with an outlet for big feelings, enabling them to validate and express their emotions while learning effective self-regulation techniques. This positive impact extended to the classroom’s atmosphere and the school by promoting emotional awareness and reducing the need for external support for emotional management.

Grant Award: $400

Teacher Grants are one of PEF’s signature programs, and have been around for over 50 years! Learn more and apply at www.pased.org/teachers