Mat-Su Schools Foundation
         Building a foundation for education...


The Matanuska Susitna Schools Foundation supports excellence in the Matanuska Susitna School District by providing supplemental funding for education. Children are our future. Therefore, investments in improving educational opportunities for kids are investments in our community and society as a whole.

The Matanuska-Susitna Schools Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation organized to support the educational needs of our school district. Contributions are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) and deductible under section 170 of the Code.

MSSF News: Grants application process is now open!
Apply now for a $1000 Gorilla Fireworks Grant or one of the four $1000 Mat-Su Schools Foundation Grants.

The Mat-Su Schools Foundation and the Gorilla Fireworks 2017-18 grants application is due Monday October 23rd.

Mat-Su Schools Foundation, 2016 Teacher Grant Recipients Selected

  • Michael Backus, Teeland Elementary School: $1000 grant for a IoT (Internet of Things) Smarthome for their new computers elective course. To enhance the usual computer skills such as how to type, how to send email, how to create documents, etc., the students learn programming by solving programming puzzles online, building simple apps, and programming robots.

    With the addition of IoT Smarthome students will learn how various sensors work, the difference between analog and digital sensors and how to use various protocols for communicating with sensors. Students will also learn to use a simple API to send/stream information to the Internet and retrieve information and commands from the Internet via a web based control panel. With IoT technology the students be able to control objects in the physical world from the Internet. They will outfit a dollhouse with electronics and turn it into a demo smarthome.

  • Becky Moren, Talkeetna Elementary School: $1000 grant towards their “Project Ocean” field trip to Homer. The 4th and 5th grade five day field trip is the culmination of a 9 week long academic program that includes student initiated projects and intensive instruction in marine science and outdoor education. The academic program includes hands-on classroom projects and intensive instruction in marine science and outdoor education. The curriculum integrates math, science, reading, research, technology and PE skills.

  • Sharon Johnson, Dena’ina Elementary School: $1008 grant to build a leveled library of “just right” books primarily for grades K-2. They will also be useful to the struggling reader in grades 3-5. The library will help the students become more successful readers. The books will provide young readers with a diversity of non-fiction and fiction stories. These books capture students' attention because they cover a variety of subjects and the characters are diverse. The leveled library will be used over and over again for many students, classes, and years.

    Fortunately, the book company is running a “buy one get one free” deal so they will be able to buy double the books.

  • Connie Bamburg, Teeland Middle School: $968 grant for fidget-friendly items. Research by a number of experts supports a fidget-friendly mindset. A 2008 study found that children actually need to move to focus during a complicated mental task. The children in the study - especially those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - fidgeted more when a task required them to store and process information rather than just hold it. This is why students are often restless while doing math or reading, but not while watching a movie. The materials would enhance the curriculum by allowing children to focus on the work required of them, while still allowing their bodies to move.

    Connie said the materials would allow for growing bodies to "fidget" while keeping the brain focused on what they are doing. Items include Hokki Stools, Bouncy Bands for chairs, Fidget Pencil Toppers, Balls in Bands, Air Stability Wobble Cushions, Tangle Junior Fidget Toys, and Bouncy Ball Chairs with Bases.

  • Diane Clawson, Palmer Jr Middle School: $950 grant for mini quadcopters. The quadcopters will inspire students and develop problem-solving skills, logical thinking, organization, precision, inquiry, perspective, responsibility, collaboration and sportsmanship.

    Students spend much of the school day sitting, reading, listening, and writing. While these are excellent and necessary activities, they don't always allow genuine curiosity and hands-on investigation. Flying a mini quadcopter will bring students to the margin of their abilities and give them authentic reasons to push beyond the horizon.

  • Chris Gooch, Colony High School: $1060 grant for equipment to study physics video analysis of motion. Video analysis is analyzing videos specifically for scientific purposes. In physics many phenomenon happen so fast it is impossible to observe with the human eye. By recording the video with a high definition camera, the video can be slowed down and examined to see physics in action. Rotational motion specifically is better studied with video analysis. Students are not only engaged in watching and studying motion but they are also highly engaged in capturing the video as well.

    This grant will allow Chris to purchase 2 GoPro Hero5 cameras, 2 GoPro 3-Way camera mounts, and 2 SanDisk 64 gig micro SD cards.

  • Nicole Kelpe and Joshua Rockey, Sutton Elementary School: $1000 grant for their 5th grade field trip to the state capital. The trip will focus on government and science and will be the culmination of a yearlong study about civics and government. This great opportunity allows students to observe our states legislature in session, and meet the people who make the laws we live by. For the science portion, students will get to compare their local boreal forest to that of the non-tropical rain forest in Juneau. They will be taking a boat tour focused on marine science where they will learn about glaciers and the local sea life. Joining the class on the trip will be a local environmental educator who has been teaching weekly lessons to the class. They will have a strong base of knowledge to build from, and an expert along to guide them! This will help the students compare these two vastly different ecosystems.

Mat-Su Imagination Library
Read more about the Imagination Library
mailing free books to Mat-Su Valley children under 5. Registration forms are available for all Mat-Su Borough residents at neighborhood schools and local libraries. Or register online.

To sponsor a child:   Paypal ($30 for 1 year, $150 for child's first 5 years of life.