Boost for Teachers/Mentors Award

by Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports

The Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports group is pleased to be offering the Boost for Teacher incentive for the third year. Please share this information with your staff. Deadlines are as follows:

Tuesday, January 2nd, Boost for Teacher Announcement 

Friday, February 16th, Boost for Teacher Applications are due.

Friday, February 23rd, the GRADS Board will review applications.

Thursday, Leap Year! February 29th, 2024 Boost for Teacher/Mentors Winner(s) will be announced.

Winners will be expected to submit a paragraph/short summary by May 10, 2024.

Please copy, paste, and fill out the six questions below and email your responses to: 

or mail it to: Mary Lou Bullert, 47822 158th Street, La Bolt, SD 57246

Overview: GRADS, is awarding $100 Boosts to MS/HS teachers, mentors, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and/or guidance counselors who are providing instruction in the area of job skills, self-help skills, communication skills, socialization, working with money, meal preparation and/or empowerment to students with disabilities in the Grant Roberts area. We know teachers/mentors invest much of their own time and money into classroom activities and would like to recognize their efforts. With that in mind and in the spirit of National Disabilities Employment Awareness, one hundred dollar checks will be directly awarded to the winning applicants on Leap Year Thursday, February 29th, 2024. Proposals may be submitted from now until the deadline of February 16th, 2024. 

Target Audience: 

The target group is MS/HS students with special needs and adults who are being mentored because of a disability. This may include individuals who are involved in job skill training, independent living, have communication needs, need support in the area of mental health, physical fitness, or those who are approaching a transitional phase in their education or adults within the community who receive mentoring services. 


Teachers/mentors who are selected for the Boost for Teachers Awards will need to submit a paragraph/short summary of their project by Friday, May 10th, 2024. The summary will be posted on our website. 


1. Is this for a specific individual need or for a group?

2. How many individuals with disabilities will benefit from your proposal? 

3. If applicable, estimate how many individuals without disabilities will be included in your activity. For example, the activity may be done in an inclusion setting.

4. A brief explanation of how you will utilize the $100 (one hundred) to assist individuals who have a disability and are acquiring job skills, self-help skills, communication skills, mental health, physical fitness, socialization, working with money, meal preparation and/or empowerment, such as using public transportation. (1 page or less) 

5. Budget: Please identify how the one hundred dollars will be utilized. This could be an estimate for materials to facilitate your activity. Applicants may use funds to purchase items for their use and the target individuals. For example, funds could be used to pay for both the mentor and target individual to use public transportation, purchase tickets to an event, buy food, or materials for a classroom project. Activities, like Special Olympics, are acceptable.

6. Submit this form on or before Friday, February 16th, 2024. 

GRADS fundraiser brings in over $800 for the local food pantry.

The GRADS pick-a-prize raffle raised over $800 with the proceeds benefiting the Milbank Food Pantry. Winners include: Jodi Dale, JoAnn Tillman, Sarah Weinberg, Mary Bjordahl, Gloria Boos, Merna Howard, Natasha Karels, Cindy Pillatzki, and Kim Eisenschenk.

Check out our news coverage on The Valley Express website.

GRADS Meeting Feb. 7, 2023

Middlebrook Community Room 5:30 p.m.


This brief meeting focused on the Lucky Leprechaun raffle and the Boost for Teachers grants.

Lucky Leprechaun Raffle

MaryLou Bullert shared pictures of donated items. Rachael Johnson brought additional items from Doubletree Gallery, 3 Bean Coffee, Teal’s Market and garden/bird stuff. MaryLou had a printout which listed all the gift basket contents. The three baskets have a total value of over $1,000. Rachael and MaryLou will send thank you notes to the contributors. Raffle tickets were distributed. The raffle officially starts today. If anyone wishes to help sell raffle tickets please reply to this message and we will mail some to you.


Boost for Teachers

We reviewed applications. It was decided to award four $100. grants for Boost for Teachers to be presented by February 17. The recipients are May Amodia from Sisseton (coffee shop project), Karen Siriban from Sisseton (Cricut project), Michele Benike from Milbank (transition program/ job readiness), and Abbey Trapp from Milbank (support for Special Olympics Track and Field event hosted by Milbank). Congratulations to these teachers and their students. Rachael Johnson, GRADS Secretary/Treasurer, issued the checks.



A check for $100. will be sent to Cheryl Pocklington for her work with the GRADS website.


Meeting Schedule

We will meet at the end of the raffle for the drawing and distribution of baskets on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at the Bullert home at tentatively 5:30p.m.

The GRADS annual meeting and election will be on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. at the Middlebrook Community Room, 902 East Milbank Avenue, Milbank.

Boost for Teachers Award Recipient 2022

Left to Right: MaryLou Bullert-GRADS Board Member, PAES/Transition Program participant, May Amodia-Transition-PAES Supervisor/Teacher, PAES/Transition Program participant and Colleen Siegel-Paraprofessional.

Boost for Teachers, a brand-new yearly GRADS initiative, is a grant program that will award $100 to a middle or high school special education teacher working in the Grant or Roberts County area.

To be considered for the award, teachers must submit a proposal for empowering students with disabilities to learn occupational skills.

This year’s recipient is May Amodia, a teacher and transition-PAES supervisor from Sisseton. She earned the $100 award for her work on a lunch project.

The project she developed instructs students how to prepare, cook and serve food. In addition to those concepts, students also learn planning, budgeting, and marketing skills that help them prepare for jobs and independent living.

Congratulations May!