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URBSAF Awards Over $23,000 in Grants To Urbandale Educators

URBSAF Making A Difference Grant 2022 Teacher Surprise

The Urbandale Schools and Alumni Foundation (URBSAF) was thrilled to have the opportunity to award over $23,000 to Urbandale educators — the largest amount awarded to date — as part of the URBSAF Making A Difference Grant Program. The annual program, now in its ninth consecutive grant cycle, is intended to provide Urbandale Community School District educators the opportunity to receive funds for projects and initiatives not supported within existing school budgets. 

On Friday, October 28, 2022, the URBSAF Board of Directors awarded a total of 26 grants — the greatest number of grant awards to date — by surprising educators in their classrooms.

“The Urbandale Schools and Alumni Foundation Board is delighted to again increase our funding for more grants than ever to Urbandale educators to enhance the educational experiences of Urbandale students,” said URBSAF Board Vice President Matt Gardner, who is also co-chair of the Making A Difference Grant Program. “This is one of our favorite times of the year as an organization to make an impression and difference within our school communities.”

GALLERY: View Photos of Teacher Surprises

The following grants were awarded to Urbandale educators for 2022:

  1. Lily Alger, Leilani Emerson, Emily Englund and Terri Muehlenthaler-Homes, Olmsted Elementary, for Learning Math & Reading with Sensory and Motion
  2. Leora Borell, Urbandale High School, for Bringing Ethos, Pathos and Logos from the Dark Ages
  3. Corey Brown, Urbandale Middle School, for Fishing at UMS
  4. Janine Choudhury, Urbandale Middle School, for Sewing Machine
  5. Chelsey Cloe, Valerius Elementary, for School Break Spot Boxes
  6. Julie Ann Cusack, Urbandale High School, for Operation: Reading Corner
  7. Tracy D’Alessandro, Metro West Academy, for CultureALL Learning & Discovering
  8. Laura Darnielle, Valerius Elementary, for SEL & Reading Development
  9. Jon Edgeton, Urbandale High School, for In Memoriam Commission (Reece Cairo)
  10. Jade Fox, Webster Elementary, for Outdoor Learning Space
  11. James Happe, Metro West Academy, for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR LAB)
  12. Emily Hoesly, Urbandale High School, for Cuando era Puertorriqueña-living between two languages, two worlds
  13. Joelle Irvin, Rolling Green Elementary, for Marching to the Beat of our own Bucket
  14. Kelsey Jacobs, Olmsted Elementary, for Language Learning through Play
  15. Kelsey Jacobs, Janelle Kerr and Alissa Morrison, Olmsted Elementary, for Culture Experiences
  16. Taylor Layden, Urbandale Middle School, for UMS Drama Presents: Dear Edwina JR.
  17. Ann Longfellow, Urbandale High School, for Teaching All - Reaching All Book Project
  18. Katelyn McLaughlin and Amanda Springer, Valerius Elementary, for Morning STEM & Play Bins For Our Young Learners
  19. Scott Pederson, Urbandale High School, for Standing Mobile Desks
  20. Christina Piscitello, Rolling Green Elementary, for Third Grade Business
  21. Michelle Rasmussen, Karen Acres Elementary, for Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them
  22. Ashley Swett, Urbandale High School, for Home Swett Classroom
  23. Megan Teresi, Valerius Elementary, for SEBMH Learning Space
  24. Laura Beth Vader Ploeg, Rolling Green Elementary, for The Podcast Masters at Rolling Green!
  25. Halina Vogeler, Valerius Elementary, for Valerius at Jensen Culture Day
  26. Elizabeth Whitver, Karen Acres Elementary, for Go! Kinders, Go!

For more information about the Urbandale Schools and Alumni Foundation and how you can get involved with our efforts or support our mission, please visit our website at

About Urbandale Schools and Alumni Foundation

The Urbandale Schools and Alumni Foundation, formerly known as the Urbandale Education Foundation, is in the unique position to provide support for Urbandale schools, award scholarships to Urbandale High School graduates and connect Urbandale alumni through the merger and partnership of three organizations: URBSAF, Urbandale Dollars for Scholars and Urbandale Alumni Association. To learn more about how you can become involved and make a positive difference for Urbandale students, educators, schools and the vitality of the Urbandale community, or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit:, Facebook and Twitter.