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FD schools collecting ‘miles’ of pennies

Schools in the Fort Dodge Community School District are collecting pennies — 685,000 of them, to be exact.

Through April 16, the FDCSD is hosting its annual Miles of Pennies fundraiser at the five elementary schools and the middle school. The effort started Tuesday.

Each school has a different goal and a different use for the funds raised.

Pennies — or any loose change, really — might not mean a lot to a person’s bank account, but to the school district, they can lead to new educational resources.

Miles of Pennies challenges students and staff at each school to collect loose change in order to meet their fundraising goal. Each school building keeps 100% of the funds raised, and the Fort Dodge Community Schools Foundation has committed to giving a $100 bonus to each building that reaches its goal.

Did you know, if you lay 685,000 pennies down in a straight line, that line would be 8.1 miles long?

Anyone wishing to contribute can drop donations off at the district Central Office, 109 N. 25th St.

Here’s what the buildings are raising money for:

Butler Elementary School

Goal $1,500

Butler Elementary School plans on using the funds raised to purchase graphic novels and multicultural chapter books for its school library, according to Principal Carmen Banwart.

“We’re really building our library with more diversity and equity,” Banwart said..

To motivate the students to participate in the fundraiser, Butler has different dress-up days and snack days for students. At the end of the fundraiser, the school will have a building-wide dance party to celebrate their success, Banwart said.

As of Tuesday, the students at Butler had raised $400 already.

Banwart said the school will also purchase more social-emotional learning materials for classrooms as well.

Cooper Elementary School

Goal $1,000

Cooper Elementary School Principal Lynnae Harvey said the school is fundraising for a new basketball hoop on its playground because one was broken over last summer.

“We have three of them, but once things get broken or start to fall apart, I think the community and students think it’s not valued,” Harvey said. “So I want it to still look nice, like we value it and are taking care of it.”

The classrooms have different smaller fundraising goals with rewards, like if a class raises $25, they will have a popcorn reading party, or if they raise $35, they will have a bubble party.

Duncombe Elementary School

Goal $1,000

Duncombe Elementary School will use its funds raised to purchase more books for its school library.

“We just love to put books into the hands of our kids,” Principal Ryan Flaherty said.

There is a rivalry between the classrooms and grade levels to see who can raise the most money, with the winners being awarded an extra recess or a dodgeball game against teachers. If the entire building reaches its goal, they will have a popcorn party.

Duncombe has a “bonus goal,” Flaherty said. If the building rases an extra $300, the class that raises the most will get to choose between having the principal kiss a pig or the administrative staff play a game of “BeanBoozled,” which is a game where the players eat jelly beans that some taste good and some have flavors like booger.

Feelhaver Elementary School

Goal $1,000

Feelhaver Elementary School Principal Sara Fitzgerald said the school plans on using its monies to purchase equipment for recess play and the building’s Makerspace.

“We have different dress-up days during the weeks of Miles of Pennies,” Fitzgerald said of the events.

Classes are competing to be the top fundraisers to win prizes like a popcorn and movie day and an extra recess.

Feelhaver is also doing a staff challenge jar, where students can put money into their classroom’s jar to raise money so they can win a prize or to put a pie in a teacher’s face. If the school meets its building goal, Fitzgerald, the school secretary and a few students drawn at random will play a game of BeanBoozled to be live-streamed to the rest of the classes.

“I think anytime we can have our kids play active roles in raising money to help our school or our community, they just eat it up and they really love the challenge,” Fitzgerald said.

Riverside Early Learning Center

Goal $350

Riverside Early Learning Center has a more modest fundraising goal as the building has fewer students than the other buildings, Principal Tabitha Acree said.

The school is having different themed days for students during this fundraiser. On Tuesday, students could bring a stuffed animal to school for the day. They were asked to bring a 50-cent donation, but students could participate without donating, Acree said.

The funds raised by Riverside students and staff will be used to purchase science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) materials and activities for the media center.

“It makes learning fun and very hands-on and kids get to be creative and problem solve and apply learning from the classroom in a different method,” Acree said.

Fort Dodge Middle School

Goal $2,000

The $2,000 goal for Fort Dodge Middle School averages to about $250 for each pod within the building, Principal Aaron Davidson said.

The funds raised during this year’s Miles of Pennies fundraiser won’t actually be used until next school year, as the school plans on using them for transition events for students going from fifth grade to sixth grade. This year’s fifth-graders are the last to be at the middle school and starting next year, the fifth grade will be at the elementary school level.

“A pancake breakfast, a family movie night,” Davidson said were some transition events the school plans on holding.

During the fundraiser, teachers can pay $2 a day to wear jeans.

There will be more prizes for classes and pods that raise the most money, but those details haven’t been finalized yet, Davidson said.

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