Adopt-a-School program highlights LPEF Grants Award Luncheon on Jan. 18

The importance of community involvement in the La Crosse public schools, including the new Adopt-a-School program that matches businesses and other organizations with specific schools, will be the theme of the annual Grants Award Luncheon hosted by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation (LPEF).

The event is a celebration of innovation in the School District of La Crosse and recognizes about 70 educators and others who have received grants from LPEF in the past year.

The luncheon – presented by Festival Foods – is set for Friday, Jan. 18 in the Cargill Room at The Waterfront, 332 Front Street South. Doors open at 11 a.m. and lunch is served at 11:25, with a program ending at 12:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 by mail. Download an RSVP card here, or you can purchase tickets online at our Eventbrite page, with an added fee of $3.16 per ticket. Or call our office for more information: (608) 787-0226. RSVPs are due by Jan. 9.

Kent Handel

Kent Handel, president and CEO of Trust Point Inc., will be the featured speaker, sharing his passion for business and employee involvement in schools. Trust Point is partnering with North Woods International School through the Adopt-a-School program. The partnership was featured last May in an Assignment Education report by WKBT News 8’s Lisa Klein, who will serve as emcee for the luncheon.

Adopt-a-School is a joint effort of the School District of La Crosse and the La Crosse Public Education Foundation. The program matches businesses and community organizations (including other nonprofits, service clubs and faith-based groups) to specific schools. Overall program goals are to:

  • Improve student success in schools.
  • Promote community understanding and support for La Crosse public schools.
  • Channel community volunteers and resources to address varying needs specifically identified by schools, while also minimizing the workload on school principals and staff.

At the luncheon, attendees will be able to learn more about the specific needs identified by District schools, and will be able to indicate if their business or organization might be able to help fulfill one need, or might be interested in partnering with a school to provide ongoing support. Each school has completed a checklist outlining needs — those checklists can be downloaded from our Adopt-a-School web page, or you can contact any school for more information.

The annual Grants Award Luncheon highlights the achievements of teachers and others who have received grants from LPEF in the past year. Included are recipients of 15 Gold Star Grants for $29,000 awarded last April and those who shared recently in 24 Gold Star Grants for $40,300. Others to be recognized include a Wish List grant for $4,100, a Shoah Studies grant for $2,070 and also two teachers recognized at the Board of Education’s annual Academic Achievement ceremony.

Three special awards also will also be presented at this year’s luncheon:

  • Corporate Partner in Education – Fowler & Hammer for its long-running support of LPEF and children’s causes in our community.
  • Leadership Award – Dirk Hunter, principal at Summit Environmental Elementary School, for his work to build an innovative and unique school program supported by a strong teaching staff.
  • Margaret Dihlmann-Malzer Distinguished Service Award – Carol Taebel, a retired teacher and community volunteer with a long history of support for LPEF.

Learn more about past recipients of these awards on our website: Celebrating our volunteers and partners.

Read more about the Grants Award Luncheon, and view photos from past events, on our Awarded Grants page.

For questions about the event, including sponsorship opportunities, please contact Executive Director David Stoeffler at 608-787-0226 or email: