La Crosse ‘IB World School” program gets boost from grant supported by former principal

Teachers and students engaged in learning more about themselves and how they fit in the world will benefit from a major new twice-annual grant program funded by the retired principal of North Woods International School.

Earlier this spring, North Woods earned its official status as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. The staff has been engaged in three years of training and activity to meet the high standards of IB’s Primary Years Program, which aims to develop students “as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.”

Sandra Brauer

Sandra Brauer, who retired last year as principal at North Woods after leading efforts to earn IB certification, will fund a twice-annual grant of $2,500 or more to be awarded by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation (LPEF). The grants will focus on proposals for staff training to build IB knowledge, capacity, skills and competencies in order to support long-term sustainability of an IB World School program. While North Woods is the only district school with IB status, the grants could support efforts in the future at other La Crosse public schools.

UPDATE: The first Brauer IB Adventure Grant was awarded May 25, with a $2,250 grant that will provide training for five North Woods educators. Specifically, they will attend International Baccalaureate training focused on how to strengthen the “inquiry” cycle in classrooms. Inquiry is central to IB education and helps students develop a lifelong skill to get beyond the surface level of knowing. The trained teachers will provide training to other staff.

“I am incredibly proud of the extraordinary efforts of the North Woods International team on their journey to become an IB Primary Years Program school,” Brauer said. “I hope this grant can in some small way support continued growth of the IB program in the School District of La Crosse.”

Brauer served for 20 years as an administrator in the School District of La Crosse, retiring in 2020 as the Principal of North Woods and K-12 Supervisor of World Languages and Social Studies. During her time in the District, Brauer also served as Director of Curriculum and Staff Development, Supervisor of English Language Arts, and as Principal of Emerson Elementary School. Brauer was and remains passionate in support of the high quality, challenging, international and bilingual education offered through the International Baccalaureate program to prepare students for the complexity and diversity of our global society.

The new grant will be offered as part of LPEF’s twice-annual Gold Star Grants program, which awards more than $80,000 a year to encourage innovative programs throughout the La Crosse public schools. Grants support purchase of materials, provide students with unique experiences and help educators learn new skills.

LPEF’s mission is to enhance learning opportunities for students in the School District of La Crosse and to promote community support for public education.  For more information, contact the LPEF office at 787-0226, or email David Stoeffler at: