LA CROSSE, WI, December 7, 2021 – The generous support of community donors will offer students at every grade level in La Crosse schools a chance to learn new skills and expose them to new ideas — everything from traditional Hmong music, creating an outdoor classroom, to using photography to learn geometry, geology, and geography.
Kindergarteners will learn the principles of balance and control while learning how to ride a bike. High school students who are confined to a wheelchair will have adaptive seating that allows them to participate in class more fully and interact with peers.
Funding for these projects and more are among 21 grants totaling $49,143 announced today by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.
“I am continually impressed at the creativity and ingenuity of our teachers as they find new
ways to help students to learn,” said Anna Prinsen, LPEF Board President and owner of
Modern Crane Service. “We were excited to receive so many great Gold Star Grant
applications from the staff and learning partners.”
Gold Star Grants are selected for funding based on creativity, ability to engage students, and the total impact or reach of the project. Here is a brief summary of the 21 grants:
- $7,000 to provide materials to create a walking path loop in the large green space behind North
Woods International School. This is a first step in a student designed outdoor classroom, prairie garden and loose parts play area. Recipients: Joshua Hein and Oliver Strassman. This grant is underwritten in part by the LPEF Tyser Power of Nature Endowment.
- $4,206 to provide stands and carriers for Lincoln Middle School students playing marching drumline
equipment to reduce back stress and increase accessibility. Recipient: Jason Harden. This grant is
underwritten in part by Altra Federal Credit Union
- $4,075 to provide materials and transportation for students to experience the GROW greenhouse, a
community garden and a farm. Recipient: GROW-Kari Bersagel Braley. This grant is underwritten in
part by Gundersen Health System.
- $3,950 to promote the learning of geometry, geology, and geography through the use of photography
at La Crosse Polytechnic. Recipients: Katy Weber and Maggie McHugh. This grant is underwritten in
part by Festival Foods.
- $3,923 to provide the Hintgen Elementary School teachers with the tools to improve student handwriting skills. Recipient: Katie Zavondy-Olson. This grant is underwritten in part by Trust Point, Inc.
- $3,660 to provide strider bikes for Summit Environmental School kindergarten students to teach the principles of balance and control while learning how to ride a bike. Recipients: Deb Ofte, Nick O’Keefe, Lisa Boyer. This grant is underwritten in part by the LPEF Randy and Lynn Nelson Endowment Fund.
- $3,300 to bring Neng Now, a Hmong storyteller and musician, to share Hmong culture with North Woods International School students and staff and speak about the challenges the Hmong students face as they grow up in America. Recipients: Amanda Wolfgram and Alyson Glenz. This grant is underwritten in part by Coulee Bank.
- $3,200 to provide physical therapy and occupational therapy staff with Mobility Opportunities Via Education/Experience training to help high school students with significant physical needs to maintain their independence. Recipients: Lindsey Shay and Katie Bakkee. This grant is underwritten in part by Dairyland Power Cooperative.
- $2,416 to provide Leveled Literacy Intervention materials to assist struggling State Road Elementary School readers with basic reading and comprehension skills. Recipients: Jac Lyga and Jeanie Ruprecht. This grant is underwritten in part by Fowler & Hammer.
- $2,366 to provide materials for meaningful outside play experiences at Spence Elementary School that encourage literacy, creativity, gross motor development, cooperative play, and social skills. Recipients: Michelle L. Powell, Julie Wilson, Ashley Schultz, Tricia George and Hali Fischer. This grant is underwritten in part by LHI, part of Optum Serve.
- $2,175 to provide adaptive seating that allows Logan High School students confined to a wheelchair to participate in class more fully and with peers by being able to raise, lower or tilt the chair. Recipient: Jessa Ellenbecker. This grant is match to a grant funded with support from the Mary Grace Sieber, Alice Gordon & Viola Forshler, and Robert & Eleanor Franke Charitable Funds of La Crosse Community Foundation. This grant is underwritten in part by Mayo Clinic Health System.
- $1,500 to support bringing speaker Kyle Richard to the high schools to provide sexual assault, harassment, racism, and bullying bystander training. Recipient: LevelUP, Tom Berkedal. This grant is underwritten in part by Mooresmiles Dental.
- $1,500 to create a lending library of self-regulation tools and support materials for Lincoln Middle School teachers to access. Recipients: Nicole Kuecker and Bethany Peterson.
- $1,439 to provide a visual exercise communication system for students with disabilities at Spence Elementary School, Lincoln and Longfellow Middle Schools. Recipient: Hali Fischer. This grant is underwritten in part by Mathy Construction.
- $900 to support a comprehensive 8-week character building and physical activity program for Northside/Coulee Montessori Elementary School girls modeling healthy eating, cross-training, and discussing relevant topics. Recipients: Sara Jorgensen and Regan Mueller.
- $768 to provide access to interactive videos that teach positive social and emotional skills at Logan Middle School. Recipients: Meghan Adams and Katie Nachtigal. This grant is awarded in honor of retired Summit Environmental teacher Tracy Taylor-Johnson and underwritten in part by Fowler and Hammer.
- $729 to bring STEM Club participation to North Woods International School students who are unable to participate in after-school activities. Recipient: Gary Boisvert.
- $720 to provide activities and materials for the Spence Elementary 5 th Grade Leadership Camp to develop respectful role models for the younger students. Recipients: Jocelyn Buxton, Peter Schmitz and Elizabeth Roberts. This grant is awarded in honor of retired Human Resources Director Mark White and underwritten in part by Fowler and Hammer.
- $667 to provide curriculum aligned science games to foster interpersonal and science skill development among Lincoln Middle School students. Recipient: Mandi Hundt.
- $400 to promote science and nutrition through the planting of fruit trees and shrubs at Summit Environmental School. Recipient: Bree Moore-Lawrence. This grant is awarded in honor of retired Summit Environmental principal Dirk Hunter and underwritten in part by Fowler and Hammer.
- $250 to provide materials to turn Hamilton/SOTA I Elementary student drawings into plush felt friends created by middle school students. Recipient: Carrie Wuensch-Harden.
In addition to Gold Star Grants, LPEF provides other support for La Crosse schools, including Random Acts of Kindness to meet needs of students in areas such as nutrition, hygiene, clothing, and transportation. For more information, contact LPEF at 787-0226, or email Denise Vujnovich at: