LPEF grants spur innovative projects; more than $128,000 awarded in 2-year period

Innovative projects in every La Crosse public school and in every curriculum area have been funded through the classroom grants program of the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.

About 90 grants, totaling more than $128,000, have been awarded in just the past two school years. For more background on our grants programs, as well as our annual Grants Award Luncheon, go to our Awarded Grants page.

Here are snapshots of some recent projects:

Plan-Do-Study-Act: a systems approach to improved learning

North Woods International Teacher Iliana Gonzalez-DeRemer engages students in a discussion about the benefits of planning.

At North Woods International School, teachers are creating a collaborative community of learners out of two Spanish-immersion classrooms for 4th and 5th grades.

In the team-based approach, students are in groups at tables, or in comfortable seating around the room. They are learning to use a continuous improvement approach: to plan what they intend to learn; to actually “do” the learning (not just “get” taught); then to analyze what worked and what didn’t; and finally to try alternatives and improve their outcomes.

Students will keep reflection journals and track their own growth through data.

RECIPIENTS: Iliana Gonzalez-DeRemer and Jessica Hembd


Engaging students in academics through musical instruments

Derrick Pangier, Taylor Turner and Damairius Mitjans-Banks use music to explain living systems vocabulary, such as geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.

Students at Spence Elementary are using musical instruments to bring science, social studies and other lessons to life. “The biggest thing is engagement,” says 5th-grade teacher Alyssa Gray. On this day, students composed music to help them study and understand science vocabulary.

RECIPIENT: Alyssa Gray


Study of subatomic particles capped by Fermilab visit

Students in Central High’s Advanced Placement Chemistry class visited the control room at the Fermilab near Chicago in May as a capstone to their year-long study of subatomic particles. Students learned about the particle accelerator and other research, plus had a Q&A session with one of the scientists.

RECIPIENT:  Naomi Golden





New mouthpieces make better music

Alana Seddon, music teacher at Logan Middle, works with 8th-graders Gao Na Thao and Gianna Hutchinson as they use mouthpieces purchased for school instruments with a grant for $1,127. Students enjoy improved sound quality and can play more easily.


Recycling bottle caps and lids into art

Summit Elementary students make art from discarded bottle cap lids, inspired by an artist who visited both Summit and North Woods schools. The $2,050 LPEF grant was awarded to Summit teacher Carissa Brudos and North Woods teacher Maria Mason.

Building math skills with tiny house design

Students put math to work in designing floor plans, then had some hands-on fun using matchsticks to build their tiny houses. The project was one of several aimed at engaging students in developing reading and math skills with real-life experiences and hands-on projects.

RECIPIENT: Kellie Schmitz