School staff counting on LPEF to help them through pandemic

Teacher Maggie McHugh, top, does a relationship-building activity using Zoom with La Crosse Polytechnic students.

Staff throughout the La Crosse public schools are sharing stories of how the La Crosse Public Education Foundation is helping them cope through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some comments, in their own words:

Alicia Place, Community Services Coordinator: LPEF has always played an important role in my work with students and families, but the need for LPEF has been especially evident during the COVID pandemic. Having LPEF means that we have been able to quickly help meet family and student’s needs that have come up. The pandemic has certainly stretched many family’s budgets, and to be able to assist with some of these financial gaps has been crucial.

Maggie McHugh, La Crosse Polytechnic teacher: The support of LPEF has been a game changer as a classroom educator. Designing innovative learning experiences for my students can be challenging; however, LPEF continually seeks to fund the opportunities that can open new doors for students now and in the future. COVID-19 certainly has changed the face of teaching, yet I know through LPEF, I can find ways to ensure my students’ needs are being met, their curiosities expanded, and their hearts touched in big and small ways.

Dani Hartman, Logan Middle teacher: LPEF has provided the funds to allow teachers to make teaching and learning much more meaningful, whether through alternative seating for my middle (school) students or current, relevant, diverse books that reflect our population of students. Students continue to benefit from these materials despite the pandemic and LPEF is even more necessary now in helping schools provide equitable access to internet, hot spots, and needed supplies at home.

Matt Kitzerow, Longfellow principal: My dad told me when I was growing up that money did not grow on trees. As a principal, I’ve learned that school budget dollars also do not grow on trees. LPEF makes the projects we could not afford possible for staff and students. We have seen the innovative grants and Random Acts of Kindness funds in motion and positively benefiting students in our community. COVID-19 has brought unique challenges and many needs. LPEF supports both basic needs and student learning.

Jane Erickson, Emerson, 4K teacher: With the support of the La Crosse Public Education Foundation, the 4K teachers will be able to make a positive lasting impact on the lives of our youngest learners in the district by teaching what is fair and unfair before racism and biases begin.  Their donation allowed us to order inclusive picture books, multicultural toys, and skin toned art supplies to help ensure all children see themselves reflected positively in the classroom. Through the support of the LPEF, we will be able to read high quality picture books to our students supporting their social and emotional development which is important now more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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