In honor of Martin Luther King Day, the La Crosse Public Education Foundation honored student and staff dreams Monday morning.
Daring to Dream, the foundation’s grants award luncheon, honored the 17 projects and programs in the school district that received $31,000 in funding from the first round of 2014-15 grants. They were chosen from among 28 applications totaling more than $90,000 in requests. Three of the winning requests, totaling more than $8,000, were developed either entirely or in part by students.
One of them would fund a program continuing the work of La Crosse Compassion Project at Lincoln Middle School. At Central High, two of the student-led grants will purchase a trial run of standing desks for classrooms and a tungsten inert gas welding unit and equipment for the school’s welding complex. A number of other grants would help funding for reading, music and technology across the district.
“These are examples of the kinds of creativity we see in our schools every day,” said WKBT News 8 anchor Jennifer Livingston, emcee during the awards luncheon. “King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech still resonates with us to this day.”
Two new endowments were also honored. First, was the recently announced $170,000 Barbara Schroeder fund, the largest-ever single gift to the foundation. Second was the McGavock Family Endowment for Music Education, which was announced this fall, and the first grant will be used to support a partnership between the district and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse for a community visit by artist in residence Michael Colgrass.
Dale Walter, the La Crosse market president of Bremer Bank, was recognized as a corporate partner in education for the bank’s involvement with the foundation. Hamilton Elementary principal Steve Michaels was given a leadership award and past foundation board president Ann Fowler was given the Margaret Dihlmann-Malzer Distinguished Service Award.
The luncheon also highlighted the new AVID program, which helps students learn organization and study skills to succeed in high school and better prepare for college. The program’s first students started at the beginning of the school year.
AVID relies of students’ individual motivation and determination, district staff said. Instead of a program or curriculum, it is a set of best practices educators can use to help students become more effective in their reading, studying and collaborating with their peers.
“I have been in education for 20 years,” the district’s AVID director Jeff Fleig said. “I have never seen anything like this.”