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An arrangement of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” for middle school jazz musicians and virtual reality hardware and software for the La Crosse Design Institute are among the projects funded by 15 grants award Tuesday by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.

Several of the latest Gold Star Grant projects focus on equity and social justice efforts, including purchase of teaching resources and books for reading clubs, and support for an effort to increase the number of teachers of color in the La Crosse School District.

The 15 grants recipients were chosen from among 28 applications requesting more than $100,000. Grants are selected for funding based on creativity, ability to engage students and the total impact or reach of the project. This is the second round of LPEF grants awarded this school year, bringing the total to $70,353 awarded to 47 grant recipients.

“Whether it is $400 or $4,000, we love seeing the joy these grants bring to classrooms,” said Angela Strangman, foundation board president and vice president of marketing for Trust Point. “Teachers deserve the extra recognition and support for bringing innovative projects to life.”

The grants were announced in surprise visits Tuesday to schools throughout the district.


A summary of the 15 grants announced Tuesday by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation:

  • $4,000 to support a community effort to bring award-winning author Gene Luen Yang for a two-day visit to La Crosse in Spring 2019, including speaking at all middle school and high school buildings. Recipients: Kristi Moulton, Linda Watson, Lila Planavsky, Cynthia Halter and Denise Kuethe-Strudthoff.
  • $4,000 to purchase teaching resources and books that will help educators inspire students, help them find their voices and stand up for what they believe in as they seek to address challenges facing our community, state, nation and world. Recipients: Alyssa Gray, Melissa Murray, and Shaundel Spivey.
  • $3,050 to purchase hardware and software for students at the La Crosse Design Institute, using virtual reality and 3-D modeling for classroom projects. Recipient: Maggie McHugh.
  • $2,500 to make an initial purchase of multicultural books for use by students at North Woods International Elementary School as it begins implementation of the International Baccalaureate program. Recipients: Jessica Hembd and Sara DePaolo.
  • $2,400 to provide continuing support for an innovative program seeking to increase the number of teachers of color by focusing on teaching assistants and others already working for the district who are earning education degrees at UW-La Crosse. Recipient: Mai Chao Duddeck, UW-La Crosse.
  • $2,345 to support a one-day retreat by Youth Frontiers for fourth- and fifth-graders at Hintgen Elementary School to focus on kindness and empowering them to be “everyday heroes.”
  • $2,338 to purchase equipment and supplies for new school gardens and education spaces at Hintgen and Hamilton elementary schools. Recipient: Jamie O’Neill, GROW La Crosse.
  • $1,900 to create toolboxes, including books and curriculum materials, aimed at improving student social and emotional learning. Recipients: Resa Hawes and Angela Korson.
  • $1,700 to support new upholstery for benches in the weight room and other upgraded equipment for use by students in physical education classes and student athletes at Logan High School. Recipients: Jordan Gilge and Casey Knoble.
  • $1,543 to purchase equipment for students at Summit Environmental Elementary School to participate through physical education classes for three days of ice fishing each winter on the Mississippi River backwaters near the school. Recipients: Nick O’Keefe, Lisa Boyer and Tracy Taylor Johnson.
  • $1,000 to commission an arrangement of the Woody Herman Big Band version of “Fanfare for the Common Man” by American composer Aaron Copland, to be performed in spring 2019 and subsequently by the jazz ensemble at Longfellow Middle School. Recipients: Charles Schreader III and Kristin Freedlund.
  • $774 to purchase two sets of books on equity and social justice issues for rotating book studies by staff at Southern Bluffs Elementary School. Recipients: Lisa Schreiner and staff.
  • $632 to purchase computer hardware to fully utilize the “Me Moves” series of DVDs purchased in 2015. Recipient: Barbara Oettel.
  • $435 to invite Jamie Nabozny to speak at Logan High School in October 2018 and to screen the short documentary “Bullied.” Recipients: Katie Beyer and Byron Holz.
  • $361 to purchase story cards and wordless books to improve writing skills and social-emotional growth among students with intellectual disabilities at Logan Middle School. Recipients: Diane Block and Alyssa Nelson.
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