807 East Avenue South | La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 | 608.789.7600
CMAP plant sale

Coulee Montessori student volunteers dig in

The sound of laughter fills the greenhouse at the Hillview Urban Agriculture Center. Almost three dozen students from the Coulee Montessori Adolescent program are inside. The volunteers are in groups, their hands covered in soil, and they are potting tomato and zucchini seedlings.

“Coulee Montessori is here today helping us prepare for our plant sale,” said Hillview Urban Agriculture Center program coordinator Andrea Schaefer. “They are going to learn a lot today, basically everything about plants – how they survive, both in the pot and out, how to take care of them at home, and what they need to grow.”

“The students love to get their hands dirty and feel like they’re helping,” said Coulee Montessori teacher Nine Dodge. “This a really good thing that we do, getting to try new things, and get to work together in a group. We talk about service learning and about what it means to be a part of a community. They really enjoy that connection and feeling like they’re helping something bigger than themselves.”

The Hillview Urban Agriculture Center has limited staff and relies heavily on volunteers. The center’s staff provide guidance to get the students started on a job and help them learn about what’s going on in the greenhouse, but the kids handle most of the work.

“I really like doing this,” said Coulee Montessori sixth-grader Natalie Schreader. “I like to help out, in the community, to know I’m doing something that helps others. I think it’s important to know what work goes in behind the things that we might take for granted sometimes. You need to know what kind of hard work people put in to get food on your dinner table. I think it’s important to encourage people to do that.”

Interested in learning more about theHillview Urban Agriculture Center or want to volunteer to help, visit www.hillviewuac.org or email greenhouse@hillviewuac.org for more information. The Hillview Urban Agriculture Center plant sale will be held on Saturday, May 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Center’s greenhouse located at 624 Vine Street in La Crosse.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are an important part of our schools and our students’ success.  Volunteers are utilized differently in each school, based on the needs of the school.  Examples of volunteer activities include: listening to a child read, working with a small group of students, completing simple tasks requested by a teacher, etc.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities in our schools, contact the school office.  School Phone Numbers


You may reference our Volunteer Background Check Guide for a full chart of citations and how they may affect the outcome of your application to volunteer in our schools. Wisconsin conviction records can be found online at https://wcca.wicourts.gov.


Please click the link below to submit a confidential volunteer application. Allow at least one week for processing. However, during certain times of the year (beginning of the school year/semester and end of the school year/semester), it can take up to three weeks for processing. To check the status of your application, please contact your child’s teacher or the school office.


Real GIRLS gives students a village, an opportunity, and a voice

Four years ago, Regan Mueller came to Northside Elementary/Coulee Montessori and asked teacher Jasmine Valentine if they could start a student program. REAL Girls – Raising and Empowering Authentic Leaders – may look like just an after school running club, but it is so much more than that.

“The purpose of REAL Girls is to invest in the lives of fourth and fifth-grade girls through mentorship, education, and running encouraging them to be their best and calling out the leader in each of them,” said parent and REAL Girls coach Regan Mueller. “REAL Girls focuses on character building, relationship building, goal setting, taking positive risks, and introduces the girls to real-life opportunities that they may not experience through a regular school day.”

Their mission is accomplished through a staff of coaches and volunteers spending time with each of the nearly 50 girls who join the group each year. Community speakers and mentors include female leaders in a variety of industries and a myriad of trainers who each week introduce the girls to different fitness activities like Zumba, Pilates, yoga, and more.

The club meets twice a week for ten weeks. The girls run every time they’re together, building on distance, speed, and endurance. All of the training leads to a 5k race they run at the end of each season. But running is only a small piece of the puzzle.

“Another very important part of what we do each season is our community service project,” said Coulee Montessori teacher Sara Jorgenson. ”Year one, the girls spent time helping at the Hunger Task Force stocking shelves and learning how an organization supports so many people who need help in our community. Year two took our service project global, partnering with Days for Girls in Uganda to increase access to menstrual care and education.”

“Our last two years brought our projects back home by packing and supplying backpacks of items for children being moved into the Foster and Respite Care program of The Family and Children’s Center in La Crosse,” continued Jorgenson. “The service projects touch the lives of our girls by offering them a chance to give back and support others but also because some of them have had to utilize these services before.”

“Our program gives these girls a voice, an opportunity to see the potential in themselves,” said teacher Jasmine Valentine. “It impacts their lives by making them leaders and change makers but also gives them the strength to go out into the world and make it better for everyone.”

The club is funded through private donations allowing the girls to join the club at no cost.

“I love this club because it’s really inspirational,” said student Alysha Hayes. “I take things we talk about home with me. Things about life, and sisterhood, and just being there for each other. The whole thing is awesome.”

Habitat for Humanity Youth Opportunities

Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area wants to help your children/students learn more about what we can do in our community to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

The Youth Program includes opportunities to volunteer, for field trips, education within the classroom and fundraising.

We believe that every age group can help us build homes, communities, and hope!

For more information check out their brochure: Youth Opportunities with Habitat for Humanity

Emerson blanket project

Emerson Elementary third-graders build community ties

Emerson Elementary School third-graders continue a class tradition by making tie blankets to donate to the Salvation Army.

The school’s third-grade students, families, and teachers donated items to make fleece tie blankets for those in need during the cold holiday season. Last year, thirteen blankets were made by the kids with the help of their teachers and parent volunteers. This year, they will attempt to make more.

The students divide into six stations. The stations include areas to work on the tie blankets but also spots to create handmade ornaments and cards for the students’ families. Tomorrow afternoon, after getting some background information on the project and simple instructions, the students split into teams and go to work.

The project started eight years ago in a single classroom at Emerson Elementary. Since then, it’s expanded to all of the school’s third-grade classes.

“We are trying to teach the kids that our community is so important and when we all come together to help,” said third-grade teacher Abby Ryan. “Together, we can be the emotion, the voice, and the positive action that propels our community forward.”

The teachers talk regularly with the kids about donations, not just through sharing money but through volunteering of their time and talents. The classes discuss the impact it can have when people help those who might not have as much as they do. And during this time of year, how it’s really the season of giving versus the season of receiving.

“The kids have really embraced that piece of the project,” said Ryan.

“Doing this makes me feel good because it makes other people feel good,” said third-grader Riley Hatlevig. “It makes me sad that some people have to spend the holiday alone, that some people don’t have a home, or don’t get any gifts. We want to make the blankets and do a nice thing for people so they know people care. We’re just kids but we can help.”

The teachers plan to continue the annual tradition at Emerson for years to come. The third-grade teachers are already planning for next year. Anyone interested in donating to the next blanket project can contact the school at 608.789.7990.