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LA CROSSE, Wis., (April 13, 2023) – Made possible through generous community support, La Crosse Public Education Foundation (LPEF) is proud to support students at all grade levels with our spring Gold Star Grants. Funded projects provide students and teachers a chance to learn new skills, have new experiences, and to be exposed to new ideas — everything from tricycles and strider bikes, to visiting Iditarod dog kennels, state parks, and a Teen Lit Con, to math games and manipulatives and Wonderbooks. 

Funding for these projects and more is made through 22 grants totaling $41,500 announced today by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation. 

The grants awarded today support our teachers and their creative ideas. They provide Culturally Responsive Teaching training for music teachers, S.M.A.R.T. training for Pre-K through 1st-grade teachers, and training for high school Special Education teachers to enhance equitable education. Students will learn pottery and cookie decorating, receive CPR training, and have opportunities to explore identity, hone math skills in summer school, and prepare for assessment with K’Nex manipulatives. 

“These grants provide students and teachers with tools and experiences that will allow them to grow and expand in new ways,” said President of the La Crosse Public Education Foundation Board of Directors, Dr. Tom Thompson. “It is such a pleasure to support our teachers in providing the excellent education our students deserve. We are grateful to those who give to LPEF so that our schools can continue to thrive.” 

Gold Star Grants are selected for funding based on creativity, the ability to engage students, and the total impact or reach of the project throughout the district.

La Crosse Public Education Foundation
Hamilton Elementary School student teacher Amanda Scarborough accepts a Gold Star Grant.

Here is a brief summary of the 22 grants: 

– $9,065 Provides S.M.A.R.T. training and tool kits for regular and Special Ed teachers across the district in Early Childhood through 1st grade. Recipients: Lindsey Shay, Michelle Powell, Barbara Oettel, Nicole Kuecker, Hannah DeYoung. This grant is underwritten in part by the Richard Swantz Endowment Fund of the La Crosse Community Foundation. 

– $4,626 Provides Culturally Responsive Teaching training for elementary and middle school music teachers. Recipients: Amanda Wolfgram, Anna Taylor, Brian Renkas 

– $3,970 Supplies 1st-grade classes at State Road with books that correlate with grade-level topics to be sent home for reading practice. Recipient: Rachel Woods 

– $3,500 To purchase strider bikes and curriculum for kindergarten students at Spence. Recipients: Paul Holman, Julie Wilson, Tricia George, Ashley Schultz, Emily Vien 

– $2,400 Funds the purchase of K’Nex materials to teach geometry and measurement for Longfellow 7th grade students. Recipients: Liz Ramsay, Kelsey Ferkingstad, Haley Williams. This grant is underwritten in part by the LPEF Judy and Randy Eddy Sr. Fund. 

– $2,000 Funds a visit to the dog kennels of author and trainer, Debra Glenn, to enhance an Iditarod class for 2nd and 3rd grades at Northside. Recipient: Deb Sullivan 

– $1,801 To purchase Virtual Reality Headsets for students at Northside to use in STEAM lab. Recipient: Kyle Allen. This grant is underwritten in part by the Dr. Gunnar and Mary Baldwin Gundersen Fund of the La Crosse Community Foundation. 

– $1,560 Supports CMAP field trips for 6-8 grade students to Wyalusing State Park, Perrot Park, and Deep Roots Community Farm. Recipient: Nine Dodge. This grant is underwritten in part by the Tyser Power of Nature Fund

– $1,446 To purchase tricycles and outdoor play materials for early childhood/preschool students at Summit. Recipients: Cathy Leon, Lindsey Fox 

– $1,330 Professional development for Logan High Special Ed teachers regarding assistive technology resources and tools to enhance equitable education. Recipients: Emily Hauser Smith, Greg Milligan 

– $1,306 Provides funds for a trip for middle and high school students to a one-day Teen Lit Con near Minneapolis. Recipients: Cindy Halter, Kristi Moulton, Chris Schiffer, Lila Planavsky, Abby Von Arx, Carrie Wuensch-Harden. This grant is underwritten in part by the Rachel Gundersen Endowment for the Arts and Humanities 

– $1,128 To increase reading comprehension, executive functioning, and interpersonal skills through outdoor experiential learning for Logan High students with disabilities. Recipients: Gregory Milligan, Emily Hauser Smith 

– $1,090 Provides resources for Northside/Coulee Montessori students to create bowls to be sold at a community event to benefit school food pantry and Community Room. Recipients: Amoreena Rathke, Mariah Bigelow, Julie Nelson. 

– $1,000 Students and teachers at Hamilton/SOTA I will learn cookie and cake decorating, connected to small business career paths, advertising, and art history. Recipients: Bethany Nugent, Amanda Scarborough (student teacher) 

– $1,000 Funds the purchase of Wonderbooks for 2nd-grade developing readers at Summit. Recipients: Emilie Clifford, Jennifer Jacobson, Damian Stanton. This grant is underwritten in part by the Duane and Carol Taebel Fund of the La Crosse Community Foundation 

– $950 Funds the purchase of reusable period underwear and wet bags for female students in grades 3-5 at Hamilton/SOTA I. Recipients: Carrie Wuensch-Harden, Jon Zinniel 

– $869 Allows students in 5th grade at Spence to learn the process of adult and child CPR, use of an AED, and choking relief. Recipients: Jocelyn Buxton, Tawni O’Rourke 

– $649 Enhances Special Ed classrooms at Logan High with specialized lighting to reduce sensory overload and create a more calming environment. Recipients: Gregory Milligan, Emily Hauser Smith 

– $603 Based on the reading of the book, Brown Girl Dreaming, 5th-grade students district-wide will create individual interactive reflection projects that explore identity. Recipients: Lisa Stundahl, Janet Koll, Jenny Ruetten, Bethany Nugent. This grant is underwritten in part by the Heather & Stephen Ross and Maureen & Robert Freedland LPEF Fund for Diversity Education of the La Crosse Community Foundation. 

– $580 To create a library of activities to promote phonemic awareness for all grades at Hamilton/SOTA I. Recipient: Jenn Speckeen. This grant is underwritten in part by the Tom and Judy Sleik Family Fund of the La Crosse Community Foundation. 

– $400 To hone math skills and reinvigorate a love for math in middle school students at summer school through engaging in games and collaboration. Recipient: Ruth Baardseth. This grant is underwritten in part by the Judy and Dave Bouffleur Fund of the La Crosse Community Foundation. 

– $229 To purchase books and manipulatives to provide 3rd-grade students at Spence with hands-on opportunities for creative exploration. Recipient: Jennifer Woolley 

In addition to Gold Star grants, two grants were awarded from the Maureen and Bob Freedland LPEF Fund for Studies of the Shoah of the La Crosse Community Foundation earlier this spring: 

– $1,240 to transport Logan Middle and Logan High School students to listen and learn from Peter Feigl at the Viterbo Arts for Young America Series. Recipient: Tammy Gruen. 

– $2,969 to purchase copies of the book White Bird and book covers for all 7th-grade classrooms. Recipient: Jeanne Halderson. 

LPEF also provides support for La Crosse schools through other programs such as Random Acts of Kindness, which meet needs of students in areas such as nutrition, hygiene, clothing, and transportation. 

For more information contact LPEF at 608.787.0226, or email Nell Saunders-Scott at: