The Education Foundation of Hudson awarded Star Grants for innovative classroom projects and curriculum training. The foundation awarded grants totaling over $24,000 for 11 projects involving several educators touching many schools in Hudson.
Foundation Board President Marian Schultz presented the awards Dec. 7 during ceremonies at Hudson Prairie Elementary School. She told recipients that the foundation and community are proud of the educators' efforts to bring innovative ideas to the classrooms of local schools.
The foundation is funded by private donations, mostly coming from local and area businesses, individuals and foundations.
Star Grants offer financial support for innovative classroom projects benefiting students and projects furthering the education of teachers — all projects that would not typically be funded in the normal budgeting process. The foundation awards Star Grants twice each year. Application deadlines are Nov. 1 and April 1.
The foundation also selects winners of the Star Excellence Award each year, which is usually presented to educators in the spring. Those individuals are nominated by the public and nominations are due April 1 of each year.
The foundation, founded in 1990, is a private organization established to strengthen community participation in local schools and inspire both teachers and students. With last week's awards, the foundation has funded over $1.3 million in local education projects and awards since its inception.
• Learning Lab, submitted by Kelli Hedlund, Steve Schoenecker, Principal Dolf Schmidt, Amanda McCarthy and Sara Filarsky from North Hudson Elementary School. The purpose of the proposal is to build a learning lab at the school to promote collaboration, innovation and creativity among the students and staff. The foundation awarded $2,960.
• Google Expeditions submitted by Jodi Magee and Joe Behnke at Hudson Prairie Elementary School. The project involves the purchase of 10 virtual reality viewers which allows students to visit up to 600 locations on virtual field trips. The grant includes the purchase of the viewers and related equipment. The foundation awarded $3,000.
• Completing the Triangle, submitted by Liz Halama from E.P. Rock Elementary School. The proposal is to promote student speech skills. The grant involves the purchase of books and games to share with family and peers to maximize vocabulary growth. The foundation awarded $800.
• Rhinestone Raiders, submitted by Crystal Geigle from Hudson High School. Rhinestone Raiders is an adaptive cheer team which involves 26 students. The team applied, and has been selected to perform during halftime of a Minnesota Timberwolves basketball game (Feb. 15 versus the Los Angeles Lakers). The Raiders, however, must purchase tickets to the game. The proposal involves the purchase of those tickets. The foundation awarded $1,682.
• Third Grade Goal Getters, submitted by third-grade teachers Kelsey Betthauser, Kathryn Buege, Linda Wagner, Chloe Brine and Principal Kimberly Osterhues at Willow River Elementary. The proposal involves the purchase Hot Dots Learning Sets and Hot Dots Learning Pens and related items. The material is designed to increase achievement in the area of reading. The foundation awarded $900.
• WEB Orientation and Transition Program, submitted by Kjurstin Langer, Dan Buckle and Angela Goebel from the Hudson Middle School. WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) is a program to assist incoming sixth-graders make the transition to middle school. The program involves three areas — need for safety, information and connection. The grant calls for the training of leaders, leader T-shirts and various supplies. The foundation awarded $3,000.
• Ukeleles in Harmony, submitted by Daniel Baumgartner from E.P. Rock Elementary. The proposal involves students in grades 3-5 to take part in learning harmony through the playing of ukuleles. The instrument provide an easy way to introduce the skill of playing chords on a string instrument. The foundation will purchase 25 ukeleles along with music from the "Uke n Roll" series. The foundation awarded $2,750.
• Project Based Learning Center, submitted by Vickie McLaughlin from Hudson High School. The proposal involves the purchase of laboratory equipment for the AP chemistry and AP government classes at HHS. The foundation awarded $2,997.
• Take a Break, submitted by Aria Krieser and the PBIS Team at Hudson Prairie Elementary. The proposal involves allowing students to take a break without leaving the classroom. It is intended to calm students who may become frustrated or upset. The grant involves the purchase of "take a break" equipment for all 25 classrooms at the school. The foundation awarded $949.50.
• STEM Resource Material, submitted by Karen Halvorson, Lisa Plackner and Alison Schloesser, first-grade teachers at Willow River Elementary. The proposal calls for providing STEM material to first-graders. The grant involves the purchase of 26 games, project activities and other critical thinking equipment for each of the three first-grade classrooms at the school. The foundation awarded $3,000.
• Library Mural, submitted by David Maas and Elizabeth Malanaphy from E.P. Rock Elementary School. The proposal calls for creating 10 large scale pieces of artwork in the school's library. The grant involves the purchase of paint, canvas and supplies, plus a stipend to Artistic Director Malanaphy. The foundation awarded $2,000.