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Star Grants awarded; total more than $20,000

Among those attending the ceremony at Rock Elementary, or earning grants from the Education Foundation of Hudson were, front row (from left to right): Lisa Plackner, Alison Schloesser, Karen Halvorson and foundation board member Joan Thompson. Back row: David Maas, Adam Wert, Education Foundation President Marian Schultz and foundation board member Lynn Krueger. Submitted photo1 / 2
Among those attending the ceremony at St. Patrick School, or earning grants from the Education Foundation of Hudson were, front row (from left to right): Lisa Dumont, Becca Pratts, Joan Carter and foundation board member Vickie Harris. Back row: St. Patrick School Principal Dan Bell, Mandy Cummings, Ashley Hammer-Paakkonen and foundation board member Ron Bernth. Submitted photo2 / 2

The Education Foundation of Hudson last week awarded Star Grants for innovative classroom projects and curriculum training. The foundation awarded grants totaling just over $20,000 for eight projects involving several educators touching many schools in Hudson.

Foundation Board President Marian Schultz presented the awards Thursday, May 4 during ceremonies at St. Patrick School. 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 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 ($20,047), the foundation has funded nearly $1,338,000 in local education projects and awards since its inception.


• Medical Diagnostics and Problem Based learning, submitted by Erin Meier-Williamson from Hudson High School. The purpose of the proposal is to offer students interested in health care the opportunity to explore medical diagnostics and problem-based learning while in high school. The grant includes the purchase of innovative digital microscopes to analyze tissue slides.The foundation awarded $3,000.

• EP Rock Tech Club, submitted by Dave Maas and Adam West from EP Rock Elementary School. The project involves creating an after school Tech Club. The grant includes the purchase of many hands-on, high-tech items for use by club members. The foundation awarded $3,000.

• Themed Book Study Libraries, submitted by Ashley Hammer-Paakkonen and Mandy Cummings from Hudson Middle School. The proposal is to promote literacy and expand student choices within the eighth grade language arts curriculum. Most of the grant funds will be used for the purchase of books. The foundation awarded $1,000.

• Playground fun at EP Rock, submitted by Joan Carter from EP Rock Elementary School. The proposal involves the purchase of additional equipment for the school's playground, including two pickleball courts and a 9-square in the air court. The foundation awarded $2,059.

• Sensory Seating Support and Sensory Station Materials, submitted by Karen Halvorson, Lisa Plackner and Alison Schloesser, first grade teachers at Willow River Elementary. The proposal involves the purchase of various items, including seats that allow student movement and a variety of sensory station materials intended to improve the attention span of students. The foundation awarded $2,500.

• Empowering Teachers and Students in Flexible Seating Classrooms, submitted by Becca Pratts from North Hudson Elementary School. The grant calls for the purchase of flexible seating in the classroom, including seating discs, floor chairs, ball chairs, standing desks and Hokki stools. The grant would provide more options for the varied needs of students. The foundation awarded $2,813.

• Set of Chromebooks, submitted by Lisa Dumont from St. Patrick School. The proposal involves the purchase of 13 Chromebooks to be used by third and fourth graders at the school. The foundation awarded $2,925.

• Green House Classroom Project, submitted by Dan Bell from St. Patrick School. The proposal involves the purchase of items for a start-up school greenhouse. The foundation awarded $2,750.

In addition to Schultz, current foundation board members are Dr. Ron Bernth, Vickie Harris, Jodell Krause, Doug Stohlberg, Lynn Krueger, Joan Thompson, Bob Benoy and John Kromer. Steven Keller is the organization's volunteer executive director.