Pictured above from left, Caroline Wolf, Katy Cook, Samantha Thrane, Melissa Miller, Susan Erickson, and Anita Horne.
The Education Foundation of Hudson awarded Star Grants in May for innovative classroom projects and curriculum training. The foundation awarded grants totaling over $21,000 for seven projects involving several educators and touching many schools in Hudson.
Foundation Board President Lynn Krueger, and other board members, presented the awards during ceremonies at Hudson High School on May 11. He told recipients that the foundation and community are proud of the educators’ efforts to bring innovative ideas to the classrooms of local schools.
Grant recipients are listed below.
- ELL Traveling Library submitted by Samantha Thrane, with help from Melissa Miller, from River Crest Elementary School. The program will impact all Hudson elementary schools. English Language Learners (ELL) will have access to books that feature both their native language and English side-by-side. Hudson currently has students with 14 different native languages. The books assist both students and parents as they learn English. The foundation awarded $3,048.37.
- Flex Farm Hydroponic System submitted by Leslie Bleskachek from Hudson High School. The proposal would expose students to emerging technology in agriculture, food science and plant science. The technology allows the growth of greens indoors without the use of soil. The foundation awarded $1,820.
- Empty Bowls Service Learning Project submitted by Katy Cook, Melissa Johnson, Teri Hagar and Jodi Youngman from Hudson Prairie Elementary School. The program will combine math, art and community service. Students will create ceramic bowls, learn about hunger in the community and raise funds to help those in need. The foundation awarded $5,914.21.
- Digital Storytelling submitted by Caroline Wolf from River Crest Elementary School. The goal of the project is to promote and listen to reading and still involve technology among kindergarten students. Storytelling will be done with electronics combined with kid-friendly buttons, figurines and different voices. The foundation awarded $2,039.55.
- Inclusive outdoor classroom submitted by Anita Horne with help from Susan Erickson at River Crest Elementary School. The program involves providing improved inclusivity of the early childhood outdoor classroom. Plans call for a shelter and rubberized surface. The foundation awarded $3,000. The plan calls for additional funding from other sources before construction begins.
- Digital Mixer submitted by Tricia Piper from St. Patrick’s School. The program involves purchasing equipment for a sensory room at the school. It will give the school the opportunity to deal with students who have certain needs. The foundation awarded $1,860.
In addition to Krueger, current Foundation board members are Dr. Ron Berth, Jodell Krause, Doug Stohlberg, Joan Thompson, John Kramer, Heidi Gilbert, and Scott Snyder. Steven Keller is the organization’s volunteer executive director.
Star Grants offer financial support for innovative classroom projects and also projects furthering the education of teachers — all items that would not typically be funded in the normal budgeting process. The foundation awards Star Grants twice each year. Application deadlines are November 1 and April 1. The foundation also selects winners of the Star Excellence Award each year. The award is presented to outstanding 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 the May grants, the foundation has funded just under $2,000,000 in local education projects and awards since the organization’s inception.
The foundation is funded by private donations, mostly coming from local and area businesses, individuals, and foundations.