Education Foundation hands out six more grants

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With a light blanket of snow on the ground, it almost felt like Christmas for a number of Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District students and staff on Monday morning.

That’s because teachers at six schools – Clark Street, Elm Lawn, Glacier Creek, Kromrey, Park and Sauk Trail -- received grants worth nearly $4,500 from the MCPASD Education Foundation.

To see more photos from Monday's event, please visit the District's Facebook page.

The nearly 2-hour yellow bus tour included stops at all six of the schools. The Foundation held its first bus tour in the spring when it handed out more than $3,200 in grants. Fourteen MHS band members played “On Wisconsin” in each of the schools before chair Courtney Ward-Reichard presented each recipient with flowers donated by Copps and a certificate.

“These are very special days,’’ Ward-Reichard said. “We love seeing the looks on the faces of all the students and staff when we announce they have won a grant.’’

Other Foundation board members who attended part or all of the celebration included Don Johnson, Tom Kobinsky, Stephanie Moen-Mueller, John Selbo, Bill Reis, Brenda Delabarre, Kathy Nieber-Lathrop and Charlie Saeman. Other community members who attended included Middleton Chamber of Commerce executive director Van Nutt, State Bank of Cross Plains vice president Dawn Ferguson and Aleta Kaplan of BMO Harris.

The Foundation was formed in 2011 to provide inspiring experiences for students and staff in the District. The Foundation has partnered with Madison Community Foundation and has raised nearly $120,000 for its endowment fund thanks to contributions from J.H. Findorff & Son, BMO Harris, HR Imaging, the MGE Foundation, District staff and individuals in the community.

Next month, the Foundation will also unveil more than a dozen signs recognizing contributions of area businesses and individuals, and displayed in District schools.

“We’ve come so far in such a short period of time,’’ Kobinsky said. “It’s amazing to see the difference the Foundation is making for the students in our District. … I’m also excited that eight of the 10 schools in the District have received a grant in just the first year.’’

There were 24 submissions during the fall grant cycle, Education Foundation Specialist Perry Hibner said. That’s a 60 percent increase over the number received in the spring.

“To get that many in the fall considering how busy it is was amazing,’’ he said. “We expect that number to continue to grow as more staff see the kinds of initiatives being funded.’’

Clark Street Community School teacher Jason Pertzborn received a $1,250 grant funded by the State Bank of Cross Plains to help his students learn about tax preparation, insurance, investment and savings, budgeting and managing credit.

"I just want to thank the State Bank of Cross Plains and the Education Foundation,'' he said. "This allows my students some amazing opportunities for learning and also giving back. My goal is to be as real world as we can in the classroom and community, a grant like this allows us to move forward in that direction for bigger and better experiences!''

The Foundation was also excited that elementary students will benefit from the program because CSCS students will lead Junior Achievement activities at other MCPASD schools.

''The State Bank of Cross Plains is excited to be able to work with MCPASD Education Foundation and provide an opportunity to a deserving teacher and classroom for an extended learning program,'' vice president Dawn Ferguson said. "CSCS and teacher Jason Pertzborn were a perfect match for our grant. We look forward to working with other schools and teachers in our district in the future.''

Chris Conohan, a fourth-grade teacher at Elm Lawn, will receive a grant of $950 to purchase an two Google Nexus 10s that he plans to have his Journalism Club students use to write stories, collect digital imagery and produce videos.

“These grants validate every student’s work and shows that their work is important and valuable,’’ he said. “Each grant is truly a credit to the students, staff, family and community members who have worked with each student now and in the past. It takes a village, and our students are so fortunate to have had such incredible teachers, families and community members to help them get to the point that they can actively use these grants. Thank you!’’

Jenniper Hylbert received a $440 grant to purchase an iPad that her fifth-grade students will use for reading, writing, blogging and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support programs.

"Applying and receiving the grant is worth it, when students congratulate you and hug you for all your hard work,'' Hylbert said. "Now, my students can see how I use technology in the classroom.  Tracking their progress is an important tool for me and an important conferencing and behavioral tool for them."

Sauk Trail music teacher John Becker received a $400 grant to hire four experienced professional jazz musicians to work all with every student in the school while they learn about musical, cultural and dance traditions in jazz around the world.

"I really wish to personally thank the Education Foundation, as well as express our appreciation on behalf of our Sauk Trail students and families,'' he said. "This grant will give our children the chance to not only hear and see professional jazz artists, but also to experience performing with them and sharing their learning in music class.  This has now been made possible by our awesome Education Foundation and a matching grant from the Madison Jazz Society."

Holly Reardon and the other Block 6W teachers at Glacier Creek received a grant of $750 to purchase three Google Chromebooks. The Chromebooks will be used by all sixth-graders, but especially struggling readers and writing workshop participants. The grant was made possible by a donation from Monsanto, Hibner said.

"I am so thrilled and honored that our team was selected to receive an Education Foundation grant,'' Reardon said. "We can't wait to get the technology into our students' hands!  So many exciting learning opportunities are now possible.''

Kromrey counselor Fred Bartman wrote a grant for $500, which will allow the school to begin a new transition program for students entering the middle schools. The year-long program trains eighth-graders to help younger students with their transition to a new building and to mentor them throughout the year.

In all, the Foundation’s first year of grants should impact approximately 4,000 students in the district, Hibner said. To learn more about the Foundation and how to support similar grants in the future, please visit Foundation's website.