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La Crosse Public Education Foundation delivers Gold Star grants to Central High School

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The La Crosse Public Education Foundation delivered grants to two teachers at Central High School Tuesday morning to enhance education for students.

Typically the La Crosse Public Education Foundation gives out grants twice a year to teachers who apply for funding for needs in their classrooms. They've been awarding grants since the organization began in 1988.

"The teachers and anyone who is working with a La Crosse School can apply to us for one of these Gold Star Grants and what we are looking to do is enhance the education of students," said David Stoeffler, executive director of the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.

"We're not looking to try to provide the basics. This is all about helping provide those extra experiences, new epiptmemt, to try things that maybe the district can't afford to test without the outside funding."

Stoeffler said the first year they have about $2,500 worth of grants and this year, they will have awarded over $90,000 in grants.

On Tuesday they delivered 13 grants totaling about $41,800 including three grants at Central High School. He explained that one teacher received two different specific grants related to advanced reading and English in the district. The other grant was awarded for a remodeling of the district's Planetarium at Central High School.

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"What we see from teachers, students, parentREs, is what these grants really do is give teachers a chance to dream and to think about things that go beyond the basic curriculum and really provide those students with something that is new and different," said Stoeffler.

The grants provide funding for things that the tax payer budget doesn't allow for.

Kim Butterfield received two grants. The first she said was to get a reading specialist for secondary education to come to the school in the fall in order to train teachers to do disciplinary literacy in content areas.

"She is going to be here training teachers so they can be experts in teaching it to all of our students," said Butterfield. "One thing we've noticed when looking at our data in the School District of La Crosse is that with changing times, increasing technology, our students are not reading at a level that is preparing them for the world."

She said it is crucial that they increase students' abilities to read and comprehend what they are reading because it is involved in every other aspect of learning in their lives.

Chad Wilkinson, Planetarium Director at La Crosse Central High School for the last 19 years, received the third grant delivered to the school. He said the grant will give them the opportunity to give the Planetarium the lift that it needs.

He said the new project will replace the old projection system with two new projectors that will project full dome, not just the stars like they can do now, but all types of media like dissection of cells.

"I am really excited about this update and just the idea that it can broaden the scope a little bit and be more than just astronomy," said Wilkinson.

He said it's all about getting kids excited about science again.

"Whether it's Space X or NASA, they are all talking about this generation's challenge being Mars. Previous generations, it was the moon and this is Mars. The timelines they are proposing put it such that students in school today will be one of the first people on Mars," said Wilkinson.

He said everything students learn trickles into society which is why these grants are so important to their education.

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Rylie Kyhn

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