Fall 2022 Grants

HEF Awards Record-breaking $125,000 in Fall Grants

Did you hear the news? HEF’s grant awards topped out at $125,000 this fall! That’s $125,000 to Hopkins Public Schools making this the largest payout in a single grant cycle! Ever. Funds have been awarded to 16 awe-inspiring, creative and, frankly, quite impressive grants! 

HEF has given the green light to everything from new and innovative ways for students to spend recess time, to Afro-Cuban jazz combos, professional maple syrup refining equipment and a wheelchair-accessible swing! A STEAM project, a podcast studio and a new student orientation program made the list of grants this fall too! There’s a plethora of cool and fabulous programming and hands-on projects and experiences that HEF is making happen inside Hopkins schools! Take a look!

We’d certainly love to award even more grants in 2023 so remember to give abundantly on MN’s giving holiday on Give to the Max Day on Nov 17th!!

Jazz Cooks: Afro-Cuban and Salsa Combos Grant — $5,600 — Hopkins High School — Band Teacher Nora Tycast

Building on a renewed interest in jazz, this year’s edition of the Jazz Cooks Grant partners with the culturally-authentic combo known as Salsa Del Soul. Focusing on establishing jazz as a curricular offering during terms three and four of the current school year, with the intent to develop greater diversity in instrumental programming and musical experiences while bringing  Teacher Nora Tycast’s desire to fruition and shining a spotlight on the Afro-Cuban and Salsa Combos, some of the earliest forms of Latin jazz. Learn more.

Glen Lake Accessibility Project Grant — $35,000 –– Glen Lake Elementary —  Fifth Grade Teacher Betsy Julien

Dreaming of a playground for all children of all abilities, Glen Lake teacher Betsy Julien’s Play for All Grant will enable equitable and inclusive recess play for all students. With hopes of adding a wheelchair swing and other accessible playground equipment to the current Glen Lake upper playground, wheelchair-bound students will be able to grow their connections and friendships, strengthen their communication, social skills and interactions by playing together with one another as well as with their non-wheelchair-bound peers. Learn more.

Robotics, Circuits and Coding Grant — $8,500 — Tanglen Elementary — STEAM Specialist Martha Raid

It’s perfect timing for the Robotics, Circuits and Coding Grant at Tanglen Elementary since this school year STEAM was adopted as a new special at the school. STEAM Specialist Martha Raid shares that 1st through 6th grade students at Tanglen will have a unique and rare opportunity to “engage with technology on their own” and gain mastery of math skills in areas including mathematical operations and basic input and output, as well as working on science standards, such as defining a simple design problem.
Learn more.

Songwriting in the Choral Classroom Grant — $5,000 — West and North Junior High Schools — Vocal Music Teacher Ian Stillmunks

Hopkins Junior High Vocal Music Teacher Ian Stillmunks aims to combine a new and modern band approach with the traditional choir model, intertwining the creation of music with the performance piece of choir, and show students that they are “able to write and perform their own music in much the same way that their favorite artists do,” with the Songwriting in the Choral Classroom Grant Learn more.

Gatewood Maple Syrup Evaporator Grant — $5,000 — Gatewood Elementary School — Naturalist Jim Ikhaml

Naturalist Jim Ikhaml has been tapping maple trees on and around Gatewood Elementary and educating students about the syrup tapping process for the last three years. Under his direction and with help from parent volunteers, his Maple Syrup Program, created for all of Gatewood’s pre-K – 6th grade students, has become a much anticipated learning season throughout the Gatewood school community.. Learn more.


Innovate Recess Grant — $4,000 — Tanglen Elementary School — Library Media Generalist Holly Thompson

Further expounding on Tanglen’s previous HEF Innovation Lab Grant which challenges, creates, constructs and connects students, the Innovate Recess Grant is the dream of Library Media Generalist Holly Thompson coming to fruition. This grant will create opportunities for all Tanglen students to be part of small groups that visit the Innovation Lab once a week during recess time to participate in make-and-take-projects and varying focused challenges.   Learn more.

Washer and Dryer Grant — $3,500 — Alice Smith Elementary School — ESL Teacher Ellen Poppy and Elementary Guidance Counselor Kristin Lutz

Always at the forefront of bridging gaps, Alice Smith Elementary recognizes the innate connection between their school and their community. For many years, teachers and staff have known that students and families rely on the school for more than its rigorous academic endeavors. Focusing on the students holistically included finding a solution for their students’ need for clean clothes and a reprieve for teachers and staff who frequently took students’ winter gear and extra clothing items home to wash on weekends in order to assure students had clean clothes each Monday morning.
Learn more.

Mindfulness Tools For Social-Emotional Wellness Grant  — $1,000 — Eisenhower Community School — First Grade Teacher Stephanie Trebil

Reflecting the vision of our Hopkins Public School District while integrating the highly regarded Mindful Schools K-6th grade curriculum, Teacher Stephanie Trebil brings this one-of-a-kind opportunity for first grade students and their teachers to learn mindfulness strategies together as part of the Mindfulness Tools for Social Emotional Wellness Grant at Eisenhower Community School. Learn more.

Community, Growth and Inspiration Grant — $2,000 — North Junior High School — Special Education Teacher Christopher Johnson

The Community, Growth, and Inspiration Grant’s goal is to take 7th-9th grade students who are part of the Learning Choices Changes (LCC) program at North Junior High School (NJH) outside of their classroom walls and into the community on highly-active outings that allow them to practice their social-emotional skills while also engaging them in meaningful and challenging activities. Special Education Teacher Christopher Johnson aspires to give these students, who suffer from emotional behavior disorders, authentic opportunities to develop their confidence, empathy, humility and future thinking with grant funds. Learn more.

Building Self-Regulation Strategies Grant — $500 –– Meadowbrook Elementary School — Christine Halverson from ESC Department of Special Services and Special Education Teacher Andrew Bowes

Christine Halverson from the District Department of Special Services and Special Education Teacher Andrew Bowes who work in Meadowbrook Elementary School’s RISE Program recognize that funding awarded through this Building Self Regulation Strategies Grant will assist their K-6th grade students in building community, trust and safety in their school environments and lead to more positive peer interactions and an increase in side-by-side learning. Learn more.

Link Crew Grant — $15,425 — Hopkins High School —  Guidance Counselor Correne Larsen

Link Crew is a new orientation and transition program for Hopkins High School (HHS) that will help welcome approximately 500 freshmen and make them more comfortable coming into their high school experience. This Link Crew Grant will enable 100 juniors and seniors to be trained to serve as Link Leaders. This role of mentor, teacher and support system for the incoming freshman class will foster relationship building, culture positivity and community. 
Learn more.

Football Equipment Grant — $5,000 — Hopkins High School / West and North Junior High Schools — Hopkins Football Program Head Coach Trevor Tolly

In an effort to strengthen our Hopkins football program, Head Coach Trevor Tolly’s desire to develop Hopkins football players and the program to be able to compete at the highest level of football in the state. In order to do so Tolly identified that proper equipment was imperative and the Football Equipment Grant primarily focuses on the purchase of a fundamental piece of equipment known as a sled. Learn more.

North Junior High School Sensory Room Grant — $4,000 — North Junior High School — Special Education Teacher Margaret Sagstuen, Social Workers Micki Mandell and Steph Rossow

After distance learning, many special education students have greater sensory issues. The amount of noise and proximity to peers and staff is overwhelming and often causes students great distress. The NJH Sensory Room Grant will make a sensory friendly decompression space possible for both special education and general education students and assist them in being successful learners in their classrooms.  Learn more.


Rising Together Through the Science of Reading (SOR) Grant — $21,303 — Tanglen Elementary School — Literacy Coach Anne Baird and Special Education Teacher Mary Slobig

Tanglen Elementary Literacy Coach Anne Baird and Special Education Teacher Mary Slobig were inspired to request the Rising Together Through the Science of Reading (SOR) Grant because of their core belief that all students have the opportunity to become proficient readers, spellers and writers and the SOR’s solid grounding in equity. Informed by the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training and ongoing learning about the SOR, the teachers are better able to tailor instruction to address students’ literacy needs. Learn more.

We Are West Junior High School Podcast Presentations Grant — $6,558 — West Junior High School — Community Partnerships Liaison Lindsey Leseman

The We are West Junior High School Podcast Presentations Grant will create a podcast studio that will replicate a typical small production studio with all the necessary equipment and elements required to design and prepare for interviews, set up logistics, and record audio podcasts after instruction in class and during enrichment programming. Students in enrichment programs will learn to edit and prepare their podcasts for distribution and broadcast to the WJH student body each Friday morning when working in WIN (What I Need) enrichment sessions, during lunch choice time, or during the after-school activity option. 
Learn more.

Hopkins High School AVID ACT Calculators Grant  — $2,500 — Hopkins High School — Social Studies Teacher/HHS AVID Advisor Jennifer Heimlich

This award will help students engage and also to remove the barrier of not having the appropriate tools for testing. With the appropriate tools they will be able to practice for the ACT and to improve.  Learn more.


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