In Hopkins Public Schools, student success is measured by much more than a letter grade. Hopkins believes that actively teaching students how to be well leads to a strong successful community, and active, engaged learners. Health and wellness is for everyone and extends far beyond the classroom, yet has a direct impact on academics. HEF is awarding six ‘wellness’ grants this fall, to kick-off a district-wide initiative in partnership with District leadership. These include a host of hands-on components for students, as well as teacher training. Research clearly shows that social and emotional wellbeing is directly correlated to student learning.
Hopkins Schools Superintendent Dr. Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed notes: “By engaging the whole student, we increase his or her ability to concentrate, to meet rigorous challenges, to develop resilience, and to achieve life-long success. Our collective goal is to provide our students with the tools to thrive, now and long after they have left Hopkins.”
Since 1995, HEF has awarded more than 400 grants totaling more than $2.6 million to Hopkins schools. Each grant engages Hopkins students through enriching educational experiences. You can see all of our grants by school, by curriculum area, or by year awarded.
For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, HEF awarded 20 grants totaling $95,370 and 4 Awesome Fund grants totaling $3,728. In addition, our donors have so far contributed over $93,500 for our two-year Student Wellness = Student Success initiative. Below are descriptions of this year’s grants.
2018 Special Appeal: Student Wellness = Student Success
HEF’s exciting two-year Health and Wellness initiative is cutting edge. With help from our generous donors, HEF will greatly expand Hopkins Public Schools’ current support of the WHOLE student. So far, our generous donors have contributed over $93,500 to this important initiative. We are still accepting donations. Read more.
¡A Bailar! Latin Dance Club — $1,200 — Hopkins High School, North & West Junior High Schools — Tim Owen
Salsa! Merengue! Cumbia! HEF will fund a residency conducted by professional Latin dancers Yeniel Chini Perez and Hanna Kuluvar Esparza. They will teach some of the most popular dances of the Spanish-speaking world in this after school club. Read more.
A Force to be Reckoned With
Hopkins High School’s FIRST Robotics team is on a mission to build a truly great robot, enter the next level of competition, and chart a course for the future of Hopkins robotics. With help from HEF’s Awesome Fund grant, The Technocrats will build a West Coast Drivetrain, enabling their robot to be light and agile, more reliable, and reduce the overall number of needed parts. Read more.
Air-Propelled Racing Car — $571 — Tanglen — Keenan Jones
Tanglen 6th grade teacher Keenan Jones has issued a challenge to his students: who can design, engineer, and build the fastest air-propelled car by race day deadline? This project will involve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) as well as language arts and reading curricula. Read more.
HEF’s grant will assist the American Indian Parent Advisory Committee to host the inaugural ‘Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Fair’ on May 19, 2018. The Fair is focused on the native cultures represented by Hopkins students. Read more.
Classroom Supports for Self-Regulation — $4,372 — Harley Hopkins Family Center — Sarah Chovan, Kathy Willett, Lori Lorenz
A large part of being fully ready for Kindergarten is learning to self-calm and focus, to learn to stay positively engaged with a teacher and classmates. Weighted sensory lap pads, breathing balls, and fidget toys are just a few examples of simple yet effective tools that Harley Hopkins will purchase with this grant. Read more.
Creating Beautiful Music… Videos
Royal Records is a safe, supportive after-school club where North Junior High students collaborate to write and produce original music, mix tracks, film and edit videos, and generally have fun. HEF’s Awesome Fund will provide additional equipment to expand Royal Records’ capacity. Read more.
Edquity: Preparing for College with Finances in Mind — $1,600 — Hopkins High School — Erik Thompson, Jennifer Heimlich
Edquity is a software program for juniors and seniors in the AVID program – often the first of their family to go to college – to curate a list of feasible colleges based on GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and financial factors. Edquity helps the HHS school counselors guide students through the application process because it shows what each school’s cost will be, as well as the student’s financial responsibility AFTER graduation, allowing for true comparisons. Read more.
Experiential Language Learning — $3,900 — Gatewood- K-6 Links to Learning — Kristina Melsen, Stacy MacBlane-Meyer, Abbie Miklos, Erikka Schimelpfenig
Links to Learning, a special education program located at Gatewood Elementary, serves our students with severe cognitive disabilities. This HEF grant provides a library of engaging materials to foster active and enthusiastic learning through hands-on activities, and to provide the repetition needed to enhance core skills and vocabulary. Read more.
Game On! Social Emotional Learning Through Board Games — $1,020 — Glen Lake K-6 — Thomas Reger, Paul Spreitzer, Anne McGraw, Katherine Whitnah
Modeled after the popular Chess Club, the Board Game Club will provide fun, challenging student interaction – no electronics allowed! This HEF grant will stock the club with a wide variety of games, including something sure to interest any student. Read more.
Giant Maps: Sitting on Top of the World — $3,175 — K-6 District Wide — Allegra Smisek
Short of viewing Earth from space, National Geographic’s Giant Maps are the most exciting way for students to explore their world in realistic scale to develop a global understanding of its size and scope. This HEF grant will purchase two permanent vinyl maps: a 20’ x 26’ North American map, and a 17’ x 21’ Minnesota map. Read more.
Give Me a Break — $2,393 — Glen Lake Elementary– Sher Unruh-Friesen
When students learn how to regulate their bodies and calm themselves, they are happier, ready to learn and empowered for the rest of their lives. HEF is partnering with Glen Lake to expand the school’s current offerings to purposefully and proactively address sensory dysregulation for any student who needs a quiet space or sensory input such as a weighted vest, to focus or calm themselves. Read more.
Growing Gardens, Fueling Minds — $9,510 — District-Wide — Barbara Mechura, Erica Iverson, Rachel Valesano
Four mobile tower gardens (fast growing pyramids of 28 plants) will be rotated through all elementary school cafeterias to engage 6th grade students in nutrition, hands-on food prep and healthy eating. In two ‘growing seasons’ at each school, basil will be harvested to flavor a homemade marinara sauce and cilantro will be added to a tropical salad of melon, pineapple and mango. Read more.
Hopkins High School Student Campaign — $5,000 — Community Education — Holly Magdanz, Katie Williams, Doug Bullinger
HEF, along with Community Ed, will co-fund the assistance of Community Blueprint, a local social marketing company that develops successful campaigns around policy, prevention, and behavior change initiatives. Community Blueprint will work with a Student Advisory Board, a representative group of HHS’s student population, to create messaging around destigmatizing the challenges that today’s teens face. Read more.
Lego Wall — $500 — Glen Lake — Jeff Radel
Small groups of students will use buckets of Lego bricks for purposeful mathematical challenges, for designing and building, for marble runs, for artistic creations, and for engaging before and after school fun. Glen Lake may even join the schools across the country that participate in engineering challenges via Twitter. Read more.
Let’s Learn About Our Amazing Bodies — $4,186 — Preschool and Early Childhood Programs — Ann Aenestad, Kim Groenke, Lucy Lyons, Kathy Willett
Preschoolers are naturally curious about how their bodies work (“Where does my food go when I eat? What are muscles? Why do I have bones?”) and these new hands-on learning materials will provide a fun, exciting way to get those questions answered. Read more.
Love Yourself Project
The HEF Awesome Fund is supporting the Love Yourself project, a campaign to promote positive messages of self confidence, self esteem, and body image, with the goal of improving student wellness. Part of the promotion will be a photo booth set up during lunch this spring. The club hopes to counteract the negative influences of social media and celebrate each student’s uniqueness. Read more.
Mobile Makerspaces — $3,988 — Gatewood — Amy Kodet, Dawn Lindblom
Two Mobile Makerspace carts at Gatewood have the potential to reach every student as they provide both high-tech and low-tech experiences ranging from robotics and coding to sewing, cardboard challenges, and recycled projects. Read more.
Outdoor Playscapes and Environmental Learning — $3,500 — Gatewood Stepping Stones and Ready 4 K — Coreen Hagon, Cathryn Nelson-Wagner, Emily Holmgren
HEF will fund expansion of Gatewood’s enriching outdoor classroom space specifically for its youngest Pre-Kindergarten students, based on definitive research defining the importance of purposeful outdoor learning. Students will practice gross motor skills on a log balance beam and curved wooden balance boards and create wonderful loud music with outdoor xylophones and drums. Read more.
Powerful Young Women Pay It Forward
Hopkins Education Foundation’s Awesome Fund is proud to support Girls United MN, run by girls for girls, on a mission to empower and inspire the next generation of women leaders. These 80 young women at Hopkins High School are promoting STEM career paths and positive body image, introducing professional women as inspiration, and discussing multiple social issues with their peers. The Awesome Fund is helping to expand their scope. In this pilot program, 9-12 graders will mentor girls in grades 7 and 8 to develop leadership and planning skills. Read more.
Project-Based Learning Opportunities for Students with Unique Learning Needs– $500 — Transition Plus — Tom Kvale
Transition Plus services special needs students that have graduated from high school but qualify for continued special education services under federal law, and are actively engaged in a variety of project based learning (PBL) activities. This HEF grant will purchase reusable hand tools such as hammers and screw drivers, hand drills, squares, tape measures and paint brushes, along with supplies of screws, nails and wood to actively engage students in hands-on development of practical skills. Read more.
Student Wellness = Student Success — $5,700 — District-Wide — Linda Gardner, Becky Allen
Wellness is for everyone, and HEF is partnering with District leadership to establish a cohesive wellness program, solidifying and expanding what is already being done throughout our schools. . Read more.
Take Charge of How You Feel — $8,280 — North & West Junior Highs — Jane Kleinman, Eileen Egge, Brian Huybrecht
In alignment with HEF’s focus on Student Health=Student Wellness, this start-up grant provides ALL Hopkins Junior High 8th grade students – more than 500 per year – with the self-regulating tools they would typically only be exposed to through mental health professionals or sports psychologists. Read more.
Trauma Sensitive Self-Regulation Room — $4,535 — Alice Smith — Michelle Stanford, Leah Rusakov
Alice Smith Elementary School is one of Hopkins ‘trauma sensitive’ schools, focused on mitigating barriers to student learning, such as high rates of stress and adversity from homelessness, poverty, neglect, abuse, immigration, and more. A team, including special education staff and a therapist, has been evaluating the success of various interventions to help students in crisis feel safe, and to teach them to identify and regulate their often overwhelming emotions, which can lead to behavioral outbursts. HEF will now fund a specific Self-Regulation Room designed for sensory breaks. Read more.
Ukuleles Offer New Musical Opportunities– $1,990 — Eisenhower / XinXing — Jonathan Feulner
Jonathan Feulner, music teacher at Eisenhower/XinXing Academy, is an experienced ukulele teacher and knows the allure of the small instrument. HEF is funding 30 instruments, expanding the school’s instrument library enough for 160 more students to learn chords, rhythm patterns, and the role of harmony. Read more.