During the unprecedented environment of 2020 – 2021, HEF stepped up to award a huge slate of innovative grants totaling $138,329. HEF adopted a process for responding quickly to the needs of the District with a special procedure for continual rolling grant approvals. In addition to the many grants listed below, HEF also raised nearly $50,000 to fund a College Admissions and Career Placement Specialist to help our high school and junior high students prepare for the future. Learn more.
This user-friendly platform for AP History has received a big thumbs up from HHS students and staff in the past, and the ability for HEF to pic$$k up the funding this year has been crucial for distance learners. Learn more
How to Take the ACT offers equitable access to 11th grade scholars who traditionally do not have the means to take a class like this, and helps to level the playing field with their peers. As these students are already in distance learning, access to the online class will be free; this grant pays for the tutor’s time to work with, guide and support the students. Learn more.
Baking Clubbers (Awesome Fund) –$572 — North Junior High — Aubrey Grotz (student), Nicole Coler (faculty advisor)
The Baking Clubbers are excited to get this grant from The Awesome Fund. With it they will purchase shared cook/bakeware with which to expand their repertoire of skills. All members – and more are welcome! – have put energy and enthusiasm into the kitchen during distance learning. Learn more.
Becoming Anti-Racist and Authentically Inclusive in Early Childhood — $3,800 — Harley Hopkins Family Center — Jackie Hunke
Early childhood is a critical age group in which to begin the work of anti-racism. This project begins with toys and books that illustrate multiple cultures and includes materials to help staff guide difficult and open conversations between themselves, and among parents. Learn More.
This grant provides a selection of LGBTQ novels for students to choose from for the upcoming unit on Relationships, as well as a basis for the Socratic Seminars based in Social Emotional Learning and empathy. Books will be shared/traded with WJH, and virtual book clubs are being considered across the two junior high buildings. Learn more.
Bigs Tutoring — Awesome Fund — $1,000 — Hopkins High School — Emma Rock (student), Rick Rexroth (faculty advisor)
HEF’s Awesome Fund for student clubs has awarded $1,000 to Bigs Tutoring, an inspiring group of Hopkins High School upperclassmen and alumni providing tutoring via video. This grant is the equivalent of 67 hours of tutoring, which will allow Bigs to offer free and reduced-price services to any student who needs it while proving a stipend to tutors. Learn more.
Community Earthen Oven — $3,800 — Gatewood — Brooke Davis
Gatewood is embracing a unique outdoor learning opportunity: next fall, HEF is funding the construction of a permanent dome oven from straw bales, sand, clay, and bricks. The oven, 5’ tall and 3’ in diameter, will begin as a hands-on Engineering Learning Project for student teams guided by a professional craftsman, and then live on as a weekly teaching tool, accessible to the entire school for many years to come. Learn more.
This grant will transform the small, unadorned Learning Center into The Cove – an aesthetically pleasing, calm environment used throughout the day by up to 50 Eisenhower Elementary special education students with sensory processing disorders and mental health concerns. Learn more.
COVID-Safe Equipment for Sensory Motor Room — $805 — Gatewood Elementary — Alyssa Winterfeldt
This grant purchases sensory motor pieces of equipment that will be easy to clean frequently, and will greatly benefit Links to Learning students. Learn more
It’s difficult right now to screen less, but students can learn to screen well. All 970 students will benefit as NJH implements a deliberate culture of digital health and wellness as part of SEL (social emotional learning) during students’ advisory periods. HEF is funding a partnership with LiveMore ScreenLess, a Minnesota nonprofit that “promotes digital wellbeing for and with young people through a collaborative and comprehensive community approach”. LiveMore will use research and data to promote the balanced and intentional use of technology. Learn more.
Distance learning is especially hard on young children with disabilities who require structured, concrete, hands on, functional play-driven and interactive experiences. Families are unable to duplicate the opportunities available in the classroom, so this grant funds the creation of ‘leaning binders’ – 3-ring binders chock full of tools and supplies, along with instructions for many, many engaging games and activities. Learn more.
This grant purchases an external microphone and stand for each elementary school music teacher, greatly improving the quality of their lessons and level of student engagement. The equipment will increase audio quality of both voice and instruments, eliminate stray background sound that interferes with lessons, and better model the true sound staff is trying to teach. Learn more.
DIY STEM Tinker Kits — $2,000 — Glen Lake — Betsy Julien, Karin Brinkhoff, Paul Spreitzer, Robb Trenda
This HEF grant funds six different sets of crates full of interesting gadgets to be sent home, encouraging all students to fully participate along with any siblings who care to join in. Some enthusiastic learners have already created videos of themselves with their projects, and now the excitement can grow and spread. Learn more.
DJ Club (Awesome Fund) — $6,987 — Hopkins High — Elyse Ford (student), Lorenzo Farley (faculty advisor)
The new DJ Club will serve multiple purposes: a terrific creative outlet for students, a future replacement for the expensive DJ’s hired for prom and school dances, and cafeteria entertainment for students during lunch hour. This Awesome Fund grant is the seed money for the necessary equipment that will be used for years to come. Learn more.
Earth Day Outreach (Awesome Fund) — $2,688 — West Junior High — Addie Simmons (student), Nicole Coler (faculty advisor)
On Earth Day, April 22, 2021, HEF’s Awesome Fund provided WJH’s Earth Club with the funds to mount a campaign of climate action and good health. Members of the club distributed stainless steel water bottles to encourage the healthy consumption of water, particularly while the school’s drinking fountains are turned off due to the pandemic. Learn more.
Fine Motor Kits for Distance Littles — Tanglen – $697.88 — Liz Patrick
Development of fine motor skills and muscle memory is essential to successful writing, cutting, gluing, and many other tasks. This grant funds 22 Fine Motor Kits to be sent home with students, along with engaging, instructive lessons and games. Learn more
Girls United Girls Speak Up (Awesome Fund) — $550 — North Junior High — Elif Ozturk (student), Emma Randolf (faculty advisor)
HEF’s Awesome Fund is providing the 35 members of Hopkins North Junior High Girls United Club with copies of Speak, the acclaimed 1999 novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. Club leaders have been inspired by the meaning and power behind this moving novel and wish to share and discuss its difficult topics among all members. Learn more.
Girls United Wellness Kits (Awesome Fund) — $1,000 — Hopkins High — Soliana Teshome (student), Felicia Homberger (faculty advisor)
Girls United Club at HHS is an active group of about 40 young women, with at least another 40 in support. HEF’s Awesome Fund will provide $1,000: Girls United’s board of leaders will put together wellness kits for their active members, to help relieve stress and isolation, and build community as they gather online. Learn more.
Counterintuitively perhaps, these online programs offer a solution to the problem of too much online learning. Reflex(Math) and Gizmos (Science) are fun and engaging interactive programs that promote rapid understanding and send boredom to the back of the class. Learn more.
Glen Lake Go! Bus Design & Wrap — $3,150 — Glen Lake — Principal Jeff Radel
Glen Lake is taking education on the road, offering a more engaging authentic school experience for all students through real-world adventures and frequent curriculum-based field trips. A dedicated bus, called “Glen Lake Go!” is the modern substitute for a magic carpet, whisking students off to first-hand experiences and behind-the-scenes looks at the fascinating opportunities across our community. HEF will fund the colorful student-designed 3M vinyl bus wrap to make this vehicle super special, and even more exciting. Learn more.
Glowing Creativity with Glowforge — $4,990 — North Junior High — Jen Legatt
Glowforge is a powerful laser cutter and engraver that cuts materials such as cardboard, wood, leather, cloth – even chocolate! – and engraves on glass or wood, putting endless creativity into the hands of everyday users. NJH Media Center is excited to offer this tool to all students as an enhancement to the MakerSpace previously funded by HEF*. With Glowforge, students will learn the CAD design process and how to use and reuse materials to create art and functional products. Both the process and the tool have the potential to lead to STEM careers and to spark interest in design and manufacturing. Learn more.
Grade 5 Virtual Literacy — $1,500 — All elementary — Kim Rossow
Currently, fifth graders are acquiring 60-100% of their learning virtually. This grant funds subscriptions to a slate of digital literacy resources to enhance and engage their endeavors during this very unusual year of COVID-19. Learn more
This grant helps to bring all Hopkins scholars together through a shared reading experience. Different books will be chosen for different grade levels and purchased with HEF funds. Learn more.
Hmong Family Outreach — $5,000 — Tanglen — Sara Vanhove
For Tanglen’s Hmong students and families (most of whom have chosen distance learning) and the 15 teachers who need to communicate with them, the systemic communication barriers Hmong families have always experienced have become more evident during the pandemic. This grant will compensate interpreter Panou Xiong for up to ten additional hours per week for the rest of the school year, and five hours per week during the ten weeks of summer. Learn more.
Home Studios Unlock Creativity — $1,200 — North Junior High — Nick Lovas
This grant purchases home studio equipment for use in rotation by a cohort of social studies staff at NJH. Their goal is to create digital content more engaging than what can be produced on district-issued hardware, and to meet the individual needs of their students. Learn more
This classroom library in the music room at Tanglen will feature multicultural songs, stories, poetry, biographies of musicians and composers, and activities for exploring sound and movement. These resources will be used for lessons for all Tanglen students – and for many years to come – to broaden the scope of music education beyond a European-centered cannon. Learn more
Longboarding and Community Service — $11,100 — Alice Smith — Maggie Lund & Mykenna Yesnes
This spring, HEF will fund the construction of 20 shared longboards for current sixth graders, an exciting hands-on learning opportunity with returning assistance from Urban Boatbuilders of St. Paul. The Youth Longboard Program immerses students in the project from start to finish: collaboration, design, Math and science skills, handling tools and wood burning, and last but certainly not least, instruction in riding longboards (helmets will be worn). Learn more.
Micro Home Libraries — $3,000 — North Junior High — Laura Jensen
This grant puts two books by BIPOC authors (black, indigenous, people of color) into each of the hands of Reading Acceleration students whose home libraries are small to nonexistent. The pandemic makes this endeavor all the more important and timely, as these students are experiencing school in isolation at home. Learn more.
Mobile Sensory Kits — $4,700 — Early Childhood Special Education — Michelle Kloke, Lyndsay Hetzel, Jessica Lindberg
Mobile Sensory Kits are loaner kits full of easily-sanitized sensory processing equipment for preschoolers in the environment of COVID-19. Much more than toys, these weighted blankets, fidget tools, noise cancelling headphones (as a few examples) are designed to be soothing and/or stimulating for Hopkins youngest learners. Learn more.
All three Gatewood Kindergarten sections (70+ students) will be outside next year 3-4 hours out of their six-hour day! The forest, pond, field, gardens, and hillside will be their classroom. HEF will be funding rain/mud gear for all students, including boots. The gear will be re-used year after year, to make outdoor activities comfortable for all. Learn more.
Outdoor Inquiry Kits and Research Station — $1,438 — Eisenhower — Abby Larson, Lisa Hake
These 30 reusable HEF-funded tool kits will include items such as binoculars, pond nets, pocket guides, tool kits, activity guides, magnifying glasses, insect habitats and collection bags to enable students to complete investigations at a variety of research stations, changed regularly. The exciting level of engagement provided to these young botanists and zoologists leads directly to content knowledge and higher order thinking skills. Learn more.
For the 66 Tanglen second graders enrolled in the Distance Learning Academy, the typical access to multiple books is not available. This grant provides multiple copies of 35 titles, both fiction and non fiction selections, with a diversity of main characters. Students will engage in small reading groups tailored to their needs, along with their teacher, via Googlemeets while staying safe at home. Learn more.
This wonderful tool is much more than a time saver for creating beautiful bulletin board displays. VariQuest Design Center quickly “cuts out” visual and kinesthetic learning tools and manipulatives from heavy-duty re-usable vinyl. Students will have hands-on pieces to arrange and rearrange as they learn math concepts, letter/word recognition, reading and spelling, and so much more. Learn more.
Video Game Club — Awesome Fund — $1079.70 — West Junior High Special Ed — Vijay Clarkson (student), Tim Williams (faculty advisor)
This community of gamers previously operated with consoles brought to school by staff members, but all of the back and forth took its toll on the equipment. This Awesome Fund grant will purchase consoles and controllers for the sole and permanent use of the club, which will also allow more students to participate. Learn more.