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To date, we have awarded more than $106,000 for innovative projects in our River Falls public schools! With your generous donations, future grant disbursements can continue to fund the ideas that are rolling in. Below are this year's grant recipients:


Teacher Recipient: Nate Bingenheimer

The purchase of this technology allows access for students whose families may not be able to afford high-speed internet service in their homes or to students who may live in rural areas that do not have access to high-speed internet connection, through a Wi-Fi hotspot program.  The hotspots are available to checkout from the River Falls High School Library.  The service will be provided by Mobile Citizen, an organization that provides low-cost portable internet solutions to schools. Amount awarded: $1,400.


Teacher Recipients: Rita Thorson and Nick Stenske 

We all know students love to write on desks and tables, so why not use this to our advantage?  Students currently use existing whiteboard surfaces to collaborate using graphic devices on various projects and assignments.  The one-to-one technology is amazing but does not always allow visual and tactile learners to maximize their potential.  The best part is the students can create and store the information on their iPads by simply taking a photo. Amount awarded: $300.


Teacher Recipient: Ryan Pechacek

With the purchase of a welding simulator, River Falls students now have the ability to rapidly refine basic welding skills, learn proper welding technique and explore welding career paths in a safe, virtual environment without the need for consumables like metal and gas.  This machine comes with a full curriculum that is up-to-date with current standards.  Amount awarded: $4,000.


Teacher Recipients: Deb Ottman, Heather Boleman and Liz Kumershek

Breakout EDU is a platform for immersive learning.  It is a great way to have an interactive activity that utilizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and increased communication skills.  Breakout activities present to participant’s challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve. Breakouts are aligned to different content areas, grades as well as adult professional learning.  Opportunities for students to create their own breakout games will also be used as a learning experience. Amount awarded: $600.


Teacher Recipient: Paul Haugland

Technology is all around us including in the design and automation within production shops. The addition of the CNC ShopBot Desktop Max machine allows River Falls schools teach to that technology and create an outstanding learning experience for our students while providing them with a high-quality education that in the long run could event benefit some of our local businesses. Amount awarded: $3,550.


Teacher Recipient: Becky McAleavey  

Buddy Bags are designed to be fun and informative ways for families to share literacy and learning experiences at home. Families read the book(s), then participate in the activities ranging anywhere from cooking and crafts to singing and science experiments, and finally write about the experience.  Amount awarded: $1,450.


Teacher Recipients: Jayne Hoffman, Peggy Kugel and Lori Sather 



Makerspaces are rich, innovative learning environments that foster critical thinking, communicating, collaborating and creating the four C’s of 21st –century learning.  Tinkering (Maker labs) offer authentic personalized learning opportunities with its low floor (easy to get started), high ceiling (opportunities to create sophisticated projects) and wide walls (supporting many different types of projects).  These labs are a unique combination of inquiry-based, cooperative, and project-based learning, all proven to have long-term positive effects on student achievement and success. Amount awarded: $1,800.


Injection Molder and Vacuum Former

Teacher Recipient: Kevin Dorn


The injection molder will be used to make wheels for the 8th-grade MMS middle school shop student in the building of their dragster vehicles, thus reducing the cost of these consumable wheels in the future. While the plastic vacuum former will help students convert their dragsters from all-wood to plastic versions and utilizes more involved designs through a CAD program inventor. While these will initially be used for MMS shop, the hope and intent is a broader use. Amount awarded: $3,900.


Teacher Recipient: Dan Hoffman


The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a process involving amplifying small quantities of DNA, so there will be enough sample to further study DNA through the process of DNA fingerprinting and DNA sequencing.  As a result of this funding, the RFHS will have the ability to perform the PCR process within our labs because as a consequence of this equipment versus having to send it out for analysis This will not only thoroughly teach an advanced topic but it will also save money and time. Amount awarded: $3,000.

FORWARD is a nonprofit education foundation that supports the School District of River Falls. We raise private funds to enhance creative learning initiatives that engage, challenge, and inspire students.

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