Grants and Partnerships

What Have We Accomplished Together?


2021 – Music on the Playground, WLC – $9,379

This grant allows the Washington Learning Center to create an outdoor environment where children can explore, discover, experience, learn and use their imagination with high-quality music pieces. The instruments encourage students to discover new sounds and rhythms. The chimes are based on a pentatonic scale where any and all notes played always sound good. The deep sounds of the drums allow children that are playing and listening to develop coordination with movement to the rhythms and can also be used to teach math concepts in a fun and engaging manner as a group activity.

2020 – Phenology Program, WLC – $2,500

This grant will provide teachers with the tools and equipment to teach whole class lessons on the observation and collection of information on life cycles in plants, animals, and climate while also allowing children time to explore and investigate their natural world. In partnership with the Jeffers Foundation, this grant will allow for the further devolpment of WLC’s outdoor classroom theory.

2020 – Technology Exploration Program, Middle School – $6,600

An after-school club will be created to plan, script, and practice for “Live From the Middle School”. This will have weekly broadcasts on Friday morning, which will live stream to all classrooms. In addition, students will learn how to use Osmo gimbal cameras, iPads, iMac digital editing stations, webcams, microphones, and encourage both collaboration and independent projects.

2020 – Space Science and Exploration, High School – $7,600

This grant will provide funding to purchase telescopes, including some computerized telescopes, that will allow students to find and track astronomical bodies across the night sky. Students will have hands-on experience exploring space, tracking orbital paths, and seeing a variety of structures in space firsthand. In addition this grant will help New Ulm High School meet and exceed the Minnesota Department of Education’s new science standards.

2019 – Eagle Enterprises – $15,000

Eagle Enterprises will create student-run businesses in each of the Career & Technical Education Departments. The purpose of Eagle Enterprises is to provide real work experiences while filling the skills gap in our community. This is the CTE’s version of personalized learning and pushing the advanced students to help them be job ready upon graduating high school.

2018 – Collaborative Learning Initiative – $10,200

According to the National Middle School Association, the Middle School “House” concept is one that supports the transition from the self-contained classrooms of elementary schools to largely collaborative, yet independent high schools. An exemplary middle school is one that provides an environment rich in opportunities for collaboration and social interaction, and House hallways are an obvious space for these opportunities. This grant will allow the purchase of furnishings for collaborative workspaces that will be utilized by all students in grades 5-8 at the Middle School.

2018 – Dramatic Play Stage and Equipment – $3,000

Dramatic play promotes imagination, self-regulation, conflict resolution, and confidence in our youngest learners. Research has shown that dramatic play is important to social development and for the development of linguistic and literary abilities. This grant provides for, and encourages, unstructured play sessions for students during morning clubs and school hours as well as a classroom tool to enhance the students’ understanding of literature. This grant impacts each of the over 200 students who attend Washington Learning Center every year.

2017 – Solar Panels for the Greenhouse – $15,000

The addition of solar panels to the High School’s greenhouse will provide students the opportunity to apply skills and principles related to the production and transmission of clean energy. Utilizing STEM
(Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) concepts in the classroom increases student enthusiasm and participation, teamwork/collaboration, and creativity while helping students understand how and when they will use these newly developed math and technology skills.
“I enjoyed the greenhouse this year because I never knew much about agriculture, and being able to build and produce food was amazing to me. It was a great learning experience and I’m glad I was involved with the greenhouse.” – Abbey Frauenholtz

2017 – Student Inventors: Using littleBits™ for Big Learning – $5,750

These small magnetic pieces of technology not only teach students about circuits and electricity, but also can be used to augment lessons in math, science, music, computer coding, etc. The kits provide real-life applications for concepts, which is important for those of varying learning styles. Inventing teaches students to use critical-thinking skills to find appropriate and workable solutions. It increases students’ ability to observe, analyze, and identify problems. Inventing requires students to recall previous knowledge, to process new information, and it promotes collaboration and communication. Approximately 660 students in grades 1-4 will benefit from littleBits™.

2016 – Innovative Outdoor Learning Environment – $12,500

The use of play as an instructional tool allows students to learn how to problem solve, share, socialize, and use their creative voices. This grant provides those opportunities for play, and includespollinator and vegetable gardens, water play, and building and music areas. Students are able to explore, investigate, and approach tasks and experiences with flexibility and imagination. The school anticipates higher levels of growth in the areas of social problem solving, large and fine motor skills, close observation, understanding quantities, estimation, and cause and effect. This grant impacts each of the over 200 students who attendWashington Learning Center each year.

2015 – Destination Imagination Science Curriculum – $15,000

Destination Imagination (DI) is a standards-based international science competition in which students work in teams to solve one of the seven yearly Challenges. Each Challenge is open-ended and enables students to learn and experience the creative process while fostering their creativity, curiosity and courage. Using STEAM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Arts/Math), public speaking, and teamwork, students are able to come together to solve the unique challenges before them. Over 400 students in grades 5-8 have been impacted so far.
“Everything we’ve given up in teaching in the last 20 years has come back through this: the collaboration, and the working together, the challenges.” – Tammy Yackley, 5th/6thMath Grade Teacher, DI Coordinator


  • Parker Hannifin ($4,000) to purchase a Makey Makey invention kit and a set of mini Ozobot robots for the Jefferson Elementary STEM lab.
  • Alliance Bank ($2,308) to purchase six Kindergarten Listening Centers.
  • 3M ($9,000+) to continue supporting the Destination Imagination program in the Middle School.
  • Anonymous donor ($1 million) to fund enhancements to the new high school Performing Arts Center.
  • Pete and Linda Neigebauer ($20,000) to help fund the new High School Greenhouse.
  • Nate and Amanda Groebner ($1,300) to fund the purchase of a drone for use in the High School Agriculture and Science departments.
  • Friends of ISD 88 ($5,000) towards playground improvements at the Jefferson Elementary-Middle School Campus.
  • Anonymous donor ($1,000) Jefferson STEM Lab