La Crosse Public Education Foundation awards 16 grants to local - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse Public Education Foundation awards 16 grants to local schools

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David Stoeffler surprises teacher Karen Wilke with a grant Monday David Stoeffler surprises teacher Karen Wilke with a grant Monday
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -  The La Crosse Public Education Foundation surprised teachers Monday, awarding 16 grants totaling over $18,000 to area schools. News 19 followed the Foundation's Executive Director, David Stoeffler, into Karen Wilke's 6th grade classroom for one of these surprise visits.

 Wilke already has seating options for students that struggle to sit still from a previous grant 2 years ago, but with this grant she has arranged for the same equipment to be available for every 6th grade classroom at Longfellow Middle School. 

 The seating options include 'Stability balls' which are large rubber balls that the students can use to sit at their desks instead of their hard plastic chair.  They can slowly bounce up and down without disturbing the class. 

 Other options include rocker chairs for reading time and small 'rockers' that are plastic balance boards that can be stood on or used under the desks so the students can quietly rock them back and forth to release energy again without disturbing others.

 Wilke says that she has noticed an improvement in her class' attentiveness.  "It helps them focus and instead of just being in the chair, [they're] getting the wiggles out." 

 Students also notice a difference. Sixth grader Markos Cash says, "I like sitting on the stability balls because it just makes me feel comfortable." Classmate Abby Raymond adds, "I have a lot of energy in the mornings, so I need something to move around more. So, I grab one of these if no one's using them and I just rock on them in the chairs."

 These little extra things are something that the La Crosse Public Education Foundation takes pride in. Stoeffler says, "We're looking for things that are outside what the school district can do in its normal budget."

 And these little things make it easier for students to focus and learn.

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