Alexandria Education Foundation awards $41,138 in teacher innovation grants

Since 2009, AEF has awarded over $486,000 in grants to teachers in Alexandria Public Schools.

Education Foundation grant recipient.jpg
Claire Anderson, right, Alexandria Education Foundation board member, presented a check to Riley Gustafson, a physical education teacher for Alexandria Public Schools, and some of his students. The grant will help pay for rock climbing walls at Garfield Elementary School and Carlos Elementary School.
Contributed photo

ALEXANDRIA — The Alexandria Education Foundation awarded $41,138.67 in teacher grants to fund eight enrichment projects in the Alexandria Public Schools for implementation in the 2023-2024 school year.

The foundation’s goal is to generate and distribute resources to the Alexandria Public Schools that enrich teaching, inspire learning and enhance opportunities for students.

Annually, the foundation invites the district’s teachers and staff to submit grant applications for projects and programs that will have a meaningful impact on students. This year, there were 15 grants invited to complete full applications based upon initial letters of intent. Eight of those full grant applications were either partially or fully funded.

Since 2009, the Alexandria Education Foundation has awarded over $486,000 in grants to teachers in Alexandria Public Schools.

Here are the projects that were funded:


3D Printer Farm
Teacher: Austin Aker
School: Alexandria Area High School
Students impacted: 180 students 9-12th grade
Amount funded: $1,200
This project will create a small 3D print farm to increase exposure to rapid prototyping with 3D printing and reduce project time. The printers are used to help students create a product or invention.

Orff Instrument Music Class Enrichment
Teacher: Ray Noble
School: Garfield-Miltona-Carlos Elementary Schools
Students impacted: 360 students K-5
Amount funded: $5,300
Orff instruments at GMC schools will allow students to receive hands-on musical experiences, play as an ensemble, collaborate with peers, create, reflect, revise, and perform self-created compositions. These instruments have exceptional durability while still maintaining great sound quality.

Outdoor Makerspace
Teacher: Kristen Schmidt
School: Carlos Elementary
Students impacted: 120, PreK-grade 5
Amount funded: $3,624.67
Purchasing an Outdoor Makerspace allows all students at Carlos Elementary to create, build experiments, and explore using hands-on outdoor materials. This will foster and create innovative outdoor learning opportunities and will include materials that will provide unique, year-round, outdoor learning experiences for all students.

Carlos Outdoor Makerspace.jpg
Jen Heydt, left, Alexandria Education Foundation board member, presented Kristen Schmidt, right, a Carlos Elementary teacher, and some students, with grant money to be used for the school's Adventure Acres project.
Contributed photo

Engineering Derby Cars in Innovation Lab
Teacher: Lukas Gotto
School: Discovery Middle School
Students impacted: Approximately 100 students in 8th grade
Amount funded: $1,875
The grant will purchase a track to be used for derby car racing in the Innovation Lab class at Discovery Middle School. The Derby Car unit combines STEM and woodworking by having the students design derby cars using Tinkercad and 3D printers and building their final product in the wood shop. Their cars will be put to the test on the newly purchased Pitsco racing track.

Get Outdoors with Grab and Go’s!
Teacher: Amy Revering
School: Miltona Science Magnet School
Students impacted: School-wide, approximately 140 students in grades K-5
Amount funded: $6,000
Get Outdoors with Grab and Go’s! includes nine science-themed kits of lessen plans and activities. The kits provide teachers with easily accessible, standards-based lessons that can be implemented in an outdoor setting. Students will be able to observe, investigate, manipulate, collaborate, and problem solve using manipulatives and activities in the kits.

Instruments for Music Class Enhancement
Teacher: Lisa Blevins
School: Discovery Middle School
Students impacted: Over 300 band students in grades 6-8
Amount funded: $6,200
This grant will enhance Discovery Middle School music classes by purchasing instruments for students. The equipment will allow all students to participate equally in the music classroom activities. Adding instruments to DMS inventory will promote student confidence and encourage lifelong musicians and creative problem solvers.

Rock Climbing Walls
Teacher: Riley Gustafson
School: Garfield Elementary and Carlos Elementary
Students impacted: Over 260 students in grades K-5
Amount funded: $12,000
This grant will provide a Traverse Rock Climbing Wall at both Garfield and Carlos Elementary Schools. The climbing wall will give kids a new way to move their bodies during their physical education classes and challenge them in new ways.

Lego Spike Prime Robots
Teacher: Jon Hennen
School: Discovery Middle School
Students impacted: Over 100 students in 8th Grade
Amount funded: $4,939
Lego Spike Prime Kits will be used in the robotics course at Discovery Middle School. The kits will provide students with an engaging, hands-on experience to explore things such as coding, engineering, design, and problem solving. Throughout the course, students will use the design process to build and code various robotic projects.


Funding for the foundation's Teacher Grant Program is made possible by donor contributions to the Alexandria Education Foundation. Donations can be made online at, or by mail to AEF, P.O. Box 308, Alexandria, MN 56308.

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