Building stronger schools doesn’t just happen. It requires the efforts of many – each bringing their own unique talents, insights, strengths, abilities and willingness to make a difference. Through our grant awards, we strive to help people do the most good in our community.

Each year, we will invite school staff to apply for funding through our grant process. The Albany Area Education Foundation’s funding priorities are as follows:

  • Create unforgettable learning experiences for students. Offer students rich, challenging, and engaging learning experiences that encourage them to be lifelong learners.
  • Provide our students with world class educational technology.  Teach students how to incorporate technology in their learning, providing opportunities for student collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and creativity.
  • Partner with community members to provide real-life, hands-on learning opportunities that teach vocational and life skills. Provide meaningful opportunities for students to prepare them to be contributing members of society (for example, Work-Based Learning internships, job shadowing, community experts).

Grant Making 2019

Because of tremendous support from community members, the foundation was able to award grants up to $1000 for a total of $5000 in its second year of grant making. Our goal, as always, is to create unforgettable learning experiences for our students.

Becky Boyer and Jody Abraham —

Kindergarten

Bee-Bots – This grant made possible a set of Bee-Bots. Bee-Bots are exciting little robots designed for use by children. They teach directionality, sequencing, estimation, and problem solving. In addition to the robots, this grant also made possible the purchase of a variety of mats to use with the Bee-Bots. The mats extend the learning in reading and math while encouraging cooperative learning and problem solving among peers.

Bee-Bots extends the kindergarten curriculum in an innovative manner. Both Becky and Jody recognize the need to facilitate more student-directed problem solving and feel this is an exciting and engaging way to do so. Becky and Jody plan to broaden this learning opportunity to students in other grade levels too, building community and language skills for their young learners while addressing the potential for role models and leadership in older students.

Carole Braschayko – 4th Grade

Albany Jaycees Founding Donor Grant – Community Learning – Carole Braschayko’s 4th graders study entrepreneurship and giving back to the community. To apply this learning, Carole’s students constructed outdoor library spaces that would include “Little Free Libraries” and benches in the Avon and Albany communities. This project allowed the students to have an authentic experience in giving to the community with the hopes that they will continue to serve their community throughout their lives.

The intent of the STEM portion of this project is to give students the opportunity to engage in rich projects that cannot be accomplished within the confines of an elementary classroom, combining elementary students with high school science classrooms utilizing the new high school science facilities.

Construction will take place in collaboration with the high school technical education students, allowing elementary students use of the new high school facilities.

Carole’s hope is students will realize the potential experiences they can have when they get to high school and beyond.

Ross Resley – Music

Drumming ‘Round the World — This grant allowed Ross Resley to expand his classroom’s instrument collection to include new world percussion pieces. By adding these pieces, Mr. Resley can incorporate more student participation into his lessons: every child will have an instrument to use.

Mr. Resley aims to provide his students with a quality music education, but a multicultural one as well. These new instruments allow students to see and experience connections between the music they know and love here in Minnesota and to music people in other countries and cultures know and love. One example of such connection is musical contributions of Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities.

Mr. Resley hopes that his students “have so much fun they don’t realize they are learning.” Handing students a piece of percussion equipment that connects them to another part of the world is one way he accomplishes his goal.

Stephanie Stang – 1st Grade

Flexible Seating – Often classrooms appear rigid and tightly structured. Learners work collaboratively and independently, but are stationary. The classroom allows for little movement. Envision a classroom with a table at standing height, one at floor level with cushions to sit on, rocking chairs, medicine balls, stools, and a variety of other seating options. Students in this environment are also working independently and collaboratively, but some learners are tapping their feet while working at the taller table, a few are using a clipboard as they rock back and forth in their rocker, others are swaying on a wiggle seat while working quietly. Students feel more comfortable in classrooms with choices and options for movement.

Stephanie Stang’s classroom is full of 24 enthusiastic and energetic first graders. Sitting in one place is difficult for young learners. Moving their bodies energizes their brains too. Flexible seating provides opportunities for students to move and recharge their brains.

Mrs. Stang focuses on creating a student-centered classroom. The AAEF mission of offering students rich, challenging, and engaging learning experiences meshes perfectly with flexible seating options.

Cathy Studer – Media Center

STEM: Dash and Dot Robotics – Maker Space activities provide students opportunities to create, think critically, collaborate, and communicate to program robotic devices in the school’s Media Center. All students access the Media Center every week, so making these learning opportunities available in this space enhances learning opportunities for all students, k-5.

As our district’s schools adopt a more personalized learning focus combined with a focus on preparing students to enter a technology rich world, additional Maker Space materials and robots will encourage students to embrace their own learning. Personalized learning then becomes part of their regular educational experience.

Jill Valerius – 3rd Grade

Stop Motion Camera Kits – Stop Motion Camera kits provide students with unforgettable learning experiences and allow students to use world class education technology. Students can produce and direct their own films. They learn how to edit their films by creating settings, characters, and props as well as how to add voiceovers, animations, and other effects. Further, students foster creativity through legos and modeling clay, showcasing their creativity and engineering skills as they create videos.

Videos allow application of learning in all subject areas, whether it be reading, writing, math, art, social studies, etc. Creativity, innovation, and imagination are inherent in this kind of thinking and producing.

Grant Making – 2018

The reason for our being: grant making. The foundation awarded its first round of grants less than a year after its inception. From ozobots to octoball, students in the Albany Area Schools were able to take part in unforgettable, engaging learning experiences. One grant made possible a buddy reading program between elementary students and education students at St. Ben’s and St. John’s University; another grant funded Makerspace supplies, which creates hands-on creative ways for students to design, experiment, and invent as they engage in science, engineering, and tinkering.

Mission Statement:
The Albany Area Education Foundation (AAEF) is an independent, non-profit organization devoted to supporting the continued excellence of Albany Area Schools. Partnering with the school district and the community, the AAEF secures private, supplemental funding to support district programs, spur innovation, and expand opportunities for students and staff in the areas of academics, activities, arts, and athletics.