Thomson family donates $100K to H-W CSF


CRESCO - The Howard-Winneshiek Community School Foundation (HWCSF) held a celebration thanking its donors for their contributions to the PK-12 grade classrooms at the home of the late Jack Thomson on May 23. 
Since its inception in 2016, HWCSF has given out over $33,000 in classroom grants to enhance the learning opportunities for students in the Howard-Winneshiek School District.
The grants came from community and school-minded individuals who wanted to give teachers the tools they need to help students excel. Thanks to those donors, 53 different projects were funded.
Looking forward, HWCSF President Scott Thomson told those gathered that his dad’s home was the most fitting place to make an announcement. “The Thomson family is pledging $100,000 to the Howard-Winneshiek Comm-unity School Foundation in Jack’s name. The money will be placed in a perpetual endowment with the Northeast Iowa Community Foundation for the purpose of funding classroom needs in the Howard-Winneshiek School District.”
Thomson described the thought behind the gift. He and his dad had a discussion in 2016. They made the joint decision that Jack’s legacy and finances should go towards making the Howard County area a better place in which to live, work and raise a family. 
This donation, added to the $10,000 already in the endowment fund, will allow approximately four percent or $4,400 to be given annually to aid in classroom education through the endowment. Other donations will continue to be used for gifts as well.
Four of the teachers who have received funds spoke about their projects and thanked those present.
• Third grade teacher Michelle Midthus purchased Ozobot smart robots. “This is a newer-type robot that prepares students for advanced robotics. The district has been pushing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) but doesn’t have the money [for supplies].” 
These grants allow teachers to get what they need.
• First grade teacher Casey Rausch received OSMO gaming systems, which are innovative and fun learning programs for an i-Pad. She agrees with STEM, but also adds an “A” for arts, making it STEAM. She invited those gathered to play the games scattered around the room.
• Justin Denner brought the ever-popular Howie, the district’s therapy dog. He got his training through one of the grants.
Denner explained the golden doodle is at school 3-3.5 days per week and works individually with students. “There have been some break-throughs with the kids. They can tell him things they can’t tell an adult.”
Howie has been used as an award. In addition, he spends a lot of time with the students at the alternate high school.
• Art teacher Tanya Riehle has received 3D writing pens and a camera with accessories. She explained how the items worked and said, “I wouldn’t be able to do this stuff without the foundation.”
Bryan Sheehy explained over $7,000 was given in grants in 2016, $10,500 in 2017 and over $15,000 in 2018. “We can’t do it without you guys.”
Joe Braun stated the money goes directly into a teacher’s classroom.
Thomson concluded, “We’d like to see this endowment grow. We have dedicated teachers. They deserve the best, and our kids deserve the best.”
When it was first formed, HWCSF gave the maximum request for teachers at $500. With the success of the program, the maximum grant has risen to $1,000 per year.
Many of those invited to the event had given a five-year commitment, from $250-$5,000, or $50-$1,000 a year for five years.
Besides Thomson, the HWCSF committee is made up of: Vice President, Bryan Sheehy; Treasurer/Secretary, Joe Braun; and board members Melodee Balk, Chris Rogne, Robyn Lane, Michelle Midthus, Nick Ferrie, Libby Schwade and Tanya Riehle.
The committee thanks the donors for their vision and financial help in making the foundation a valuable asset for the teachers and students in the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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