Programs Funded

2019-2020 Grant Descriptions

Art in Motion

SSEF is excited to anounce a public art project created by Sartell High School students with local Sartell resident artist Melissa Gohman. Students will be involved in the creation of public art for the round about at the new high school, learning valuable team building and civic pride and planning. As the first generation of students to attend the new Sartell High school, they will lend their voice and vision to the future identity of the school for students and community to come.

Early Childhood Family Education Materials

With this grant we are able to provide our youngest learners in the district with equipment that is exciting, age appropriate and will lead to hours of enjoyment. This grant will greatly help us spark the creativity and curiosity of the students and families that attend our ECFE classes and provide them with an environment that supports social and emotional and intellectual development.  

Family Math Night

Family Math Night is an evening for families to come together to have the opportunity to have fun learning and exploring math together. Throughout the event, families will be able to enjoy a light meal and work through various activities tied to what students have been learning in their math class. Families will be able to complete projects that show how math is used in the real world and in their parent’s every day lives. Students will also get to take an activity home with them to continue to have fun with math and their families outside of school!

Flexible Spaces


SSEF is excited to support a pilot project to purchase a variety of flexible furniture options that will continue to promote leading-edge teaching and learning opportunities across the district.  The intent is for teachers and administrators to understand which options work best and to use this knowledge when purchasing large quantities for the newly configured schools the following year.

Hands on US History Curriculum Project

"Hands-on History is a way to engage all 11th Grade student at SHS. In our US History classes, we are using games, simulations, and unique experiences to help our students interact with and be exposed to how America became the country it is today! Imagine not just talking about how the US won its independence from Great Britain in the American Revolution but being a citizen in a game and having to decide if you would actually fight for your beliefs. Or what if you didn’t just read about the Underground Railroad but you were part of a team of ‘conductors’ that had to find clues and hints to help break out of the Deep South (and your Breakout EDU box). Sound a whole lot more exciting… Right!?!"

Let's Create with AR and VR!

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are technologies that are becoming more and more visible in businesses, science, and in entertainment! Because of this, it’s important for our middle school students to be exposed to learning opportunities where they can immerse themselves in these 3D experiences and even create their own VR/AR projects. A wrinkle in using VR and AR in the classroom can be the added costs of purchasing VR goggles and extra mobile devices. This project will bypass the need for extra physical equipment by providing SMS students with access to the CoSpaces Edu app, where they can create their own projects in 3D to view in AR on their iPads. The tech staff at SMS will work with teachers and students to find opportunities for AR/VR integration across all content areas and to grow learners’ creativity!

Make it Happen! - "Mini-Maker" Labs in the Kindergarten Classroom

Make it Happen! is a project designed to integrate “Mini-Maker Labs” into all Kindergarten classrooms. Maker education provides a platform for children to engage in hands-on learning experiences that encourage critical thinking, exploration, collaboration, problem solving, and innovation.  Developmental play of children ages five-seven naturally lends itself to the skills of planning out ideas, testing those ideas, and figuring out why ideas did or didn’t work.  Enhancing this developmental approach to play with meaningful “Mini-Maker” labs that integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) provides students:

• Open-ended activities that develop divergent thinking skills; focusing on process rather than product.
• Active participation in learning that supports focus, taking initiative, locating resources, asking for help; all essential skills that can be transferred to other learning environments.
• An opportunity to develop a growth mindset.  Maker education helps normalize failure as a part of the inquiry process.  Students are encouraged to make several attempts to improve upon their ideas through trial and error and purposeful reflection.
• FUN unpressured exploration and inventive play.


Motor Tools to enhance literacy and math skills

We appreciate the SSEF's support for our School District's youngest learners in our School Readiness program.  The grant would serve approximately 200 three- to five-year-old students for a two-year enhancement of children's fine and gross motor skills.  The first year would focus on enhancing children's fine motor abilities to ensure success in writing, hand strength for endurance and eye-hand coordination needed for a variety of learning tasks both in and out of the classroom. Literacy and mathematical concepts would automatically be embedded each time the new and innovative fine and gross motor materials would be utilized in the classrooms.  The generous SSEF donors would be proud to invest in our district's youngest students by increasing the likelihood of their current success and be assured of even greater school success as they move through the elementary grades and beyond.  

One District One Book

The One District, One Book (ODOB) program is designed to promote literacy and create a shared reading experience across the entire school community.   With the generous support of SSEF, each K-4 family within the Sartell-St. Stephen school district will be provided a copy of the same children’s novel to read together during the month of February.  This provides an excellent opportunity to spark a community-wide conversation around a book with the ultimate goal to inspire a rich appreciation of literature and create lifelong readers.

Three Treasures: Jin, Qi and Shen

Through the support of Sartell- St. Stephen Education Foundation (SSEF) and Sartell High School, Willow School of Tai Chi will offer a week-long “artist-in-residence” program of instruction in meditation, Yang style Tai Chi and basic self-defense.  Through this unique and impactful combination of arts, the student will be better balanced (physically, energetically and emotionally), better able to deal with personal and environmental influences and better prepared in situations of potential threat.



Past Grant Examples:


During the last two years, the second graders at PME and ORE have been involved in Math SmARTS program, a collaborative project between the Sartell Elementary Schools and the Paramount Visual Arts center to improve students' attitude and proficiency in both math and the arts.


Students visit the Paramount where they work with dance and visual artists.  

The artists also make one visit to each of their classrooms continuing the reinforcement of the skills. 


At the Paramount with the visual artist, students learn about geometric Islamic tiles. They then have an opportunity to create their own tiles which are glazed and fired.  The dance artists reinforces the geometric skills through dance moves creating two and three dimensional shapes, as well as symmetrical and asymmetrical shapes.  The students also enjoy the experience of dancing on the Paramount stage.


During the classroom visits, the visual artists help students create a six pointed star using paper folding and patterning reinforcing geometric shapes.  The dance artist reinforce the skills learned at the Paramount to help the students create a dance. 


The students' experiences in the Math SmARTs program  integrate the art and math curriculum enhancing their understanding of patterning and geometrics.

Click on the image to see a gallery of photos.

press to zoom
STEM Initiative


Within the Sartell Middle School, there are 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students who create, develop, test, and conclude their own scientific inquiries.  These students work for several months to plan and complete their science fair projects each year.  This year our middle school sent 15 students to present their research at our local Regional Science Fair at St. Cloud State University on February 21st, 2015.  It is a professional experience where students have the opportunity to explain their experiment and results to several judges.  They also have the opportunity to network with other like-minded science students from other schools.  Several students earned awards, and we were fortunate enough to have five students advance to the MN Academy of Sciences State Fair, which took place on March 20th-22nd in Bloomington, MN.

MN Academy of Sciences State Fair Attendees and Awards


7th Graders:  Janagan Ramanathan and Carter Schumacher earned the Wolfram Research Mathematica Software Middle School Research Award (Project: “Aerodynamics: Effect of Blade Angle on Turbine Voltage Output”)  

8th Graders:  Gillian Orth and Cindy Zhang earned a Minnesota Academy of Science Grand Awards Bronze (Project: “Does Fear Change With Age?”)

8th Grader:   Elizabeth Ruder earned a Minnesota Academy of Science Grand Awards Bronze(Project: “Solar Power Water Desalination”)


Pictured above: Cindy Zhang, Gillian Orth, Elizabeth Ruder, Carter Schumacher, and Janagan Ramanathan

SCSU Central MN Regional Science Fair Attendees and Awards:


Left to Right

Front Row: 7th Graders:   Lydia Anderson and Jaden Nguyen (Merit Award), Janagan Ramanathan and Carter Schumacher (Premium Award), Ella Krauel and Mallory Daniels (Merit Award)

Back Row:  9th Grader:  Madeline Thieschafer (Merit Award)  8th Graders: Elizabeth Ruder (Association for Women Geoscientists Special Award and Premium Award), Gillian Orth and Cindy Zhang (Merit Award on Oral Research Paper Presentation and Premium Award), Jack Hackenmueller (Honorable Mention), Benjamin Kiewel (not pictured) and Jacob Miller (Merit Award), Elijah Lawson (not pictured) and Bennett Hill (Merit Award)

Sartell Middle School Academic Extensions


The goal of the middle school Academic Extensions program is to offer a wide variety of programs and activites in order to serve the needs and interests of all students. There are approximately 30 programs involving students in grades 5-8.  


We Day 2015

press to zoom
Art In Motion


Our latest artist in residency program with Heidi Jueb is complete and being enjoyed in our schools front entry. This collaborative metal welcome art piece was handmade from start to finish and utilized recycled materials, photos taken from students in school, welded panels, laser images created on a printer loaned from SCSU as an extension to the STEM program at the high school. This was funded by Central Minnesota Arts Board and is part of the Art In Motion program. Jueb led the project with approximately 80 students in conjunction with three classes in Photography, Multimedia and Metals fabrication along with teachers Joe Schulte, Nick Phillips, Angela Heckman and Jess Boline. 


We are also working on completing a ceramic bird installation with the artclub and metal fabrication students. Watch for this cool addition soon!

press to zoom
Family Library Story Hour


The Family Library Story Hour takes place at the District Service Center twice per month with approximately 15 children in attendance. During the sessions, children as young as 9 months up to 5 years participate with their parents or caregivers.


The session begins with children gathering in the comfort of their parents' laps singing a welcoming song and other music and movement songs that coincide with the book(s) and theme of the day. The parents also receive copies of lyrics so they can repeat and extend their child's learning at home. Parents and children listen as a licensed Early Childhood Teacher reads stories and shares methods that focus on the foundation of literacy skills that are needed to become a successful reader. Research has demonstrated that the key literacy areas include: 1. Narrative Skills, 2.Letter Knowledge, 3. Print Awareness, 4. Vocabulary, 5. Print Motivation, and 6.Phonological Awareness. 


The second half the session is parent-child interaction/activity time. Parents help enhance their child's literacy skills by working on specifically designed literacy based activities. Finally, parents and children check out a library book to enjoy at home. 


Over the past several months, parents have been able to meet other parents, gain support, build connections and develop relationships with other families in the district. "We are thankful for the SSEF for their support in making our Sartell community stronger through this educational endeavor" states Mrs. Larsen who is pictured above.