LA CROSSE, Wis. - Fourth-graders at North Woods International School are thinking about what they want to be when they grow up. Their teacher is helping them prepare.
But some students benefit from working in a small group.
“Each student has very different needs,” said fourth-grade teacher Katie Pierre.
To help students with different needs, some are working on the same classroom project but in a smaller setting thanks to the help of a volunteer from Trustpoint, a financial services company in downtown La Crosse.
"We decided the best way to help our community and the next generation was to get involved with children in our community,” said Trustpoint relationship manager Andrew Steger.
Steger said the company is a firm believer in giving back to its community.
“Almost everybody in our organization is involved in some capacity in giving back to a non-profit in some way or another,” said Steger.
In fact, 80% of its employees volunteer in the community and one-third of them are currently volunteering at North Woods International as mentors, an extra set of helping hands and, to the principal's surprise, even through financial gifts.
“We didn't expect that,” said North Woods International School Principal Sandy Brauer. “ We are so grateful for that.”
The principal says she'd like to show her gratitude for all of the support from Trustpoint by paying it forward.
“I would hope that this would be a model for other businesses in our community,” said Brauer. “If somehow we could pave the way, because of the things we've learned and the systems we have in place, to make it easier for businesses to adopt a school, that would be fantastic.”
Her wish is coming true. The La Crosse Public Education Foundation is currently creating an Adopt-a-School program using the North Woods International and Trustpoint partnership as the ideal model.
“But a lot of businesses don't have the capacity that Trustpoint might have,” said David Stoeffler, La Crosse Public Education Foundation executive director.
So LPEF is creating a program that will fit the needs of any business or organization looking to adopt a school.
“What we have in mind is sort of a three-level program,” said Stoeffler.
A supporter might be an organization that does a once-a-year event to help its adopted school. An associate level business might choose two to four projects a year. And a full partner would be like Trustpoint that commits time, human resources and financial resources.
The district's superintendent, Randy Nelson, says good things are happening in La Crosse schools...
“But we can do even better things when we really wrap our whole community around our students and really work to provide better outcomes for them,” said Nelson.
Trustpoint volunteers are hoping their efforts to adopt North Woods International will benefit generations to come.
“We are beyond grateful,” said Brauer.
And the school's principal hopes her school has helped pave the way for future partnerships for school's throughout the district.
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