The Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin has approved the funding of 12 Beyond Pencils & Crayons Grants totaling $33,050 for the 2021-22 school year. Beyond Pencils & Crayons Grants are designed to recognize 4K-12th grade teachers throughout Marathon County for creative and innovative curriculum enhancements. As school budgets continue to be strained, Beyond Pencils & Crayons Grants are a viable funding source that allows teachers to implement programming that will enhance their student’s classroom experiences.

Ann Werth, chair of the Foundation’s Distributions Committee states, “We know that our schools are filled with inspired teachers who have great ideas that will get their students excited about learning.” In addition to the annual allocation of $25,000 to be awarded, the Dudley Foundation and the Dudley family donated $4,200 to the fund in honor of the anniversary of their mother’s, Eileen Deneen Dudley’s, 100th birthday. This, combined with funds left from last year, increased the allocation pool to award this year. The grant selection committee chose proposals that best demonstrated the following qualities.  

  • Enrich the educational experience  
  • Motivate and inspire students and educators
  • Demonstrate a sense of community
  • Are cost-effective
  • Fill a specific need

Elisa Hartman, third grade teacher at Rib Mountain Elementary School, is the recipient of a Beyond Pencils & Crayons Grant. Along with others on her Leader in Me team, she says, “Community support, like this, helps make innovative ideas a reality in our schools. The team involved with the planning of this student created mural art initiative were delighted to receive the news of this award and appreciative of the selection and we are eager to bring this project to life.”

Meeting the educational needs of the community is an essential element of the Community Foundation’s mission. Since 1997, when the grant program was initiated, $597,462 has been invested into area schools for creative educational experiences. Individual teachers and teams of educators have implemented 434 different projects benefiting thousands of area students. 

The following schools received funding for their projects:

Athens & Edgar School Districts

Little Libraries, Big Hero’s, and Beyond

In April of 2022, authors Miranda and Baptiste Paul will bring the K-12th grade curriculums to life by working with students as young authors. Three books from the Paul’s will be featured, “Little Libraries, Big Heroes,” “Adventures to School,” and “Beyond.” 

Edgar, DC Everest, and Wausau School Districts

EDWins – Education Wins

Teachers will enhance their classroom curriculums by bringing in speakers on pertinent topics. Doug Stanton, who wrote “Horse Soldiers,” will be accompanied by veteran Mark Mitchell to share this story in conjunction with Veterans Day. A second presentation, to be held in March, will feature the little-known story of the “Clinton 12” about twelve African American students from Clinton, TN, who desegregated schools in 1956. 

Edgar Elementary School

Kindness Project

Fourth and fifth-grade students will participate in a full-day Kindness Retreat – a high-energy experience that will teach and give students the skills to be leaders within the school and promote respect and kindness to all.

Edgar School District

Playground Communication Board

Permanent communication boards will be installed on the playground and at the school forest for students that cannot verbally communicate for better interaction between students/teachers. The communication board will allow for the expression of messages and aid in the auditory processing of core words when listening to others.

Enrich, Excel Achieve Learning Academy

Driving to Succeed

Driver’s education will be provided to students who otherwise could not afford that instruction, thereby creating more likelihood of being safe, legal drivers.

John Muir Middle School

Under Sail

Students will have the opportunity to reinforce and apply what they have learned in their science and social studies classes by visiting Discovery World Science and Technology Center in Milwaukee and sail aboard the S/V Denis Sullivan on Lake Michigan.

Marathon Elementary

Got Chicks: Birds Amazing Bodies

First-grade students will experience an 18-week study about birds, their adaptations, and how to care for birds by bringing in an incubator, a variety of fertilized bird eggs, and a brooder.

Mosinee School District

Jack Hartmann Virtual Concert

Jack Hartmann’s songs and videos provide children with great educational content while captivating them with exciting musical beats and fun movements. All 4-K classes in the district will experience a live, interactive, virtual Jack Hartmann concert. 

Rib Mountain Elementary

Synergize: Mural Art

Students will spend the duration of the school year learning and living the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective” people with the district’s new “Leader in Me” program. This project will focus on the Habit of Synergize to bring together individual efforts to create something better – a masterpiece mural.

Thomas Jefferson Elementary

Screen Printing with Stencils

This art curriculum will spark creativity, engage the learner, and teach new art-making skills through silk screening techniques and graphic design processes. It will also showcase a career that uses graphics, design, and art as a future career choice.

Wausau & DCE School Districts

Rock Infused Orchestra

Sixth through 12th-grade orchestra students will be involved in a full-day clinic, utilizing popular music to teach and reinforce musical understanding and performance skills on string instruments. A culminating concert will inspire students and parents, increasing student retention in orchestra programs.

Wausau East & West High Schools


Adding binoculars to the existing equipment training and check-out program for district students will enhance the learning experience for Astronomy and Biology classes.