Dickinson Public Schools Foundation awards over $36,000 to area schools

The Dickinson Public Schools Foundation surprised several schools with over $36,000 in big checks Tuesday, to enhance and enrich education in the school district.

Students from Candace King's third-grade classroom raise two thumbs up for the big check donation they received for Lincoln Elementary Tuesday morning, which was awarded by the Dickinson Public Schools Foundation in the amount of $2,061. (Photo courtesy of Karen Heidt)

Several schools in the Dickinson Public School system received a big surprise of over $36,000 in giant checks awarded from the Dickinson Public Schools Foundation, Inc., to help enhance and enrich education.

The Dickinson Public Schools Foundation met with various schools Tuesday morning, handing over grants to Lincoln Elementary, Dickinson High School and Heart River Elementary. The foundation also awarded $1,360 in mini grants to support teachers at Dickinson High School and Lincoln Elementary. Projects funded include band personal protective equipment for Dickinson High School, a school-wide projector and a Chromebook Mouse project for Lincoln Elementary.

Typically, the Dickinson Public Schools Foundation budgets approximately $28,000 for these grants. This year’s funds succeeded previous years, with a record high of $36,000 in monetary grants, Dickinson Public Schools Foundation Director of Development Karen Heidt said.

“... We have given over $500,000 away since the foundation started in 1989 and I think that’s significant because we fund projects that go above and beyond the school district’s budget. Our teachers and administrators and staff are amazing (especially) the commitment they make. So it was so exciting,” Heidt said. “And we have such good community support.”

Teachers, administrators and other education personnel will apply for certain grants for projects by Dec. 13. The Dickinson Public Schools Foundation will then hear from those applicants via presentations and decide which ones they will award based on focus areas which range from academic success, community, cultural and student wellness, Heidt said.


“It gives extra things that they can’t afford, which enhance and enrich education (such as) innovative things. Many times, it’s like a pilot project so they can test it out and see if they need to spend dollars on it when they’re available because you can’t go buy a whole bunch of stuff if you know it doesn’t work. So I think that works well,” Heidt said.

Heidt works 10-20 hours a week for the Dickinson Public Schools Foundation and said it’s a great group of people who come together five times a year. The foundation’s board consists of community members — some are Dickinson High School graduates and others are former staff members.

Funding comes from employee payroll contributions, memorials, donations, annual giving program, special events, bequests in wills and planned giving, Heidt said.

“I’m thankful that our community and our staff and everyone supports our foundation so that we can do this for kids and staff. We’re lucky to have that,” she said, adding, “... We’ve done a lot of stuff that they wouldn’t have if the foundation wasn’t able to fund it.”

The recipients and projects awarded by the Dickinson Public Schools Foundation include:

  • Classroom portable public address (PA) systems for Lincoln Elementary ($1,500); this grant will provide a portable PA system for every classroom teacher at Lincoln Elementary. The PA systems will help students hear over the background noises and make communication easier to hear through face masks.

  • Reading Eggs Reading Program for Lincoln Elementary ($2,000); this grant provides access to the online reading program Reading Eggs to kindergarten through third grade students. This program reinforces reading and is especially important for those students learning to read, behind on reading and other learning their sounds and letters.

  • Qball interactive microphone system for Lincoln Elementary ($2,061); this system will promote personal interaction and strengthen inclusion by initiating communication and collaboration through whole body movement, interactive covers and auditory enhancement.

  • Bookworm vending machine for Lincoln Elementary ($11,500); this grant is for students demonstrating positive behaviors. They will receive a gold token to choose a book of choice from the Bookworm vending machine to take home. This project will increase positive behaviors, engagement in reading and the development of literacy skills.

  • Unite for Family Literacy for Prairie Rose Elementary ($5,600); this 16-week family engagement program provides books for students to build home libraries and inspire families to read together every day. Reading with family will develop the foundation for success in all curricular areas, a love of learning and social and emotional connections.

  • Dickinson High School Acoustic Sound Shell ($12,617); the portable sound shell will greatly enhance the sound quality of concerts and performances as well as provide immediate feedback for student performers. The equipment will create an unparalleled experience for the audience and help build a competitive music department.

  • Flexible seating for Heart River Elementary ($1,500); this grant will meet the individual needs of students to encourage positive academic behavior and prevent disruptive behaviors and help with student engagement.

“The teachers and the kids were so excited yesterday. So I can’t wait to see how everything gets implemented,” Heidt remarked.
To learn more about gifting opportunities, contact Heidt at or call 701-590-0495 or Marisa Riesinger at or call 701290-7732. For more information, visit

Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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