Big Impact Arts and Technology Grants

In 2015, TPP began making grants for specific needs in the arts and technology. These grants are usually smaller in scope than District-wide grants, but generally impact students of more than one school.

These are the grants that are being implemented during the 2017-18 school year.


Orchestra Hall field trip for all 4th graders: All 4th graders will go to Orchestra Hall for a youth concert in the spring, just as they are making decisions on which instrument to play in 5th grade.

Claymation: All elementary schools in the District will be offering Claymation projects for students (photo collage at right).

Native American Hoop Dancing: Students in all District 834 elementary schools will experience Native American hoop dancing.

Dallas Chief Eagle and his daughter, Starr Chief Eagle, are members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and world champions in Native American hoop dancing competitions. The two led workshops with the 5th graders in each school in November. At the end of the residency, the 5th graders performed a hoop dancing routine for the entire school, followed by performances by Dallas or Starr.

The Hoop Dance is an age-old Native American ritual and performance. Each dance is as individualistic as the person who choreographs it. In an elaborate sequence of moves, the hoops are made to interlock and can be made to look like tails or wings. As taught by Dallas and Starr, the movements of the performances reflect important values including respect, creativity, determination, and self- balance.

See a video of Dallas Chief Eagle performing to a traditional Lakotan song, another one of Starr Chief Eagle performing (how do they DO that?!), and the Afton-Lakeland 5th graders performing to a more modern song.


The Partnership Plan is supporting a robotics project for all 6th graders in the District. Each student will have a chance to design, create, program and operate Lego Mindstorms robots in groups of two. The process of tweaking the robot is an intense creative and problem-solving exercise that teaches students about math, robotics, mechanics and physics.

This hands-on approach to STEM is designed to develop students who are the innovative, problem-solving, head-and-hands citizens who power our future economy.