Two 4th graders getting ready to listen to a concert at Orchestra Hall.

Two 4th graders getting ready to listen to a concert at Orchestra Hall.

Big Impact grants

In 2015, The Partnership Plan 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.

Do you have an idea for a Big Impact Grant?

Submit your idea by September 20, 2019!

These are some of the grants that were implemented over the last couple of years.


Orchestra Hall field trip for all 4th graders: All 4th graders went to Orchestra Hall for a youth concert in the spring, just before they made decisions on an instrument to play in 5th grade.

Claymation: All elementary schools in the District offered a Claymation project for students.

Native American Hoop Dancing: Students in all District 834 elementary schools experienced Native American hoop dancing through an artist-in-residence project.

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 funded a robotics project for all 6th graders in the District. Each student had 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.

Because these are reusable kits, all incoming 6th graders will be able to experience this robotics project.