Travis Smith teaches sixth grade in one of the most remote areas of Northern Minnesota. Grygla Elementary School is more than 300 miles from the Twin Cities.
“Without help with funding, there’s no way I’d be able to go down there,” Smith said.
But Smith did get help and it came from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Last November, he drove six hours to the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul to attend the Northern Lights Academy, a teacher workshop on Minnesota’s sixth grade history curriculum.
“I got to bounce back ideas with history teachers from around the state, share my ideas, and get ideas from them on what works best in the classroom,” Smith said.
The ACHF money reduces the registration fee from $100 to $50, provides subsidies for teachers who need them, covers substitute teacher fees up to $100, mileage for teachers traveling more than 50 miles round-trip and hotels for teachers traveling more than 200 miles round-trip.
Over the past two school years, ACHF support defrayed training costs for almost 600 teachers. Doug Tinaglia, a sixth grade teacher at Faribault Middle School, also attended the Northern Lights Academy in St. Paul last November.
Ultimately, he said, it’s the students who benefit from more teacher training.
“Meeting with other teachers, finding out what works, it energizes me,” Tinaglia said. “That transfers to the students and their learning is greatly improved.”
This site is updated regularly with descriptions and data related to Legacy projects funded through the Minnesota Historical Society by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).
Further information about the use and impact of all Legacy Funds can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission's Minnesota's Legacy site.