A Case Example: $2500 Allowed Students to Build a Brood Trailer

​  If you’ve taken South Broadway past the Alternative Learning Center, you might be curious about the flock of birds in a trailer by the parking lot. These birds are ring-necked pheasants—the stars of a project by science teacher John Rud aiming to get students interested in Minnesota’s great outdoors.

  Mr. Rud, an avid outdoorsman who started a school garden and bird brooding at Golden Hill, said that before the school changed locations three years ago, “we actually built a fly pen over there that was 25 feet wide and about 80 feet long.” Even as space decreased, the program expanded. Now a greenhouse provides a place to grow grasses, sunflowers, and corn which the birds eat.

  The work easily ties in with science classes. “The kids built the trailer,” said Mr. Rud, adding that “they designed it; they put it together. We had to do measurement and construction and figure out where to go with it.” His own plans for the future involve applying for a second RPSF grant so that the students can install a wind turbine which will supplement the sola panel running heat lamps and 2 12 volt ceramic heaters. A rain barrel attached to a PVC pipe will also be the basis for a water reclamation system.

  At the ALC, a school with an aquarium and two bearded dragons in the lobby, the pheasants fit right in. Every day, students get to check on the 29 pheasant chicks hopping between two quart size water jugs in a covered kiddie pool. However, the birds are not pets. When the chicks’ downy feathers are replaced by waterproof ones, they are ready to brave the outdoors. About three roosters and half a dozen hens are kept for breeding and the rest are released into the wild in locations with a good water source and winter cover. According to Mr. Rud, “three of the four places have shown a steady increase in the number of birds since we’ve been releasing, and they’re living.” The last group was released in early March and “probably 15 calls, came in that first day [asking] what happened to the birds, what happened to those pheasants? They watch ‘em every day when we go by, where kids are counting to see if they’re all out!”

  Do you have a project idea that will help promote lifelong learning? Staff at Rochester public schools can request up to $2500 for educational projects by applying for the next RPSF grant by Nov 5 2016.​

Event Revenue Sharing with School Groups

Public school-affiliated projects & organizations often share event revenue with RPSF. Interested? RPSF desires to form volunteer collaborations.

Rochester Rotary II STRIVE Scholarships

RPSF funds 3 college scholarships each year for one student from Century, John Marshall and Mayo High Schools that complete the STRIVE program with an improved GPA.

Make A Difference (MAD) Grant

A small grant of up to $250 awarded each month for district staff purchases that will "make a difference" in the classroom. Provided student need is clearly stated, funds for these requests are easily obtained, until the allotted budget runs to zero. So, send your requests in early! These dollars are meant to cover needs that your local PTA/PTSA are unwilling or unable to fund.

Next button take you to information about prior successful grant-funded projects. The Rochester community continues to reap the benefit of these projects many times over due to the excellent educational that our children have received.

Funds are awarded early Spring to the 535 District upon presentation to the Rochester Public School Board, and soon after are made available so that recipients can then implement their program.


Click this button for the grant application and more information for those interested in applying.

Annual Grants

Each year, multiple one year grants of $2500 or less are awarded to 535 district staff, sometimes parent volunteer co-leaders as well, to try out new and innovative teaching methods, programs or infrastructure with our students. Taxes primarily support ongoing school operations. Especially during times of uncertain public school funding, these small grants enable pilot projects to demonstrate a track-record of achievements and overcome obstacles. Importantly, these grants fund experiences and technology that otherwise would not be available to K-12 students.


A review committee, external but reporting to the RPSF board, evaluates and prioritizes the grant applications. Than, the board decides how many of the top-scoring applications to fund. RPSF annually recruits district staff members for this committee. If willing, volunteer!

RPSF Grants and Funding

Excellence in Action Gift

A small gift and recognition for 535 District staff who have done remarkable deeds in alignment with our school district's mission statement:

"...to inspire, challenge, and empower all students with the knowledge and skills required to reach their full potential, to contribute to future generations, and to become involved members of a global community."