District 58 Education Foundation awards teacher grants

The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 will award 16 innovative grants totaling more than $10,000 to teachers this year. Each grant supports innovative school projects that align with the District’s curriculum and strategic goals.

“The quality of the grant applications was impressive,” said Foundation Board member Karoline Kellam who facilitates the grants committee. “The Foundation is proud to help students and spur learning through these grants,” she said.

The Foundation annually awards grants to teachers and staff who have inventive ideas for their classrooms and schools but lack funding to implement them. Teachers submit their grant applications in September, and the Foundation’s Grants Committee completes a thorough and blind review of all grant proposals in early October. The Foundation selects projects that show strong potential to impact instruction using innovative tools and/or techniques, and selects those that impact the greatest number of students. Project proposals must align with the District’s curriculum goals and have measurable outcomes, among other requirements.

Proceeds from the Education Foundation’s fundraisers—which include Oktoberfest, the Foundation’s spring concert, the Harlem Wizards game and the Green Apple program—help fund the grants.

Congratulations to this year’s grant recipients!

2017-18 Education Foundation Grant Recipients: 

STEAM resources:

The Foundation approved several grants that promote STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math. These grants help enhance and develop students’ exposure to robotics, create a “makerspace” where students can invent, create, collaborate, and learn by experimenting with their own ideas; and allow the use of code kits to help bring students’ inventions come to life.

  • Donna Haidle, Grove Children’s Preschool teacher, Indian Trail, “STEM in Preschool”
  • Lucy Elford, LRC teacher, Pierce Downer, “STEAMing into MAKING”
  • Jill Henry, seventh and eighth grade science teacher, Herrick, “Little Bits Can Make a Big Difference in the Classroom”
  • Jessica Atkins, eighth grade science teacher, Herrick, “Sensing What We Cannot See”

The Foundation approved several grants that support the profound ways that performing in a musical ensemble can impact a child. The funds will provide for a school’s collection of large musical instruments, including a digital piano and multicultural music instruments.

  • Christine Kaminski, band teacher, O’Neill, “Bass Clarinet”
  • Julie Spring, orchestra teacher, O’Neill, “Digital Piano and Dolly”
  • Alecia Probst, Grove Children’s Preschool teacher, Indian Trail, “Multicultural Music Materials”

Reading and Writing:

The Education Foundation proudly encourages literacy and a love of reading and writing among students. The funds provide additional resources for classroom libraries so students can have direct access to popular books in their home classroom as well as book collections for the LRCs. The grants also fund books for bilingual learning and STEM learning. Finally, a grant will also be used to support the teaching of writing.

The grants were awarded to the following:

  • Dana Zikis, third grade teacher, Lester, “Classroom Library”
  • Allison Brechtel, language arts teacher, Herrick, “Classroom Library – A Dream You Hold in Your Hand”
  • Christine Gamboa, resource teacher, Kingsley, “Bilingual Resource Room Library”
  • Deborah Roach and Jason Fitch, resource teachers; Kayla Kinder, BEST teacher, O’Neill, “Reading Interest & Motivation for Reading through Student Choice”
  • Liz Stroud, LRC teacher, and Alicia Micele, 1st grade teacher, Fairmount, “STEMtastic Books”
  • Nicole Ferroli and Kate Nickell, seventh grade teachers, O’Neill, “Continuing to Enhance School Libraries while Providing Quality Mentor Texts”
  • Beth Kamano, reading specialist, Pierce Downer, “Expressive Writing”

The Foundation also supports learning through play and recognizes the importance of exercise and good health on a child’s growing brain.

  • Kyle Winter, Highland/Belle Aire PE teacher, “Scooting Along”

For more information about the Education Foundation, please visit www.58foundation.org.

To learn more about the Foundation’s Teacher Grants Program and to view videos featuring the grants in action, please visit www.dg58.org/grants.