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Glance at our Grants


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 glance at grants

“A Glance at our Grants” is a new original District 58 series that highlights the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58’s teacher grant projects through short videos, photos and/or written stories. Its purpose is to feature the creative and inspiring work District 58 teachers and students are achieving with their grants!

The Education Foundation annually awards grants to teachers and staff who have a good idea with a solid plan, but lack funding to implement it. Through a blind review process, the Education Foundation selects projects that show strong potential to impact instruction using innovative tools and/or techniques. Project proposals must align with the District’s curriculum goals and have measurable outcomes, among other requirements.

In the 2016-17 school year, the Education Foundation awarded a record-breaking 31 grants.

Episode 8: Learning Reading and Researching Skills at Fairmount
Published: Nov. 1, 2016
Last school year, three District 58 schools – Fairmount, Belle Aire and Pierce Downer – received Education Foundation grants for the PebbleGo database. PebbleGo is an interactive online resource that helps young students develop their reading and research skills while learning about a variety of academic topics. Watch this short video to learn more!

Episode 7: Ok, Let’s Learn, Investigate & Evolve (OLLIE) at Pierce Downer 
Published: May 23, 2016

Pierce Downer fifth graders use coding to make this robotic device, called an OLLIE, move across ramps and change colors. In the meantime, the students are also learning important life skills, such as problem-solving and teamwork. Their teacher, Mrs. Kelly DeMarco and instructional coach, Mrs. Nicole Ring, received OLLIE with an Education Foundation grant.

Watch this video to learn more about how the OLLIE is enhancing classroom instruction, via interviews with not only Mrs. DeMarco and Mrs. Ring, but also several Pierce Downer fifth graders!
Episode 6: Learning Empathy through Literature at Whittier
Published: April 12, 2016

Not only does Deb Krygeris teach sixth grade at Whittier, she also co-leads The Reading Games. Naturally, she encourages her students to read and has built an impressive classroom library. Research shows that classroom literature is one of the best ways to teach intangible subjects, such as compassion and kindness. So this year, Mrs. Krygeris requested and received an Education Foundation grant for several books that broaden student perspectives and cultivate empathy.

View episode 6 of A Glance at our Grants, “Learning Empathy through Literature at Whittier” to learn more about these books, as well as students’ reactions to them.

Episode 5: Biliteracy Classroom Library at Kingsley
Published: April 4, 2016

District 58’s Biliteracy Program serves Spanish-speaking children. Subjects are taught in both English and Spanish, so students will become successful readers, writers and thinkers in both languages. Its classrooms use culturally relevant Spanish and English books. And thanks to Education Foundation grants, the program received kindergarten and first grade books last year as well as second grade books this year.

View episode 5 of “A Glance at our Grants: Biliteracy Classroom Library at Kingsley” to learn more about the program’s impact, via interviews with the first/second grade teacher, Mrs. Karina DeLeon, and four of the students!
Episode 4: High Interest Reading at Highland
Published: Feb. 4, 2016

How can you motivate students — especially reluctant readers — to love reading? Highland teachers Cori Walter and Sandi Hudecek set out to find an answer. They received an Education Foundation grant that funded several high interest books. These books feature bold covers and exciting storylines at a variety of reading levels, so preteen students can easily find a great book.
View “Episode 4: High Interest Reading at Highland” to learn how these high interest books have inspired students to like reading. Listen from a few of the students themselves talk about what they love about these new books.
Episode 3: Yoga Immersion at Highland and Pierce Downer
Published: Jan. 27, 2016
Thanks to an Education Foundation grant, District 58 staff Caitlin Choinski (Highland/Pierce Downer social worker), Mallory Wielgolewski (Highland/Indian Trail social worker), Patti Cepeda (District 58 behavior specialist) and Tracy Moriarty (Pierce Downer resource) received 30 yoga mats, two mat containers and yoga mat cleaner.
View “Episode 3: Yoga Immersion at Highland and Pierce Downer” to learn  how they’re using this grant — via the Highland and Pierce Downer yoga clubs — to teach students mindfulness, coping skills and self-regulation to help them succeed in school and at home.

Episode 2: Novel Ideas at Belle Aire
Published: Dec. 7, 2015
Belle Aire sixth graders enjoy reading so much that many of their classroom novels are tattered and worn from years of use. Thanks to an Education Foundation grant, their teacher, Mrs. Patricia Miller, now has a freshly stocked classroom library, featuring popular award-winning children’s books.  View the video — Episode 2: “Novel Ideas at Belle Aire” — to learn why Miller believes these books open conversations about social-emotional learning and the greater world around students. Hear from the students themselves as they share why they like reading and their favorite books.

Episode 1: 3D Printing at El Sierra

Published: Nov. 18, 2015

The first episode, called “3D Printing at El Sierra,” demonstrates how El Sierra fifth graders are learning engineering, coding, creativity and problem-solving skills using the 3D printer that their teachers, Maura Vivona and Meg Rohlfing, received through an Education Foundation grant this year.