2017 Grant Winners
$2,500 in grants in 2017!
The Yorkville Educational Foundation awarded more than $2,500 last year to enrich curriculum from students through the district. Grants are presented annually in November and are awarded to each school in the district. Winners are selected from applications submitted by district teachers and staff members. The grant awards process opens in September each year.
The fall 2017 grant recipients were:
Bristol Grade School - Bristol SQUAD Service-learning field experience. The second graders at BGS went on a field trip to four different locations so that they could learn about ways to help the environment. They visited Groot Industries in Plano to see how the garbage and recycling is processed; they visited the Yorkville-Bristol Sanitary District for a tour to hear about how we treat and protect our water; and they visited Midwest Companies to learn about composting, and how it helps the environment. They finished up their day by picking up Beecher Park and collecting trash from around the YHS stadium. Second grade teachers Nicole Baum, Blake Hafenrichter and Katherine Strauss applied for this grant because it helps students develop real life problem-solving through experiential learning.
Yorkville Grade School - Annual Battle of the Books. Stephanie McHugh, Library Media Specialist at both Bristol Grade School and Yorkville Grade chose 20 books for her 3rd grade students to read from a variety of genres and reading levels. The selection includes current Illinois Monarch nominees, Illinois Bluestem nominees, and “librarian choice” books. Students form teams of 3-5 players, read these books and then have discussions focused on plot, characters and setttings. At the end of the year, they compete in trivia battle based on these 20 books and a winner is chosen. Each year, Mrs. McHugh says she look forward to the enthusiasm and discussions about these 20 books, as well as the growth in their abilities to work as a team. This initiative that promotes collaboration & communication, a little bit of friendly competition, and most importantly, reading!
Circle Center Grade School - Mentor Books to enrich writing curriculum. Karen Finn and Kim Minkler were able to purchase six new books that helped improve student writing for their group of diverse learners. Using these books, they were also able to hold a professional development session for CCGS staff members on how to incorporate these text into their writing instruction lessons. Mrs. Minkler told us that “the mentor texts have allowed me to help my resource students make connections, hear examples, and have been used as enrichment for our pre-writing mini-lessons. They have been a valuable resource in my classroom.”
Yorkville Intermediate School: HOPS Executive Functioning program. Lindsay Peabody, Special Education teacher at YIS is working to implement the Homework, Organization, and Planning Skills (HOPS) program in her resource classes. The program uses positive reinforcement to teach students executive functioning skills, such as how to stay organized, manage time, and plan ahead. Being able to give them step-by-step directions to teach and reinforce these skills is key to them becoming more independent not only in the classroom but also in the real world. As a result of the grant, the special education program at YIS is able to implement an evidence-based curriculum that teaches executive functioning skills.
Autumn Creek Elementary - Smart Music software licenses. Band teacher Tom Shuman faced a larger than expected interest in band in 2017 and needed to purchase additional licenses for a tool called Smart Music. This cloud-based software allows students to record themselves and upload their performance from their Chromebooks as they practice their instruments. They are able to receive immediate feedback from their teacher, and even individualized assignments. Students are able to work on the assessments at their own pace while attempting as many times as they need in order to achieve mastery, which aligns with the districts new grading policy.
Bristol Bay Elementary - nonfiction reading kit for individualized assessments. Literacy Coach Kelly Bachewicz wanted to purchase this kit to create personalized learning opportunities for her students. Teachers are able to to assess individual student comprehension so that they can pinpoint individual student needs. She reports that “By utilizing a targeted assessment system, teachers can design high-quality lessons to assist students with their individual areas of need.
Grande Reserve Elementary School - Friendly Loom. Lindsey Moss wanted to purchase a friendly loom for her art students to give them a much need experiential activity. Weaving improves fine motor skills, dexterity, and helps students understand the application of patterns in the world around us. Since individual weaving projects can be very time-consuming, collaborative weaving is a great alternative that can be displayed in the art room and throughout the school. Lindsey reported that her students found the weaving process simultaneously engaging and calming. “It has been a beautiful and welcome addition to my classroom. Even better, the loom has a way of capturing interest from groups of students that I never would have expected”
Yorkville Middle School - energy and motion science lab kits. Middle school science teacher Megan Johnson was able to purchase several of these lab kits to enhance experiential learning for her 7th graders. She reported that these lab kits were perfect because they were easy to set up. Students loved getting to work fast, rather than spending lab time setting up. The complete motion lab let them quickly get to the task of collecting and analyzing data. The ramp for the Energy and Motion Lab adjusts to 10, 20, and 30-degree angles, so students were able to use the same equipment to explore velocity, acceleration, gravity, kinetic energy and friction. “The students had a lot of fun using the ramps and were able to reflect on this activity during our outcome assessment. I think the use of the ramps allowed the students to make connections easier since they were using something they are familiar with.”
Yorkville High School - SAT prep scholarships for eligible students. YHS Associate Principal Christine Warren knows that the better students perform on an SAT assessment, the more post-secondary opportunities they have. That’s why Yorkville High School developed their very own ACT/SAT preparation program. She applied for the grant because she wants to make sure that all 11th grade students have access to this great opportunity, regardless of their family's financial situation. Through the grant, YHS provided six scholarships to students who were not able to afford the $130 registration fee.