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Fall 2014 Mini-Grants


The District 62 Foundation will begin the application process for Fall 2014 Mini-grants. The deadline for submitting your applications and the application form will be posted here.


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The Mini-Grants Program


The School District 62 Foundation's mission is to preserve and enhance educational opportunities for all children who attend a Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62 facility. Due to the generosity of our many supporters, the Foundation has been able to provide funding for a variety of programs for the students of District 62. The Mini-Grant Program, one of our major avenues of distributing funds, promotes instructional innovation, provides additional educational opportunities for District 62 students, and promotes staff collaboration.


  • 2013-14
  • 2012-13
  • 2011-12
  • 2010-11

Twenty-nine grants, totaling $19,069 were distributed. One grant was named in honor of Debbie Post, past president of the D62 Foundation, and two grants were named in honor of Dr. Jane L. Westerhold, Superintendent of Schools and the 2013 Illinois Superintendent of the Year. In addition to the mini-grants, D62 Foundation will fund the return of John Halligan in January 2014. Halligan will present Ryan’s Story assemblies to all middle school students.


Transverse Climbing Wall – Anne Beranek, Iroquois Community School $1,000 – Granted in honor of Deborah Post, Past President & Associate Member, D62 Foundation

SmartMusic Expansion – Melissa Legutki, Algonquin Middle School $967 – Granted in honor of Dr. Jane L. Westerhold, 2013 Illinois Superintendent of the Year

Sew, What’s Cooking – Carrie Willman, Algonquin Middle School $250

A Trip to the Theater – Laura Rosland, Orchard Place Elementary School $620

Computer Headsets – Theresa Straub, Orchard Place Elementary School $975

Camp Duncan Field Trip – Elizabeth Naponelli, Terrace Elementary School $1,000 – Granted in honor of Dr. Jane L. Westerhold, 2013 Illinois Superintendent of the Year

Cumberland Art Club – Jelena Todorovich, Cumberland Elementary School $300

4th Grade Field Trips – Laura Simonian, North Elementary School $1,000

RAZ Kids – Gigi Breitzman, Forest Elementary School $270

Comparing Communities – Dr. Regina Gursky, North Elementary School $1,000

Chicago Architecture Tour – Abraham Lee, North Elementary School $1,000

STEM Club – Sarah Murphy, Algonquin Middle School $750

Book Flix – Gloria Suriano, Orchard Place Elementary School $1,000

U Can Ukelele-2nd Edition – Diana Jacquez, Forest Elementary School $1,000

Books to Go – Beatriz Bradley, South Elementary School $550

Backpack Listening Centers – Sopia Garcia-Smith, Orchard Place Elementary School $150

Family Math Game Night – Sopia Garcia-Smith, Orchard Place Elementary School $300

7th Grade Service Day – Bridget Lange, Algonquin Middle School $500

Pebble-Go Research – Gloria Suriano, Orchard Place Elementary School $895

Pebble-Go Research – Leigh Radnitzer, Central Elementary School $995

HOLA Spanish Fiesta Show – Theresa Straub, Orchard Place Elementary School $500

A Day of Storytelling – Sopia Garcia-Smith, Orchard Place Elementary School $625

Hop on the Bus – Helen Galvan, Plainfield Elementary School $1,000

Bringing Stories to Life – Mary Osborn, Early Learning Center

Everyone’s a Mathematician – Christine Trujillo, Forest Elementary School

AMS Summer Reading Program – Erin Wengerhoff, Algonquin Middle School $1,000

Family Math Night – Allison Jorbin, Forest Elementary School $500

Apple apps for iPad – Theresa Straub, Orchard Place Elementary School $500

iPads to Teach – Debbie Kaufman, Chippewa Middle School $600


The foundation awarded $21,000 in 28 grants. Endowments, an annual benefit, featuring entertainment, a banquet, silent auction, Cents for Kids, an employee payroll deduction program, and a new event, the Oktoberfest fund the mini-grant program.


Awarding Sportsmanship, Athleticism, & Teamwork – McKenna Smith Algonquin Middle School, $502 – The grant will fund the purchase of basketballs and a mesh bag as well as engraved soccer and basketball medals for the after-school intramural program, which allows students the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports.

Graphing Calculators – Tina Beer Algonquin Middle School, $1,000 – The grant will fund the purchase of a kit of ten Texas Instruments TI85 calculators for use by eighth graders at Algonquin Middle School enrolled in the high school-level algebra classes.

Sew What's Cooking – Carrie Willman Algonquin Middle School, $250 – The grant will fund craft and cooking supplies for an after-school club in a middle school. The goal is to promote creativity through learning new skills, build self-esteem, and have fun.

Smart Music for Band and Orchestra – Melissa Legutki Algonquin Middle School $889 – SmartMusic is a computer software program that allows students to perform and record music on the computer with background accompaniment. The program also provides instant feedback to students in terms of the accuracy of their performance which aids in educator assessment and allows students the opportunity to create music portfolios.

Linking Literacy with Leveled “Ladders” Readers – Lori Schoen Central Elementary School, $928; Jeanne Pantelin Cumberland Elementary School, $774; Joanne Spachner Terrace Elementary School, $928; Leah Strom Cumberland Elementary School, $867 – These grants fund the purchase of National Geographic Ladders leveled readers which will be used to support literacy development and encourage students’ exposure to non-fiction text and its structures.

Sensory Garden – Karen Kim Cumberland Elementary School, $1,000 – This grant will fund garden supplies to grow a sensory garden for students in the ELS (Educational Life Skills) and SOAR programs as well as buddies in the general education classes at Cumberland School. Students will learn about plant growth and use what they have grown in their cooking classes. The aim of the program is to work on sensory needs and life skills.

U can Ukulele – Diana Jacquez Forest Elementary School, $860 – This grant will fund the purchase of ukuleles to support a five-week introductory unit for fifth graders to learn to play. Students will explore hands on musical performance, exposure to varied musical styles, ukulele technique, and musical elements (melody and harmony).

Vandercook Bandfest – Amy Lewis Iroquois Community School, $1,000 – The grant will fund the fee to attend the Vandercook BandFest as well as transportation costs (bus) for the top band members at Iroquois Community School. The students will travel to the Vandercook College of Music and perform for top rated band conductors.

Building Bridges: Farm to Table, Past to Present Agriculture Study – Andrea Clifton & Dr. Regina Gursky North Elementary School, $1,000 – Building Bridges provides third grade students at North School with the opportunity to visit Blackberry Farm in Aurora and Heritage Farm in Schaumburg. The grant will pay for transportation costs (bus). The third grade curriculum focuses on early American communities. These trips enable students to compare/contrast their current educational and suburban settings with that of students living in early Illinois.

Chicago Architecture/Skyscrapers – Abraham Lee North Elementary School, $1,000 – The grant for this proposal will provide funding for 75 fifth grade students at North School to attend a fieldtrip to take a Wendella Boat Tour, where they will view architecture they have studied and researched in art class. The goal of this unit of study is to integrate literacy and science along with fine arts.

Brain Pop – Nancy Pawecek Orchard Place Elementary School, $500 – The grant will fund a year-long subscription to the BrainPop ESL website, which provides a variety of lessons with auditory and visual aids to help in students’ development of vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. The site provides teachers with differentiated lessons to help reach all students.

Genre Club with the DPPL – Stephanie Keadle Orchard Place Elementary School, $675 – The grant will fund the transportation cost (bus) for monthly third grade fieldtrips from Orchard Place School to the Des Plaines Public Library. The aim is to introduce students to the library, the resources, and different genres. This program was started last year through a partnership with the library.

Creative & Engaging Homework – Lindsay Santiago Orchard Place Elementary School, $370 – The grant will fund materials that students can check out twice per week in place of more traditional homework to provide engaging leveled practice at home. Bilingual as well as general education and special education students in third grade will benefit from this grant at Orchard Place School.

Magic of Writing: Author Visit, Janet Riehecky - Theresa Straub Orchard Place Elementary School, $1,000 – The grant will fund an author visit with Janet Riehecky for a full day. This includes four sessions and an informal lunch with selected students. Riehecky’s presentation, The Magic of Writing, teaches the writing process through magic tricks and illusions.

Awesome Research with PebbleGo Animals, Earth and Science, and Biographies – Gloria Suriano Orchard Place Elemetary School, $851 – This grant will provide funding for a one-year subscription to PebbleGo Animals, Earth and Space and Biographies website. The website has databases designed for K-5 emergent readers and researchers featuring audio and video, leveled text, games, and innovative read aloud capability to research science and biographical information.

There’s no place like learning! Peter Pan As a Window to Literacy and Content Exploration – Juan Bottia Orchard Place Elementary School, $1,000 – The grant will fund a field trip to see a local production of Peter Pan including transportation costs (bus) as well as the purchase of novels to support the unit for fifth grade students at Orchard Place School. Students will read the novel as well as study character analysis and evidence writing. Students will also perform sections of the play through reader’s theater and record their performances using iMovie which will be shown to parents during the Academic Celebration.

Reluctant Readers – Anita Donoghue Orchard Place Elemenatry School, $469 – The grant will fund the purchase of seven novel sets along with teacher guides from High Interest Publishing. The aim of the program is to engage reluctant readers with high interest novels which match the reader to the text, taking into consideration students’ interest as well as their instructional levels.

Science A-Z – Theresa Straub Orchard Place Elementary School, $960 – The Science A-Z grant will fund the purchase of 16 licenses for the Science A-Z website which offers printable and projectable materials to teach comprehensive science units. The materials include leveled non-fiction science readers, lesson plans, vocabulary resources, worksheets, labs/experiments, science fair projects, rubrics, graphic organizers, games, and assessments. The grant will benefit all students at Orchard Place School for this coming school year.

Super U Challenge School Assembly – Theresa Straub Orchard Place Elementary School, $650: The grant will fund a 45-minute action-packed school assembly to promote a bully-free school environment. It encourages building positive character traits and identifying/stopping bullying behaviors while challenging students to become their own “personal super heroes.”

Junior Robotics – Robin Fabioncwicz Plainfield Elementary School, $605 - The grant will fund the purchase of Lego Robotics Sets which will be used by twenty-five students at Plainfield School in the Junior Robotics Program. The Lego Robotics Sets provide students with hands-on robotics experience that also focuses on core values such as teamwork, empowerment, inspiration, community, spirit, and pride.

Extreme Engagement: iPad Math Rebecca Cooper Plainfield Elementary School, $447 – The grant will fund the purchase of 11 iPad Apps including Math Evolve: A Fun Math Game, Algebra Touch, Dragon Box+, MultiFlow: Times Tables Reimagined, Fast Facts Math, Math Fact Master, Mathematics—Mental Math Tricks, Mathematics—Easy Algebra Fast, Math Bingo, Motion Math HD, and Motion Math: Zoom Pro with the aim of providing interventions to lower performing students and extension (algebra) for higher achieving students.

Worm Composting – David Lynch Plainfield Elementary School, $480 – The grant will fund the purchase of worms, bins, and a visit from Urban Worm Girl to set up the bins for students in fifth and first grade at Plainfield School. The aim of the program is to educate students about the importance of composting and to change students’ opinions about this process. It will be a part of the Reading Buddies program.

Bluestem Reading – Pam Bowie South Elementary School, $750 – The Bluestem Reader grant will fund the purchase of books on the Illinois Library Association’s designated list. Third through fifth grade students at South School will read at least four of the books on the list and then vote for a book to win the Bluestem Award. The books will be used for guided reading, independent reading, and teacher read-alouds as well as for this year’s voting process. Afterward, the books will remain in classroom libraries.

South School Chess Club – Lori Poelking South Elementary School, $200 – The grant will fund the purchase of a demonstration chess set, fifteen other chess sets, and awards/recognitions for students. Students in grades first through fifth will be introduced to the game of chess at South School during the lunch hour. Learning chess will provide “exercise for students’ minds” as well as helping students make connections with their principal and outside volunteers.

White Pines Outdoor Education – Katy Barry South Elementary School, $1,000 – The grant will help fund an outdoor education program for fifth grade students from South School to attend an outdoor education program at White Pines in Oregon, IL. Students will explore hands-on activities to develop math, science, and social studies concepts in an outdoor setting. The trip is a four-day experience.

D62 MiniGrants Program

During the 2011-12 school year, the Foundation provided $35,000 in Mini-Grants. The following are summaries of this year's awards:


Making Awesome Progress – Colleen White, Cumberland Elementary School, $1,000, Sponsored by Elizabeth Murphy – DDI Consulting will conduct literacy lessons in primary and intermediate classrooms. Staff members will learn how to interpret MAP data thus making the best use of it. Students will learn their MAP strengths and set goals for improvement.


District 62 Robotics – Ramiro Juarez, Plainfield Elementary School, $1,000, Sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment – Approximately 20 students, 4th–8th grade, will represent Plainfield in the First Lego Robotics League. Students will build Lego robots and research an assigned topic. The outcome is increased knowledge of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering.


Poetry Month/Janet Wong Visit - Mary Berger, Chippewa Middle School, $1,000, Sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment – In April 2012, Chippewa students and staff will be involved in activities celebrating Poetry month. Month-long activities will culminate in a visit from author Janet Wong who will conduct seminars in poetry writing for the students.


Literacy Skills Development – Kristen Harla, Terrace Elementary School, $500, Sponsored by Franczek Radelet Using Insta Learn language boards and materials, autistic students will engage in activities designed to build literacy skills and vocabulary. Students gain instant feedback and make progress with the help of individualized interventions.


Increasing our Reading skills – Ania Figueroa, Forest Elementary School, $1,000, Sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment – Kindergarten, first grade, general education and bilingual students will have access to a wide variety of reading materials. The materials are to be used in conjunction with listening centers and literacy instructions improve comprehension and vocabulary.


Enhancing Literacy with Bookflix – Gloria Suriano, Orchard Place Elementary School, $1,000, Sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment – The Bookflix program provides students with interactive multimedia story and e-books that reinforce reading skills and develop real world knowledge as well as develop computer literacy skills.


Reading Asst. Software & Workstations – Theresa Straub, Orchard Place Elementary School, $1,000, Sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment – Speech recognition software is used to assess a student's reading ability. The results help teachers develop interventions, which address struggling readers' needs.


Researching with PebbleGo – Gloria Suriano, Orchard Place Elementary School, $1,000, Sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment – PebbleGo allows students to conduct research using educational videos & leveled text. At-risk and low achieving students especially benefit from the PebbleGo format for research. Interactive games make learning fun.


Brainpop Animated Education – Mathew Agrall, South Elementary School, $1,000, Sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment – Brainpop & Brainpop Jr. are online resources, which are used by students and staff to enhance learning. Students use Brainpop for research; teachers use Brainpop as a resource for video clips, resource materials, and educational tools.


Reading Counts – David Lynch, Plainfield Elementary School, $750, Sponsored by Bud and Kelli Phillips and the Robert Cowell Endowment Scholastic's Reading Counts program is a web based reading program used to improve comprehension and promote independent reading. The program is used with 4th grade students.


AMS Summer Reading Program – Bridget Gazzolo, Algonquin Middle School, $1,000, Sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment – Algonquin is continuing its successful annual summer reading program and will purchase books and incentives to promote reading during summer break.


Careers & College – Jill McAvoy, Algonquin Middle School, $1,000, Sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment Students read about different careers and tour Harper College. The students tour the campus and learn about the different services and accommodations available to students that are educationally disadvantaged and want to pursue higher education.


Headphones – Theresa Straub, Orchard Place Elementary School, $250 Headphones were purchased that allow teachers and students to work together when using the Reading Assistant software awarded to OP in a another mini-grant.


Reading Assistant Software – Carrie Schurr, Judy Kenning, Sharon Bemben, and Agata Malec, Iroquois Community School, $1,000 each, two were sponsored by the Robert Cowell Endowment – Iroquois students will benefit from the latest technology available to increase fluency and comprehension, speech recognition software. Individualized assessments support District RTI initiatives.


Kids Making Connections – Donna Grady, North Elementary School, $1,000 Third grade North students will take a field trip to Blackberry Farm. Students will experience what life was like in colonial America. They will learn about Illinois history and life in an agricultural society.


Reading Assistant Stations – Carmina Salgado, Orchard Place Elementary School, $1,000 Speech recognition software helps students improve their reading skills. Staff members use the feedback to develop effective individualized interventions.


Awesome Apps – Cheryl Wasserman, Cumberland Elementary School, $500 iPad Apps were purchased for use by students and staff in an effort to increase academic achievement in Math and Literacy. Grades 1 – 3.


Awesome Apps – Laura Dooley-Taylor, Cumberland Elementary School, $500 A variety of Math and Literacy related ipad Apps were purchased for use by students and staff in grades 4 & 5.


Once you Pop – Eileen O'Brien, Terrace Elementary School, $1,000 Brain Pop Jr., geared towards students K-3, is an online subscription, which provides educational tools in the areas of Math, Science, Social studies, Art, and Music. Students and staff have access to theses resources.


Jim Gill Concert – Jana Coyne, Early Learning Center at Forest, $1,000 Jim Gill's upbeat music entertains as well as reinforces language skills and usage in District 62's youngest students.


Informational Reading & Writing – Ann Berger, Forest Elementary School, $750 Scholastic reading materials will be used to improve informational reading and writing skills.


ICS Advanced Orchestra Ensemble – Shawnita Tyus, Iroquois Community School, $1,000 Orchestra students will expand their knowledge of music genres and perform advanced ensemble pieces purchased specifically for this group.


Healthy Bodies make Healthy Minds – Brenda Posey, Forest Elementary School, $500, Sponsored by Dave and Beryl Bills and the Robert Cowell Endowment – A third grade nutrition unit will introduce children to good nutrition and the benefits of healthy choices. An expert from the Robert Crown Center will help facilitate the program and incorporate elements of the Robert Crown FIT program.


There's No Place Like Learning – Juan Bottia, Orchard Place Elementary School, $1,000 Fourth grade OP students will use the novel Wizard of Oz as the core for a thematic, educational unit enhancing literacy and writing. The students will also attend a live performance of the Wizard of Oz.


Ripple Effects I and II – Tlaloc Rodriguez, Orchard Place Elementary School, $2,000 This program helps students struggling with issues of a social, non-academic nature. The program is computer based and is individualized to address a student's specific needs and intervention.


Trueflix – Leigh Radnitzer, Central Elementary School, $500, Sponsored by Gallagher Benefit Services Scholastics Inc.'s renowned TrueBooks are the mainstay of this e-book program for students. Trueflix is a digital resource with multiple platforms across 8 commonly taught Science and Social Studies categories.


Algonquin Middle School Symphonic Orchestra - Tiffany Iwinski, Algonquin Middle School, $1,000 Music was purchased to support a group of combined orchestra and band students, creating a unique music ensemble. The students will learn the music and then perform several times throughout the year.


Algonquin Middle School Percussion Ensemble – Tiffany Iwinski, Algonquin Middle School, $1,000 A new music ensemble will be created at Algonquin with an emphasis on percussion instruments. The student musicians will learn about percussion instruments and music. They will perform several times.


Just Words Reading Intervention – Kelly Nichele, Plainfield Elementary School, $1,000 Just Words teaches sounds, syllables, latin roots, spelling, and writing to improve literacy and provide reading enrichment.


Outdoor Education – Jason Hanrahan, Plainfield Elementary School, $1,000 Fifth grade students will attend a three-day, two-night session at Camp Duncan. The students participate in team building activities and ecological & environmental studies.


Reading Assistant Software – Millie Lee, Chippewa Middle School, $1,000 Speech recognition software is used to assess a student's reading ability. The results help teachers develop interventions that address struggling reader's needs.


Reading Genres – Lindsay Y. Santiago, Orchard Place Elementary School, $750 Third grade students will take monthly trips to the Des Plaines Public Library. A library liaison will teach them about the books, services, and resources available.


Architect Art Project – Abraham J. Lee, North Elementary School, $1,000 Fifth grade students study the architecture of Chicago and the architects behind the designs. Inspired by what they learn, the students will become architects and urban planners and design a building of their own. The students will also take a trip on the Wendella architectural boat tour.


Lacrosse Unit – Anne Beranek, Iroquois Community School, $1,000 A lacrosse program will start at Iroquois in the spring of 2012. Students will learn about the history of the sport and how to play. Lacrosse will become an annual unit in the PE program.


Chippewa Recycles – David Lello, Chippewa Middle School, $1,000 A comprehensive recycling program will start for Chippewa students and staff. Recycling equipment will be purchased to facilitate recycling in the cafeteria and classrooms.

D62 Foundation - MiniGrant Program

For the 2010-11 school year, the Foundation was able to provide $23,000 in Mini-Grants. The following are summeries of year's Mini-Grants:


5th Grade Artists Research & Masterpiece Recreation Project – Abraham J. Lee, North Elementary School
Fifth grade students will select a famous artist and research his/her biography, artistic style, and influence. They will write about their artist based on writer's workshop. They will then select one masterpiece by their artist and recreate it using oil pastels. A field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago to view the original artwork will be provided.

Boom Troupe--Two Bullying Prevention Assemblies for grades K-5th & 6th-8th – Marise Goveia, Iroquois Community School
The assemblies will be presented by Boom Troupe, a Chicago based professional group. Boom troop will help create a unique environment for discussion on the topic of bullying. This presentation was developed using the latest research in Social and Emotional Learning.

Emerald City Theatre Tour of Peter Pan – Theresa Straub, Orchard Place School
Emerald City Theatre Touring Company will come to the school and present the play Peter Pan. It will be a wonderful theatre experience for the entire school. The theme is about understanding friendship.

Pi Day – Tina Beer, Suzanne Mynard, Algonquin Middle School
Pi Day (3/14) is a math holiday that enriches students' understanding of a complex and dynamic mathematical concept, pi. Through hands-on activities students gain a better understanding of pi and its application in geometry and the world around us.

Plainfield FIRST Robotics Lego League – Ramiro Juarez, Plainfield Elementary School
The goal of the ELL (English Language Learning) team is to get children excited about science and technology. The students will program an autonomous robot to score points on a thematic playing surface and create a solution to a problem as part of their research project.

Reading A-Z Subscription – Melissa Lenski, Iroquois Community School
We will purchase one-year subscriptions for five staff members. This online tool provides educators with a variety of materials to help support students in the areas of leveled reading, phonics,vocabulary, fluency, and poetry. There are over 2,500 leveled printable books available to download and use.

Ride the Magic School Bus to the Des Plaines Public Library – Laura Dooley-Taylor, Cumberland Elementary School
Students will travel to the Des Plaines Public library to attend a talk given by a Caudill Award Nominated author, Helen Frost. By hearing authors read aloud, children will discover that they are not alone in their reading struggles and triumphs. Storytelling is an important way for children to bridge the generation gap, connect with their heritage, and better understand different cultures.

Reading Assistant Software and Workstations – Claudia Janzen, South Elementary School
The Reading Assistant Program is a software program that helps individual students strengthen their reading fluency, improve reading comprehension skills, and build vocabulary skills using voice recognition technology.

Earn and Learn Program – Debbie Kaufman, Chippewa Middle School
Chippewa staff will provide opportunities for students to participate in work related jobs and assist in the development of necessary community life skills. Students will be responsible for filling employment applications, interviewing for positions, maintaining a job and keeping a time sheet. Students will be paid for their work with gift cards from local merchants.

A Sensory Garden – Jean Fisher, Mary Kay McPolin, Chippewa Middle School
Developing a sensory garden will give children experience in the life cycle of plants, teach them how to tend plants and encourage a multiple sensory exploration. Producing a sensory garden helps them experience an enriched environment that they have helped create.

Using the Wii for Basic Skill Building and Enrichment – Jean Lightfoot, Mary Kay McPolin, Chippewa Middle School
The Wii system will allow special needs students to practice and reinforce life skills being taught in the classroom. The students will practice taking turns, increasing attention span, eye-hand coordination, hand strength and dexterity, following directions, balance, math, reading and social skills.

The Grove Field Trip – Kathleen Cordaro, North Elementary School
This field trip will help students engage in their study of pioneer life and westward movement back in the 1800's.The students will be able to learn how to apply the following reading skills: compare and contrast, identify the main idea, categorize, classify and integrate the information learned during this field trip when making connections to the reading material in their textbook.

S.S. GRIN – Tlaloc Rodriguez, Plainfield Elemtary School, Orchard Place Elementary School
The S.S. GRIN is a group intervention that addresses both bully and victim behavior. Identified students will participate in this program throughout the school year in quest of developing healthier interpersonal skills. This intervention not only encourages creativity and excellence, it promotes inclusion, acceptance, respect and social skills development.

Reader's Theatre Multi-Leveled Scripts – Theresa Straub, Orchard Place School
These scripts will provide an opportunity for students at different reading levels to read together. The purpose of the project is to help build fluency through collaborative oral reading while strengthening comprehension and vocabulary.

Kids Making Connections – Donna Grady, Jamie Ponce, Chris McKelvey, Regina Gursky, North Elementary School
The students will take a field trip to Wagner Farm in Glenview and a field trip to Blackberry Farm in Aurora. These trips will allow the students to compare/contrast their current educational and town settings with that of students living in early Illinois.

Lexia Reading – GiGi Breitzman, Emily Fetzer, Forest Elementary School
Lexia Reading is a web-based phonemic awareness program designed to help kindergarten and first grade age children who struggle with age appropriate phonemic awareness and early reading skills. This program will be compatible with the district's hardware technology.

Therapy Dogs – Erin Padal, Kris Bertuccioli, Dawn Cory, Cumberland Elementary School
The project is to bring therapy dogs to preschool classrooms. This project will enhance the student's motor skill development, social, intellectual skills and self-esteem. Experts found that children will interact with animals in activities that they typically refuse.

Wii Game System for Educational-Life-Skills Students – Jeanne Fisher, Chippewa Middle School
The Wii system will promote student development in the social, physical and academic domains. This system will enable them to participate in an activity with other students in the school, which in turn will help them to form friendships and become more a part of the school.

Sew What – Carrie Willman, Lori Ann Greidanus, Algonquin Middle School
"Sew "What" is an after school club which allows students to create a variety of projects while interacting with their peers, and learning valuable skills. Students will have a venue to practice new skills and express their individuality and creativity.

Building Science Vocabulary through Leveled Readers – Sarah Grember, Iroquois Community School
This project gives teachers access to a variety of supplemental nonfiction texts. It will be very useful to ELL (English Language Learning) students by helping them to understand science vocabulary and concepts. Students will be able to talk and ask each other questions about their learning through partner reading at their level.

Hatching Chicks at our South School Learning Community – Betty Samluk, Michele Threlkeld, South Elementary School
Hatching chicks will give the students a firsthand opportunity to observe the process of hatching and to learn what a living animal needs to survive. This project will promote student development academically and socially as the students learn to work in learning communities throughout the unit.

Tier 1- Supporting All Students' Social/Emotional Development – Tlaloc Rodriguez, Plainfield Elementary School
This project is a social/emotional learning program that targets student's moral/social development. Auto-B-Good, a K-5th 3D animation cartoon series of cars portraying positive behavior that teaches and encourages 36 character traits, Model-Me- Kids, a social skills training video set (ages 2-17) that specifically teaches by modeling appropriate school behavior.

Fun with Food – Kris Bertuccioli, Dawn Corey, Erin Padal, Cumberland Elementary School The preschool department will purchase food items to use in a weekly cooking group. The students will feel and taste different textures, read recipes use math to measure ingredients and work on social and communication skills.

Read Naturally – Laura Koutavas, Ania Figueroa, Forest Elementary School
The purchase of the Read Naturally software edition in Spanish will help the students to enhance their fluency and comprehension. Read Naturally also helps develop vocabulary that is the district literacy focus this year.

Let's Go to the Theatre – Laura Kubiak, Iroquois Community School
The live production of One Hundred Dresses will provide the students with an opportunity to understand a girl trying to fit in with her classmates. The play explores bullying, friendship and the willingness to be yourself.

Frindle: The book Comes to Life! – Stephanie Keedle, Orchard Place Elementary School
The students will have an opportunity to see a live performance of the play Frindle based on a book by Andrew Clements. This field trip will enhance the students' reading experience and general literacy instruction. It will also broaden the horizon of students by exposing them to a live theatre experience.

Using the Wii for Attention and Turn Taking – Karen Kim, Mary Kay McPolin, Cumberland Elementary School
The Wii system will allow students to practice turn taking, increasing attention, eye-hand coordination, hand strength, dexterity, following directions, balance, pre-math, pre-reading and social skills. These games give the students a chance to build skills in the safety of the classroom before venturing out into the larger world.

Plainfield Outdoor Education Trip – Nancy Blevins, David Lynch, Janis Cortez, Plainfield Elementary School
The students will engage in activities and classes that enhance their ecological and environmental knowledge and awareness. Team building and problem solving are addressed throughout the experience.

The Power of One – Helen Galvan, Orchard Place Elementary School
"The Power of One'' is a group who perform a series of skits using boxes, colors and masks to vividly portray what bullying is and what can be done about it. The emphasis is on the power of one child who can report bullying when they see it, as well as strategies to utilize and who to turn to for assistance.

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Be A Bluestem Reader! - There is a list of Bluestem books that is picked each year by the Illinois School Library Media Association. Students in grade 3 – 5 read the books on the list. At the end of the school year, students across Illinois vote on one book on the list that was their favorite. The book with the most votes is given the Bluestem Award!


Students review 5/5 stars - Fourth grade students at South School have been reading the books on the list, and they have found some great reads! Listen to their book reviews, and find out if one of the Bluestem books would be a good read for you!


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Leon Smaage
Administration Center

777 East Algonquin Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016-6281
847-824-1136