Dist. 128 teachers get grants for innovative projects
Sixteen innovative projects at Libertyville and Vernon Hills high schools have been awarded grants from a local community foundation.
Some of the proposals will use iPads, webcams or other high-tech tools to help educate students. Some are decidedly low-tech and focus on the arts, physical education and other non-computerized subjects.
A look at the grant winners
Here's a look at the Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 projects that will share $25,339 in grants from a local nonprofit group.
At Libertyville High:
• Social studies teachers Casey Aubin, Dennis Duffy, Jeff Mallon, Lauren Rust and Matt Thompson got $2,000 to purchase webcams and software so students can access lessons remotely.
• Applied technology teacher Jeremy Gerlach got $2,000 to teach his graphic communications students about a process called dye sublimation printing.
• Science teachers Maggie Faulkner, Katti Jablenski and Karen Kym got $1,261 to purchase magnetic whiteboards and other products to teach atomic and chemical concepts.
• Math teacher John Taylor will use $1,929 to buy iPods so students can create videos for classroom presentations.
• Science teacher David Kreutz will use $2,000 to teach students about the raw materials in shampoos, lotions and other personal-care products.
• Special services teacher Lynda Ward received $1,513 to develop an online reading program for struggling readers.
• Science teacher Sherri Rukes received $2,000 so her AP Chemistry students can use gas chromatography to identify organic compounds.
• Math teachers John Taylor, Amanda Warfield and Caitlin Bye and department supervisor Tim Roegner received $867 for computer software that will let teachers create digital notes and lessons students can view online before classroom discussions.
• English teacher Craig Schmidt got $2,000 to bring a famous author to school during an event called Writers Week.
• Social worker Lindsay Bransen and counselor Nancy Stetter got $650 to create a countywide carnival for students with developmental disabilities who are in a club called Best Buddies.
• International language teachers Elaine Petricca, Angela Naylor and Emily Koerner got $2,000 to stage a pair of musical, theatrical or dance performances at school as part of an annual International Languages Week.
At Vernon Hills High:
• Music teacher Jeremy Little will use $1,413 to hire a composer who will visit the school and work with students on a new composition.
• Science teacher Jason Rush will use $1,000 to purchase a high-speed camera so his physics students can record and analyze a fast-action event like a person jumping or a ball being thrown.
• Students in the physical welfare classes of teachers Denise Caton and David Schroetter will use exercise equipment to increase physical strength. Their grant was for $1,414.
• Science teachers Karen Day and Sarah Stoub and English teacher Ellen Macias plan to spend $1,293 on a drinking fountain equipped with an apparatus that fills water bottles.
• Science teacher Alyssa Clarke, math and physical education teacher Adam Lueken, English teacher Jason Newburger, business teacher Beth Richards, applied arts supervisor Nancy Shipley and social studies teacher Laura Tracy got $2,000 so they can use iPads and software to help students with homework, organizational skills and study techniques in an ongoing effort called PAWS, or Programs Assisting With Success.
The projects will share $25,339. The money comes from the District 128 Foundation for Learning, an autonomous, nonprofit group that supports creative educational programs and activities at the two schools.
During the past six years, the foundation has given $76,198 to projects at both schools.
"Our district is fortunate to have the support of a foundation that encourages our teachers to inspire students by providing cutting-edge learning opportunities that enhance and enrich the outstanding academic programs at LHS and VHHS," Superintendent Prentiss Lea said in an email.
Among the 11 Libertyville High winners, social worker Lindsay Bransen and counselor Nancy Stetter were awarded $650. They want to create a countywide carnival for students with developmental disabilities who are in a club called Best Buddies.
Organizers were inspired by similar gatherings at Vernon Hills and Stevenson high schools.
"These events have been wonderful for our students to attend," Bransen said. "It gives them a chance to meet other students from surrounding schools and provides a memorable fun evening."
International language teachers Elaine Petricca, Angela Naylor and Emily Koerner were awarded $2,000. They will arrange a pair of musical, theatrical or dance performances at school as part of an annual International Languages Week.
"With two performance groups, all of our students will be able to attend an interesting and meaningful performance," Petricca said in an email. "We are excited to be able to sponsor such a unique and entertaining learning experience for our students."
Five Vernon Hills High projects were selected, too.
Music teacher Jeremy Little was among the winners, receiving $1,413. He will hire a composer to visit the school and work with students on a new composition that will be performed at a subsequent conference.
Science teachers Karen Day and Sarah Stoub and English teacher Ellen Macias are sponsors of an environmental club that wants to install a drinking fountain with an apparatus that fills water bottles. Their project received $1,293.
"Our club would like to minimize the use of plastic water bottles and promote the use of reusable bottles, so this was the perfect project," Day said in an email.
The club will sell reusable water bottles to coincide with the installation of the machine, Day said.
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