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updated: 11/28/2012 4:29 PM

Dist. 128 teachers get grants for innovative projects

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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.

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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