U-46 teachers, staff awarded grants for projects

 
 
Updated 1/10/2019 4:35 PM
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  • Lisa Holbrook, a multitiered system of supports lead teacher at Elgin High School, was among eight recipients Thursday of U-46 Educational Foundation's new Innovation Mini-Grant program. Chandler Swan, a foundation board member, presented Holbrook with a $500 check to support her Maroon Mentoring Program, which helps students who have gone through traumatic life experiences.

    Lisa Holbrook, a multitiered system of supports lead teacher at Elgin High School, was among eight recipients Thursday of U-46 Educational Foundation's new Innovation Mini-Grant program. Chandler Swan, a foundation board member, presented Holbrook with a $500 check to support her Maroon Mentoring Program, which helps students who have gone through traumatic life experiences. Courtesy of Elgin Area School District U-46

  • Lisa Holbrook, a multitiered system of supports lead teacher at Elgin High School, received an Innovation Mini-Grant from the U-46 Educational Foundation.

      Lisa Holbrook, a multitiered system of supports lead teacher at Elgin High School, received an Innovation Mini-Grant from the U-46 Educational Foundation. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

A family book club, a student mentoring program and high school biotechnology experiments are among the innovative ideas that earned eight Elgin Area School District U-46 teachers and support staff members grants to enhance student learning.

U-46 Educational Foundation board members surprised the winners Thursday at their schools with $500 Innovation Mini-Grants for their creative teaching techniques.

"Each of these grants will provide activities that enhance, enrich and complement existing opportunities in U-46 for students, families and staff," foundation board President Bud Wilson said. Winners were selected from among 27 proposals. They are:

• Philip Church, Bartlett High School science teacher, for hands-on biotechnology experiments related to DNA and heredity.

• Sarah Rabe, principal of Centennial Elementary School in Bartlett, for the development of sensory paths to support students with a sensory processing disorder.

• Lisa Holbrook, Elgin High School multitiered system of supports lead teacher, for Maroon Mentoring Program helping students with traumatic life experiences develop relationships, social skills, and a sense of belonging.

• Heather Flick, science teacher at Eastview Middle School in Bartlett, for supporting Science Olympiad program participants with team supplies.

• Rachel Pinkepank, Title 1 teacher interventionist at Hillcrest Elementary School in Elgin, for establishing parent-child book clubs for second- and third-graders and their families.

• Michelle Esmenda, secretary at Glenbrook Elementary School in Streamwood, for an outdoor marquee to improve communications among students, families and the community.

• Haley Levitan, psychologist at Ontarioville Elementary School in Hanover Park, for providing flexible seating options, such as standing desks and foot swings, for students having difficulty concentrating.

• Martha Laskus, early childhood teacher at Horizon Elementary School in Hanover Park, for creating Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Program activities, such as a light table and related manipulatives to help students acquire skills in a play-based manner.

The U-46 Educational Foundation was started in 2006 by a group of community leaders and district supporters. Its mission is to enhance the quality of education for U-46 students.

A 16-member board oversees the nonprofit, which has distributed nearly $500,000 to district programs since its inception. That includes purchasing heart rate monitors for physical education students, granting more than $20,000 to the U-46 Planetarium for its full-dome shows, and supporting U-46 middle school and high school teams competing in the Illinois Science Olympiad.

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