Cooking with Math, Gardening with Wisconsin Fast Plants and Drumming Up a Multicultural Exploration are just a few examples of more than 30 educationally enriching projects that received funding from the District 112 Education Foundation. All told, more than 1,000 students across all 12 schools in North Shore School District 112 benefit from these unique learning opportunities, which were designed by about 90 district teachers and staff members. Together, the projects will receive about $36,000 in funding from the Foundation, which was established 12 years ago to provide innovative and creative ways to enhance educational opportunities for all district children.
“The Foundation is a shining example of a school-community partnership,” said Dr. David L. Behlow, North Shore School District 112 Superintendent of Schools. “The projects it funds allow our teachers to use innovative, hands-on methods to inspire their students and fully engage them in learning.”
In order to receive funding, staff members were asked to submit competitive proposals for their projects, and of the 56 applications that were received, 33 grants were awarded to projects that met specific criteria, including using creative, imaginative and experimental approaches, having specific and measurable learning objectives, and supporting interdisciplinary learning.
In Cooking With Math, Oak Terrace teacher Erica Brady’s students will use math, science reading and writing skills to explore the different elements of food, cooking and nutrition, and their final efforts will result in a cookbook. In Gardening with Wisconsin Fast Plants, Wayne Thomas teachers Katelyn Kearns, Mindy Kirsch, Christopher Bush and Julianne Hettich will give students an opportunity to plant flowers, learn lab concepts and track growth cycles in an unusual plant species which matures in 28 days. And in Drumming Up a Multicultural Exploration, Lincoln School teacher Janet Lubetkin will work with her students on an innovative way of developing listening skills, leadership and teamwork through learning drum ensembles from West African and other cultures as well as creating original fabric design and a clay mural.
“Our district is fortunate to have such an active parent community dedicated to providing extra learning opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Heidi Wennstrom, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning and Technology. “The grant process has the added benefit of encouraging our staff to explore creative and innovative ways to teach, and gets everyone excited.”
The 112 Education Foundation is supported entirely by private donations, and undertakes many ambitious fundraising projects during the year. Two of its main fundraisers are underway right now. All Highland Park residents who are renewing their vehicle stickers can opt to participate in the Foundation’s Drive for Education by checking a box on their renewal form and paying a $30 upgrade fee. All money raised through vehicle stickers goes directly to the Opportunity Grants. The Foundation’s annual Fun(d) Run will be held September 24 at the grounds of the Ravinia Festival, and will feature 10K and 5K runs, a family walk and many exciting post race activities. For more information, visit www.112foundation.com.