All District 64's younger learners will benefit from five grants totalling more than $21,500 awarded for the 2019-20 school year by the District 64 Elementary Learning Foundation (ELF), as announced at the May 20, 2019 Board of Education meeting.
This year's grants will advance ELF’s total direct grants to over $814,500 since 1994, when ELF began supporting innovative educational programs by awarding grants to teachers and staff who are committed to excellence in education.
This year, ELF is partnering with PTOs at two schools on innovative projects. At Carpenter School, ELF is partnering with the school PTO on a three-year program to enhance the science curriculum by bringing a year-round hands-on gardening experience into all second grade classrooms. At Field School, ELF also is partnering with the school PTO to provide one book that all families will read together over the summer, setting the stage for the school's 2019-20 theme: Everyone is Welcome Here.
Coding and hands-on STEAM experiences beginning with D64's pre-school learners at Jefferson School through all five elementary schools will be enhanced by two grants that offer hands on opportunities for beginner through advanced challenges.
A final innovation grant will introduce a movement pathway using the floors and hallways to create a multi-sensory approach to the learning environment, starting with Field School.
The grants include (view via PDF):
Tower Gardens - Carpenter Elementary School
Tower Gardens are a soilless growing medium to quickly and efficiently grow fruits and vegetables in any environment. The learning opportunities for students are endless and span the curriculum. This program is innovative as it takes a typical gardening experience and brings it into the classroom. Rather than students getting to see a couple seeds sprout in a plastic cup, they will experience a variety of foods growing and observe them at every stage. This is a wonderfully unique opportunity to enhance the current science unit with a year-round hands-on science experiment. Carpenter’s PTO is partnering with ELF to implement this three-year program to all 2nd grade science classrooms.
The Movement Pathway - Field Elementary School
The Movement Pathway is an exciting intervention to learning. Teachers, therapists and administration are looking for ways to provide supports to all students to be ready to learn. The objective of the Movement Pathway is to offer students, of all abilities, the opportunity to learn, regulate and have fun while performing an appropriate activity in the hallway. Using all environments, including the floors and walls within buildings, offers more learning space within all buildings starting at Field. Providing a multi-sensory approach to learning is a proactive learning experience. The grant will offer the opportunity for multiple domains to interact on the benefit of students. Motor planning, social emotional learning, visual scanning and sensory needs can all be supported by this pathways.
One Book, One School, One Wish - Field Elementary School
When an entire school reads the same book, the buzz and excitement around the book augments these benefits. Reading a book together brings the added joy of building and expanding a sense of community among students, parents, teachers, and staff – and beyond. As a school, having one book that is given to all families sends a unique message, both in that reading is a vital part of our school community, as well as that our school is rooted in kindness. Working together with Field’s PTO, this grant will provide the community of Field School one common experience this summer: the opportunity to read Katherine Applegate’s book, Wishtree, as a family. The goal is for every person in the Field community to experience this amazing, community-building novel, to set the stage for the 2019-20 school year around the school theme of Everyone is Welcome Here.
Full STEAM Ahead: Learning via LEGOS - Jefferson School
Full STEAM Ahead: Learning via LEGOS is an innovative project that will allow the youngest learners of District 64 the opportunity for hands-on coding and STEAM experiences through play with LEGOS. Preschool-age children learn by doing: intentional teaching leads to exponential learning. This grant will provide hands-on learning through play reinforcing sequencing, looping, cause and effect, and coding, while providing opportunities for observing, experimenting, investigating, studying force and motion, balance, spatial awareness and more.
Robotics & Coding in the Elementary School - Carpenter, Field, Franklin, Roosevelt, and Washington Schools
Coding is considered a necessary “literacy” for most college majors and career paths. It is a skill that incorporates design thinking, creative problem solving, perseverance, and sequencing skills. Sphero Bolt robots offer both beginner-level and advanced coding opportunities for learners of all ages and in all content area. In order to promote the 4C’s learning experiences, computational thinking, multi-age coding opportunities, and college/career readiness skills, the Instructional Technology Coaches at the 5 elementary schools will engage staff and students in the implementation of lessons using Sphero Bolt robots and the Sphero EDU coding app.
To contribute, volunteer or learn more about ELF, visit: www.District 64ELF.org.