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LHSEF to support a record amount in grants in 2014-15

The Lemont High School Educational Foundation has committed to supporting 12 grants for more than $56,000 for the 2014-15 school year. Grant proposals were submitted by Lemont High School faculty and staff, with the goal of enhancing educational opportunities for the school’s enrollment of more than 1,450 students. This year’s total is the largest amount the LHSEF has supported in one grants cycle since its inception in 2007.

The LHSEF is fully funding 12 Educational Foundation Grants for a total of $56,077, with a stipulation that the funds provided for the projects must be used during the 2014-15 school year. The greatest amount previously awarded in one year was in 2013, when $32,396 was awarded for grants that were to be put in place for the 2013-14 school year. 

Included among the 2014-15 Educational Foundation Grants are the following proposals:

  • An Evening Out
  • AP Environmental Science Stream Research
  • Breakfast Buddies
  • Budget Challenge
  • Discipline Free Dance
  • Discovery Based Science Learning - Chemistry & Electives
  • iEngage: Using Technology to Engage
  • Picture This - Integration of CAD and Art
  • Summer, Science, STEM - Oh My!
  • Tier I Social/Emotional Interventions
  • Tier II Social/Emotional Interventions
  • We See College in YOUR Future - Year 7

2014-15 Educational Foundation Grant Summaries

Lemont High School teachers submitted 20 proposals for 2014-15 Educational Foundation Grants, requesting more than $106,000.

In its seven years of existence, the LHSEF has supported more than $250,000 in grants to benefit Lemont High School. A primary reason it has been able to provide that level of support is the success of the “Food for Thought” series. Its first seven “Food for Thought” celebrations have drawn large crowds of enthusiastic supporters.

The LHSEF is switching gears with its “Food for Thought” event in 2014. “Food for Thought: Pizza Wars!” will be held on Saturday, September 20, at Talcott Square in downtown Lemont. This family friendly event will be open to all ages and will feature a number of local pizza establishments duking it out for the ‘Pizza Wars!’ crown.

The Lemont High School Educational Foundation provides revenue and support to Lemont High School in order to enhance educational opportunities and enrich the overall experience for its students. The Foundation operates independently from the school, yet fosters the district’s ongoing and systemic efforts to attain the next level of success in all areas of a comprehensive high school education for all students.

The Foundation’s mission is to partner with the community to make lasting improvements to Lemont High School that will enhance the total educational experience for all of its students. Its desire is to fund and support programs and opportunities that aid students’ growth, both academically and as citizens of the Lemont community. 

The Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent provided by the law.

2014-15 Educational Foundation Grants

“An Evening Out”
Funded at $3,200 — proposal by Krissy Bergles, Joan Browning, Kelly Collins-Bunn & Margie Pilarski

Socialization becomes more independent for students as they grow older, but social independence is more difficult to attain for students with disabilities. Attending after school events, or recreational events in the community, requires assistance, supervision and transportation. This grant will help students with intellectual, developmental and/or emotional disabilities become familiar with school events and learn appropriate social behaviors in a public setting. Students who participate in extra-curricular events - ranging from athletic events, to performances such as “Faculty Idol”, to an outing to the bowling alley - have a more positive outlook on their education, and this program will help students learn the skills necessary for independence.

“AP Environmental Science Stream Research”
Funded at $1,713 — proposal by Karen Aleman

Previous Educational Foundation grants have allowed Advanced Placement Environmental Science students to participate in real world research. In both the fall and spring, students collect critical data on water quality at Camp Sagawau Nature Center in Lemont. Students become ‘citizen scientists’ as they sift through samples, work in teams to identify organisms, journal their findings and complete lab reports. This grant will fund additional equipment and transportation to Camp Sagawau for further student research, as they continue to benefit from real world research and valuable experience with laboratory field techniques.

“Breakfast Buddies”
Funded at $2,100 — proposal by Joan Browning & Krissy Bergles

Giving a chance for special needs students and their mentors to regularly come together, Breakfast Buddies is held before school on Wednesdays and attracts dozens of students weekly. Students with disabilities gain confidence and acceptance, helping to make them feel more a part of the Lemont High School community, while their peer mentors gain expertise in working with individuals with disabilities of all kinds and are given college recommendations based on their work. As this program has progressed, many of the peer leaders involved have begun pursuing careers in Special Education or Social Work, and some of those alumni have returned to visit the program and discuss its importance within the school’s climate.

“Budget Challenge”
Funded at $3,000 — proposal by Justin Weidler

The school’s required Consumer Education course prepares students for life beyond Lemont High School, as they delve into topics ranging from consumer credit and investing to major purchases and budgeting. This grant will allow for the purchase of a site license for the Budget Challenge software, which is expected to improve students’ financial literacy by providing them with a better context for understanding the ramifications of their future financial decisions. Over the course of a semester, students will be presented with real-life circumstances that require them to make decisions within their budgetary constraints. Saving and the timely payment of bills, will be rewarded, while failing to save or pay bills will result in penalties. 

“Discipline Free Dance”
Funded at $2,000 — proposal by Brent Gagnon & John Kennedy

The Discipline Free Dance is an annual event that serves as a reward for Lemont High School students who consistently demonstrate the ability to make the “right” choices. This much-anticipated, invitation-only event not only provides an incentive for students to make good decisions, but has a tremendous impact on the school’s climate and culture. This grant will underwrite the cost of the 2015 Discipline Free Dance, including the DJ, supplies, and prizes for the attendees.

“Discovery Based Science Learning - Chemistry & Electives
Funded at $26,027 — proposal by Erin Boyd & Patte Doornbos

Previous LHSEF grants have facilitated the implementation of the PASCO Science SPARK Learning System - an integrated hardware and software learning system using 21st century technology - into the school’s Science curriculum. To date, all Physics and Anatomy & Physiology Honors courses have benefitted from this system. This grant will continue to build on the SPARK Learning System, allowing for the purchase of a SPARK classroom set that will be used in all levels of Chemistry and other science electives. SPARK system technology enables students to make pre-lab predictions, collect real-time data, use graphic tools to analyze data, compare their experimental data with their initial predictions, and run experiments multiple times to collect more data. Such labs - performed with equipment that includes full-color display with finger-touch navigation - challenge students to think about their data and provide responses in an electronic environment in a fashion similar to the way scientists do it in the “real world.” All Lemont High School students will have the SPARK Learning System incorporated into their classes.

“iEngage: Using Technology to Engage
Funded at $9,807 — proposal by Michael Beranek

This grant - in conjunction with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding - will bring 13 iPads into freshman-level science and geography classes for both special education students and those in co-taught general education classrooms. Using these devices is expected to improve student engagement and access to the general education curriculum. The iPads will provide students with access to eBook applications and other programs that are appropriate for their abilities, and also will allow for differentiated instruction. 

“Picture This - Integration of CAD and Art”
Funded at $2,965 — proposal by Scott Duensing & Ryan Hennebry

A previous Educational Foundation grant merged the disciplines of art and physics, and the result of the cross-curricular project has been hallways filled with student artwork and an increased awareness of the role that physics plays in students’ daily lives. The second stage of this project will expose the fields of art and computer aided design (CAD) to students who have not had a chance to pursue these studies during their careers. Students enrolled in art or CAD classes will create the artwork, and their peers will benefit from the exposure to this work. The best work will be displayed throughout the building. Connections between school work and the outside world will allow students to appreciate the arts, cultures, creativity and imagination.

“Summer, Science, STEM - Oh My!”
Funded at $1,590 — proposal by Michael Beranek & Tim Leffler

This grant will bring together special education and general education students in the study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) topics. General education students will benefit by providing coaching and mentoring to their peers, while the special education students will receive instruction through hands-on activities while working on real-world problems. Illinois social-emotional learning standards will be incorporated into lessons and activities, which will be conducted in June and July as part of the “Extended School Year” program. The students’ work will culminate in a one-day field trip at the end of their session.

“Tier I Social/Emotional Interventions”
Funded at $455 — proposal by Student Services Team

The Illinois State Board of Education and the American School Counselor Association have created standards for social and emotional learning. While these standards are promoted through the general school culture, the Student Services Department seeks to address them in a more formalized way. Next year, monthly seminars will include speakers from area colleges, agencies and mental health providers. At the end of each seminar, students will be provided with a list of apps that will support the designated message of the month. This grant will provide incentives (in the form of iTunes gift cards) for students to attend.

“Tier II Social/Emotional Interventions”
Funded at $610 — proposal by Student Services Team

The Student Services Department often assists with “Tier III” interventions for students who are in extreme crisis situations. This grant will assist students who need services prior to reaching a point of crisis. A variety of groups will meet for six-week periods, with topics both academic (time management, study skills) and social-emotional (stress reduction, test anxiety) being featured. Other specialized groups - including post-hospital/re-entry, recovery and self esteem - also are expected to be featured. The overriding goal of all groups is to address underlying issues that affect school performance.

“We See College in YOUR Future - Year 7”
Funded at $3,000 — proposal by Kathy Brockett

Aiding students on the cusp of achieving a composite ACT score that would qualify them for a four-year college or university, this grant will cover half the cost of the ExcelEdge ACT 36 prep course for 10 students, and the full cost of the class for five students. The eight-week course provides students with ACT test taking strategies that should help them achieve a higher ACT score. The goal is to increase the scores of the targeted students to at least 18, which will make them eligible for entry to a four-year college or university and help the school in its goal of having 85 percent of all its seniors reach that mark.