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LHSEF to support a record amount in grants in 2015-16

The Lemont High School Educational Foundation has committed to supporting nine grants for more than $65,000 for the 2015-16 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 1,400 students. This marks the third straight year that the LHSEF has pledged a record amount of funding within one grants cycle.

The LHSEF is fully funding nine Educational Foundation Grants for a total of $65,340, with a stipulation that the funds provided for the projects must be used during the 2015-16 school year. The greatest amount previously awarded in one year was in 2014, when $56,077 was awarded for grants that were to be put in place for the 2014-15 school year. 

Included among the 2015-16 Educational Foundation Grants are the following proposals:

  • 21st Century Tool for a 21st Century Education
  • Breakfast Buddies
  • Changing the Science Classroom to a 1:1 Learning Environment
  • Discipline Free Dance
  • ExcelEdge ACT Prep Scholarship Program
  • Link Crew/Peer Mentoring
  • One-to-One Pilot: Introducing Chromebooks to LHS
  • Picture This - Phase III
  • STEM WOW

2015-16 Educational Foundation Grant Summaries

The LHSEF is excited to partner with Lemont High School as it moves forward in the area of educational technology, eventually to a one-to-one learning environment. Three grants will provide classroom sets of mobile devices that will be piloted in various classrooms for the next two years. What is learned from these pilots will help inform future decisions regarding the form and functionality needed for student devices in a one-to-one program.

Lemont High School teachers submitted 18 proposals for grants, requesting more than $129,000. Since 2007, the LHSEF has supported more than $315,000 in grants to benefit Lemont High School.

A primary reason the LHSEF has been able to provide such significant support to Lemont High School is the success of the “Food for Thought” series. For eight years, the “Food for Thought” celebrations have drawn large crowds of enthusiastic supporters. However, its 2014 event - “Pizza Fest!” - generated more than $51,000 in revenue and drew nearly 2,000 supporters to downtown Lemont last September, making it the most well attended event in LHSEF history.

The LHSEF already is gearing up for its next “Food for Thought” event, which will take place in downtown Lemont on September 19, 2015. Ticket information will be available in the summer. “Food for Thought” once again will be a family friendly event open to all ages and will feature a number of local food and drink establishments.

The LHSEF provides revenue and support to Lemont High School in order to enhance educational opportunities and enrich the overall experience for its students. It 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 education for all students.

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

2015-16 Educational Foundation Grants

“21st Century Tool for a 21st Century Education”
Funded at $25,000 — proposal by Erin Hitchcock & Kathy Young

Lemont High School is exploring a one-to-one learning environment in which each student would have his/her own device to utilize in the classroom setting. This grant will fund the purchase of a classroom set of Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 for Education, as well as a classroom set of the 11e Yoga Chromebook; both will use Google Apps for Education (GAFE). This will allow the Mathematics Department to evaluate the educational benefits of two different types of devices, helping the school make an informed decision about what technology will be best for Lemont High School students in the future.

“Breakfast Buddies”
Funded at $1,200 — 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.

“Changing the Science Classroom to a 1:1 Learning Environment”
Funded at $12,500 — proposal by Tim Plotke

This grant will fund the purchase of a classroom set of Chromebooks, which will be utilized in the Anatomy & Physiology Honors, Zoology and Biotechnology classes. This creation of a one-to-one environment will allow technology to enhance learning, enable students to display creativity, and generate more student-to-student interaction. The ultimate goal is to create a learning environment that engages all students in course content.

“Discipline Free Dance”
Funded at $1,000 — 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 a portion of the cost of the 2016 Discipline Free Dance, including the DJ and prizes for the attendees.

“ExcelEdge ACT Prep Scholarship Program”
Funded at $3,000 — proposal by Denise Dalton

This grant will provide financial assistance for students who have the greatest need to attend the ExcelEdge ACT 36 prep course prior to the ACT testing cycle during their junior year. Students who wish to take the course but are unable to afford it (as evidenced by a fee waiver or participation in the National School Lunch Program) will be provided the opportunity for half- or full-tuition scholarships for the cost of the course. Other students will be identified as potential scholarship recipients based on their Practice ACT scores in Fall 2015.

“Link Crew/Peer Mentoring”
Funded at $2,879 — proposal by Denise Dalton

The Link Crew is a transition program that welcomes freshmen and makes them feel at home throughout their first year on campus. The program has been very successful at other area high schools. This grant will cover the one-time cost of training, which will allow the school to implement the program in Fall 2015 and continue the program in years to come. Link Crew turns over some of the freshman transition and transfer orientation responsibilities to upperclass students, which builds leadership and ownership among the students themselves. Once implemented, the program becomes something that is run for students, by students. The Link Crew will build community, connections and compassion among students.

“One-to-One Pilot: Introducing Chromebooks to LHS”
Funded at $12,500 — proposal by Scott Collins

This grant will fund the purchase of a classroom set of Chromebooks, which will be weaved into the curricula for the freshman science courses, Biology Honors and Integrated Science. Google Apps for Education (GAFE) will be integrated with Haiku, the school’s current learning management system. With Lemont High School committed to exploring the promise that Google can offer in the classroom, this pilot could become a permanent fixture in the school’s classrooms in the future.

“Picture This - Phase III”
Funded at $1,500 — proposal by Ryan Hennebry and Megan Idell

Previous Educational Foundation grants have funded cross-curricular projects that have merged the disciplines of art, science and computer aided design (CAD). These projects have resulted in hallways throughout the building being filled with the best student artwork. Connections between school work and the outside world allow students to appreciate the arts, cultures, creativity and imagination. This grant will allow for the project to extend to additional high profile areas throughout the building.

“STEM WOW”
Funded at $5,761 — proposal by Michael Beranek, Scott Collins, Monica Johnson & Tim Leffler

A previous Educational Foundation grant funded the “Summer, Science, STEM - Oh My!” project, which brought together special education and general education students in the study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) topics. In its debut year, the program generated national recognition for its innovative approach. General education students benefit by providing coaching and mentoring to their peers, while the special education students receive instruction through hands-on activities while working on real-world problems. Faculty members partner with students to develop the curriculum, which will be utilized in June and July as part of the “Extended School Year” program, and then continued during the 2015-16 school year.