2019 - 2020 Grant Awards

For the 2019-2020 school year educators in Unit 5 and District 87 submitted 53 applications requesting a total of $103,120. The Foundation awarded $49,805 to 26 projects.

Early Education & Elementary Schools

Benjamin & Glenn

Lauren Romero | $930 | Read, write and play, the Boomwhacker way!


Benjamin, Glenn, Oakdale, Carlock, Colene Hoose, Fox Creek & Grove

Lauren Romero, Kristyn Szwajka, Blake Miller, Gabe Myers | $4,960 | Don’t Fret….let’s sing, strum and play….Uke can do it!



Kim Harmon, Crystal Larkin, Kari Fillingham, Bekah Arnold, Ashley Hull, Kathy Lowe | $5,000 | Beyond the Building



Hayley Mennenga, Angela Trask | $375 | Inquiry learning through Teaching Tanks and Stream Table Kits



Amanda Hunt | $872 | Kinship Kits



Kathie Brown, Kara Thompson | $3,500 | Expanding Robotics Club



Rhett Felix | $350 It’s a Small World


Sarah Raymond

Erin O’Grady, Rhonda Toft | $1,473 | More Than a Box!


Sugar Creek

Karen Showalter | $100 | Word Surgery

Karen Showalter | $200 The Great Barrier “Teach”

Junior High/Middle Schools


Marsha Veninga, Caryn Birchler | $700 | Adopt-a-tree: From Roots to STEM



Carissa Brandon & Janelle Learned | $4,800 | Bridges to Literacy: A Multilingual Library



Katherine Behrens | $1,340 | “Lore” Podcast Presentations



Shawn Schwerman | $400 Rockin’ the Global Read Aloud

High Schools


Ali Akyuz | $200 | Photography: Blending Then and Now

Lisa Tomlin | $241 | Let’s Get Growing!

Cathy Unsbee & Tracy Freeman | $375 Civically Engaged Learning

Tracy Freeman & Cathy Unsbee | $375 | Practice Makes Perfect

Tracy Freeman, Cathy Unsbee, Jennifer Hamler, Anthony Berardi, Darren Hess | $375 | Economic IS ENGAGING

Jennifer Hamler & John Bierbaum | $395 | Abnormal Psychology Case Study Kits

April Schermann | $389 | Get Creative, Get Connected, Get Coding with Micro:bits!

April Schermann | $3,294 | Innovate and Educate – Algebra 2 in Business



Jessica King & Mike Roller | $4,204 Get the Red Out

Valentine Walker, Joel Swanson, Justin Steve | $4,957 | Increase in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Its Impact on the Earth



Brad Bovenkerk | $5,000 | Journalism: Providing Exposure to Professional Practice and Seeing the Story Through New Lenses

Brad Bovenkerk , Jennifer Kelly, Pam Witzig | $5,000 Creating a Professional Workspace

Beyond the Box $10,000 Grant

Monies for this award are provided by the Shirk Family Foundation


Stevenson, Sheridan, Irving, Bent, Oakland & Washington Elementary Schools

Matthew Crews & Leah Crews | $10,000 “Just give me a minute!”

This grant will provide sensory paths in each District 87 elementary school. The goal is to create a space for students to use these paths either as a whole class (taking turns), or as a break for individual students when deemed necessary by their classroom teacher.

Students often have difficult times focusing in class. Sensory paths provide breaks to help students focus and reduce stress and often decrease negative behavior. Research has shown that sensory paths increases productivity, boosts brain function, and provides opportunities for children to learn social skills. Research also has shown that our brains aren’t idle when we take breaks. They are working hard to process memories and help us make sense of what we experience.

By providing these sensory paths in our elementary schools, we are giving teachers a tool to use throughout the day to help students who need to “change their channel”. We want students who are not engaged or who are over stimulated to have a space where they can go to take a break and then return to the learning.


View as PDF |  See the 2018-2019 Grant Winners