2020 - 2021 Grant Awards

For the 2020-2021 school year educators in Unit 5 and District 87 submitted 65 applications requesting a total of $140,883. The Foundation awarded $68,748 to 35 projects.  

Early Education & Elementary Schools


Mary Aper, Mary Current, Amanda Dytrych, Tracie Ghrist, Tena Sprau | $ 2,021 | Researcher’s Workshop: Out of this World Inquiry



Wendy Young, Kathy Cooper, Lora Boyd | $ 1,447 | Cooking with Kiddos – YUM



Bryan Schultz | $ 479 | Drumming to a Creative PE



Heather Damery, Nikki Dillow, Lindsey Gillespie, Emily Kauten | $ 434 | Kinders Love Kinetic Sand During Purposeful Play



Erin Knuth | $ 360 | Soft Start Mornings

Kala Krueger, Joy Searby | $ 3,858 | Coding Carts



Kiki Keeney, Rebecca Johnson | $ 3,066 | Uke’an Play Along: Learning to String, Fairview Strum, and Apply



Alycia Carroll | $ 362 | Smart Guess? You Bet!


Sarah Raymond

Wendy Iverson, M.Stalter, S.Mahan, N.Reidy, B.Weir, M. Fischmann, M.Swaar, A.Bittner, Early Education R.Toft, J.Phelps, C.Taylor, E.O’Grady, C.Lonbom | $ 5,000 | It’s more than playing house!



Jayme Corcoran, Andy Jones | $ 337 | The Writing Doctor

Junior High/Middle Schools


Rachael Van Heuklon | $ 300 | Insightful Learning

Kristie Price, Michelle Chon | $ 393 | The House of Scorpion


Chiddix JHS

Carissa Mennen, Janelle Learned | $ 5,000 | Bridges to Literacy: A Multilingual Library


Evans JHS

Beth Stephens, Nate Bostic |$ 368 | Magnetic Levitation Lab

Danielle Estes | $ 4,350 | Enhancing Language Through Expeditions


Kingsley JHS

Erin Dobson, Alyssa Jones | $ 395 | Creating Cultural Responsiveness in Language Arts & Social Studies


Parkside JHS

Jessica Stutz | $ 368 | Chill Zone

Shawn Schwerman | $ 375 | Mentoring with Pictures

Shawn Schwerman | $ 360 | Keepin it Green

Cory Burnett, Erin Stack | $ 340 | Sound Waves-Developing a Solution to Excessive Noise

Cassie Lee, Kate Pavlou | $ 1,252 | Cooking Our Way to Independence

High Schools

Bloomington High School

Elizabeth Guzaldo | $ 4,078 | The Sustainable School Garden


Normal Community High School

Dan Higby, Scott Froelich, Val Walker, Don Whitman, Brock Keller, Matt Emberson | $ 4,939 | Clean Power and Technology Across the Curriculum

Jacob Wiechman, Andrew Bennett, Stefen Robinson | $ 5,000 | Audio Production: Empowering Students through Self-Expression


Normal Community West High School

Teri Wilson, Dave Lehr, Jackson Suddarth | $ 300 | I can see clearly now

Ali Akyuz | $ 350 | Graphics Tablets for Cultivation and Collaboration

Ryan Kerr, Katherine Cavender, IWU | $ 3,310 | Student Literary and Art Journal

Dave Weber, Jade Griffin | $ 899 | Making Motion Make Sense

Dave Weber | $ 1,913 | DIY Computers

Lisa Tomlin, Dave Weber | $ 1,172 | Chromosomal Connections

April Schermann | $ 3,450 | Coding Takes Flight – Using Drones in Computer Science

Abagail Primo | $ 1,825 | Balances for Hands-On Scientific Inquiry Lab

Michael Burt, Jarrod Rackauskas | $ 4,250 | Using Thermal Cameras to Augment our Senses in Chemistry


Normal Community / Normal Community West High Schools

Dave Lehr, Dan Higby, Val Walker | $ 4,925 | Solar Energy for Everyone

Teri Wilson, Margherita DiVita | $ 1,472 | Diversity Library

Beyond the Box

Monies for this award are provided by the Shirk Family Foundation.

Glenn Elementary

Hayley Mennenga, Angela Trask ~ $10,000 “Augmented Realty Sandbox”

Students will be able to explore the science behind how water and weathering affects earth’s materials. They can discover the importance of a variety of freshwater ecosystems. Educators can demonstrate a wide range of Earth Science concepts interactively. For instance, they can show and encourage students to build the varied land-forms found on Earth’s surface and illustrate how they were created by a variety of processes such as flooding, erosion, tectonics, and glaciations.


The grant funds will make it possible to purchase an augmented reality sandbox that will be used by students of the entire school, kindergarten through fifth grade in the subject areas of science, social studies, math, and language arts. The concepts and scenarios are kept simple for the younger students, by discussing contour lines, mountains, valleys, watersheds and water flow. When engaging older students the scenarios and concepts become more complex and the learning experience can include discussions of land-forms, elevation, and best land management practice and processes.


“The use of technology increases student engagement and helps make learning more meaningful and fun. Students can actually be the ones in charge of their own learning through this hands-on tool. Through their own research, thoughts and plans, they will be able to create anything from the tallest mountains to the smallest rainstorms all based on the student’s imagination.”