The 2015-16 year was very busy and productive for the Vehicle Sticker program. The program was publicized heavily through the use of several hundred banners, street signs, and lawn signs posted throughout Highland Park. The committee also expanded its partnership with local PTO boards to promote the Foundation Grant program and the importance of upgrading through a series of e-mails to D112 families. Promotional efforts resulted approximately $44,000 raised to support Foundation grants and other Foundation programs.
The vehicle sticker upgrade program was expanded to Highwood in the spring of 2015 through a new partnership with the Highwood mayor and city council, resulting in additional upgrade revenue and inclusion of hundreds of families with children in the D112 schools. In spring of 2016, we increased our publicity throughout Highwood and in Northwood and Oak Terrace schools in hopes of increasing the number of Highwood sticker upgrades.
The Foundation board also wanted to enhance our communication to residents who upgraded through a more personalized message. All Trustees participated in writing hand written notes to all residents who upgraded their vehicle sticker to demonstrate our personal appreciation for their commitment to the Foundation and their support of D112 schools.
In March of 2016, we conducted our biennial Vehicle Sticker Design contest to select a new design for the upgraded vehicle sticker in both Highland Park and Highwood. Utilizing the principals and the art teachers and a gift card incentive, we received dozens of entries, ultimately selecting Maddie Gordon, an Edgewood 8th grader, as the winner.
Fun(d) Run 2015
Fun(d) Run was held on Saturday, September 25, 2015. The beautiful weather encouraged a large turnout, and through registrations and sponsorships, approximately $31,000 was raised for the D112 Scholarship Fund. Lincoln Elementary won the trophy for most participants. Following the Fun(d) Run, 3 new co-chairs came on board to take on the leadership role – Leah D’Antonio, Sara Grossmann and Jodi Eldridge. They have been very active in recruiting new volunteers to help with this important event. The Foundation continues to help the Fun(d) Run Committee with administrative support, processing payments and donation and help with day of tasks.
The 112 Education Foundation approved 65 grant projects totaling nearly $75,000 for the 2015-16 school year. Recognizing that some of the best thinking and most innovative ideas happen over the summer as educators mentally prepare and get excited for the school year, the Foundation revamped the application process to include a fall submission period in addition to the traditional spring period. Twenty seven applications were submitted in the fall. Grant programs encompassed music, science, STEM, culture, art, math, character, yoga and many other areas. We continued to encourage teachers to provide information to help publicize their grants via social media (facebook and twitter), our website and the local press. In May 2016, the Foundation approved approximately $37,500 to fund 30 grants for the 2016-17 school year.
MLK Day of Service
On Monday, January 18th, 2016, the City of Highland Park together with the commission on Human Relations and help from a number of volunteers and service organizations, held the 7th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day “on” at the Highland Park Recreation Center.
This year, the 112 Education Foundation partnered with Moraine Township to give kids and families an opportunity to help with the food insecurity issue that affects nearly 28% of our population in Highland Park and Highwood. The Foundation deemed this a great program to be involved with while helping promote our mission and programs.
The Foundation communicated through the NSSD112 office (including the PTO/A’s and school principals) to ask people to drop off their non-perishable food items and toiletries and decorate a shopping bag at our table. The Foundation supplied the shopping bags and materials to decorate the bags. Each bag had a shopping list attached of food items most needed at the pantry. People were asked to return the bag to the pantry at their convenience. Moraine Township reported that, in the weeks following, approximately 20 bags were returned filled with donations from the MLK event.
iRead ran from January 9th through January 31st. The Foundation again partnered with the Highland Park Public Library for the annual iRead Kick Off which was held at the HP Library on Saturday, January 10th from 9-3. Each year the HP Library secures authors to meet and talk to the students, secures a storyteller who gives 2 performances and has other activities during the day such as bookmark making and photos. The Foundation works with the school librarians to encourage teachers to sign up to read to the students throughout the day. Students who attend receive an additional 30 minutes of reading time. It is always one of the busiest Saturdays of the year at the Library.
This year, we had 2,390 readers throughout the District schools who raised approximately $28,000 for the Foundation. Collectively, students read about 1.5 million minutes! For the second year in a row, Sherwood School won the iRead elementary school trophy by having the most minutes read per student. Edgewood was a repeat winner for the middle school trophy. All readers received a ribbon and all students who fundraised received a certificate for a free gelato from Arriva Dolce in Highland Park.
2015-2016 Ravinia Festival Middle School Music Program
This year’s middle school program focused on the Highland Park middle school orchestras. The Ravinia Festival brought in the award-winning Chicago Arts Orchestra to provide a two-fold residency experience: guest musicians to work individually with the students followed by a guest visit from CAO’s esteemed conductor, Javier Mendoza. The residencies culminated in a middle school orchestra performance at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall in April. Over 150 students from Edgewood, Elm Place and Northwood participated in this amazing performance. Utilizing the theme of Stravinsky’s “Firebird”, 6th grade students performed “March Heroic” and Ukranian Folks Songs. The 7thand 8th grade orchestras performed Mozart’s “Finale from Serenade No. 9” and Stravinksy’s “The Firebird”.
2015-2016 Ravinia Festival Elementary School Program
This year’s Ravinia Festival Elementary Concert took place on April 12th, when all District 112 5th grade students were treated to a performance at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall that included renowned cellist Ian Maksin and a robust performance by the 5th House Orchestra. Ravinia again featured its One Score Chicago theme, which was Stravinsky’s “Firebird” this year. Ian Maksin began the program with an introduction to traditional Russian music and lullabies and concluded by showcasing one of his own original arrangements. His performance was followed by 5th House Orchestra’s rendition of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” which was orally narrated by one of the musicians (while also playing his bass) and was accompanied by a visual slide show of the book and two talented dancers who stole the show by depicting the story line behind the music.
Kids Go Classic
Ravinia will be offering 1,500 free lawn passes to District 112 students and their families for the annual Kids Go Classic Concert. Students and families are invited to bring a picnic and Ravinia offers each child a free ice cream. This year’s concert will be held on Tuesday, July 26th and will feature Stravinsky’s “Firebird”.
The Foundation’s first annual Reel 112 Film Festival took place on Wednesday, April 20th at the Landmark Renaissance Place Theatre in Highland Park. The Film Festival was the culmination of a nine- week film program in the middle school CMA Classes. Through funding provided by the 112 Foundation, Milos Stehlik and a team of film experts from Facets, a non-profit cinema arts organization based in Chicago, worked with CMA (Communications/Media Arts) staff and students to teach documentary filmmaking. Students worked weekly with the CMA teachers and Facets staff to gain an understanding of the elements of filmmaking, story development, and cinematography.
The Film Festival showcased 13 student films from Edgewood, Northwood and Elm Place for students and their families. Student filmmakers enjoyed photos on the red carpet in front of the “Reel 112 Film Festival” backdrop and the posters of the films that they created. In addition to the student film screening, Facet’s founder, Milos Stehlik, spoke about the student documentary film process and introduced Cannes Award-winning filmmaker Anahita Ghazvinizadeh who presented her award-winning short film, “Needle”.