2012-2013 Opportunity Grant Winners


D112 Administration


NURTURE NUTRITION AND WELLNESS                                                                           Sue Sarmiento

A program designed to teach students the benefits of a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition.  This project will connect education and community partnerships in an effort to reduce child obesity and the risks associated with this disease.


RISING STARS STEM ROBOTS                                                                                            Amanda Wiehl

Spanish speaking middle schoolers participate in bridge building and robotics projects with their HPHS peers/mentors and participate in a culminating event where projects are tested in front of a large group.


UNTETHERING TEACHERS                                                                                                 Maureen Miller

Piloting the use of Apple TV along with existing  iPads in each 112 building will enable teachers to project directly from their iPads while moving around the classroom.  In addition to untethering the teacher from their computer, this technology will enable teachers to display students’ work in real-time.






An interdisciplinary exploration of the historical events, physical geography, social and cultural systems which resulted in music originating in the southeast.  Students will use technology and instruments to compose their own “blues” music.  Project will culminate in a live performance in which they will participate with professional musicians.


GEOSPHERE LANDS AT BRAESIDE                                                                                    Jory Weissman

Students will gather inside a 20” inflatable sphere to view the world from the inside out.  The Geographic Society of Chicago will conduct presentations demonstrating the fragile connection between the earth and its inhabitants.  Curriculum topics of earth science, climate, weather and math will be covered.


SIMPLE MACHINE CONSTRUCTION                                                                                 Shara Lieberman

K’Nex building kits will be used to supplement the science curriculum in the “simple machine” area.  Students will be able to “experience” these simple machines and build machines themselves so they can explore and understand every facet of how they work.



THE SURVIVAL OF THE NATIVE AMERICANS: THEN AND NOW                                 Lisa Colbert

Field trip to the Mitchell Museum to see and understand the inhabitants of the USA before the European influence.  Students will learn about the cultures and tribes/societies in the USA post ice-age, the reasons and details of their migration to North America, their perspectives, and lives pre and post European colony takeover.


Elm Place


BRITISH INVASION: THE RISE OF ROCK AND ROLL                                                        Dan Makula

Band, Orchestra and Choir students will engage in a variety of activities in order to explore the musical time period of the 1960s.


JAPANESE ART AND CULTURE                                                                                                 Suzanne Greenwald

Students will learn to appreciate and connect the simplicity and beauty of Japanese art  THROUGH photography and poetry including Haiku and Tanka.


NOOKS IN THE CLASSROOM                                                                                            Melissa  Arof

Students will have instant access to books of their choice and at their reading level. By reading more, students will become better readers and writers as they challenge themselves with books at or above their level.


WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT AND THAT’S OK                                                                          Elizabeth Hodge

This project will help general education students understand various disabilities, as well as, how they can be a support to the special needs students in their school.  Students will learn compassion for one another and see that we are all different in some ways.


Green Bay School


BEAR BUDDIES                                                                                                                    Mirela Vesa

Buddy program between STEP pre-school students and 2nd grade students at Indian Trail to promote social and language development through lunchtime and structured play activities.


WIGGLE JIGGLE FOR YOUR HEALTH                                                                                Cyndi Hochman

An all school assembly (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) to signify the importance of exercise and eating healthy.



Indian Trail


CAPACITY ENTERS                                                                                                             Christine Buti

Students learn about units of measurement in a hands-on, tactile experiential lab


CLAPS FOR APPS: ENCORE                                                                                                 Beth Heile

The STEP program will use applications for the iPad specifically designed for students with disabilities, autism, and/or cognitive impairments.  The apps will be used during all areas of academic instruction, including reading, math, social studies and science.


IPODS FOR BILINGUAL LEARNING LITERACY                                                                  Yanett Garcia

Bilingual students will experience  interdisciplinary learning through podcasts and recordings in English and Spanish.


READING AROUND THE WORLD                                                                                                     Laura Golden

A family night where students and their families will virtually travel to different countries to hear regional stories, sample authentic food, listen to music, learn ethnic dances and more.  This project will create awareness and excitement for learning about other cultures around the world.


WORD WORK                                                                                                                       Christine Buti

The creation of literacy centers which  promote fun, creative reading and spelling games/challenges.






DIGGING FOR RHYTHM ROOTS                                                                                       Janet Lubetkin

Students will explore the rhythm roots of current American music. Through active music making, students will discover rhythms from different cultures and historical periods which when combined, have evolved into many styles of music:  country, jazz, blues, rock and roll, pop and hip hop.



Students will partake in an exciting writing workshop with author, storyteller, teaching artist and certified bullying prevention trainer, Sue Black.


Northwood School


CHEZ NORTHWOOD: UN CAFE FRANCAIS                                                                      Noelle Young                      Chez Northwood culminates in the design, set up and running of an authentic French Café by students who are relegated to speak only in French to each other and to patrons.  Ooh la la!  Come taste the crepes!


INTERNATIONAL CLUB                                                                                                        MJ Thompson

The students will develop a better understanding and deeper appreciation of the diverse cultures within the Northwood school community and throughout the world via local field trips, guest speakers, and hands on opportunities.


MARIACHI MADNESS                                                                                                         Margaret Delligatti

The creation of middle school mariachi groups that celebrate and promote cultural music and performance within the school community and beyond.


NORTHWOOD COMMUNITY GARDEN                                                                            Emily Kurth

The Northwood Community Garden will provide the community access to fresh produce free of charge.  Students will learn gardening skills and the importance of fresh, healthy food.


ROOTS FEST                                                                                                                       Carolyn Frye

Roots Fest is a unique opportunity for the Northwood students to celebrate commonalities and differences from a variety of cultures.  The activities will view culture through the lens of visual and performance art, music, and drama.



Oak Terrace School


COCINANDO CON MATEMATICAS                                                                                  Erica Brady

Interdisciplinary application of math, science, reading and writing skills to explore the different elements of food, cooking, and nutrition in classroom activities and in daily life.  Project culminates in a cookbook.


KIDS ARE AUTHORS TOO                                                                                                   Kristin Pressman

Students will work in teams to write, edit  and illustrate their own books that will be submitted to “Kids are Authors” Scholastic contest and given to the school library  for all students to share and enjoy.

BRING BOOKS TO LIFE THROUGH SONG                                                                                      Alicia Luthardt

Through interdisciplinary exposure to rhythmic literature and musical concepts, students will write musical compositions that go along with text.  Students will act out stories through music with instruments, movement and singing, bringing  books to life!


CAN YOU DIG IT? GEOCACHING IN THE LIBRARY                                                                        Kara Smith

Students will create maps, work on organizational skills and problem solve as teams with the latest geocaching technology.  Students will improve their writing skills using descriptive language to create clues for their classmates while learning about maps, coordinates and map reading.


DRAMATIC CHANGES FOR CHILDREN                                                                             Sandy Anderson

4th and 5th graders take to the stage to put on their own production of Through the Looking Glass.  Students work together to build community, art skills, vocal, music, dance and drama talents.  Students will raise their confidence, self esteem and leadership skills while working on a spectacular show that will be enjoyed by the entire school and parent community.


HATCHING YOUNG READERS                                                                                            Barby Beard

This program utilizes technology to make learning to read fun and motivational.  “Reading Eggs” engages students in all modalities of learning:  visual, auditory, manipulation, speaking and imitation as they work with letters, sounds and words.


UNIDOS PODEMOS                                                                                                                   Mayra Tristan

This project was created especially for Latino parents and students at Oak Terrace to teach strategies, methods and specific vocabulary to parents so they can better assist their children at home.





PACK THE SACK                                                                                                    Amy March

Students will participate in a 25-week program where they take home a backpack with a storybook and activities to support literacy development.  In school, teachers will use the Earobics software program in their literacy centers to provide individualized instruction as part of the program.


STORYTELLING IN KINDERGARTEN                                                                   Amy March

Students will be engaged in a yearlong study of the art of storytelling. Literature, visual media, and technology will serve as springboards for students to learn how to express themselves creatively, and speak effectively.



Red Oak


FAMILY POETRY NIGHT                                                                                        Linda Diamond

Families will come together to participate in many aspects of poetry. They will create and share their work in a common experience.


GROWING TO LEARN                                                                                            Melinda Donelan

Students will build a raised perennial garden, planting seeds, bulbs and flowers native to the Midwest.  While maintaining the garden, students will graph and chart the growth of the flowers, monitor wildlife and utilize the garden for still life paintings and naturalist drawings.  Harvested flowers will be arranged in bouquets which will be sold to raise funds to maintain the garden.


IREAD WITH IPODS AND MICROPHONES                                                         Kate Strong

Students identified by MAP scores as needing improvement in reading fluency will meet in small groups throughout the year to record themselves and play back their reading to self-correct and improve fluency.  This project has proven successful in motivating students to improve their reading speed, clarity and expression.


LITERATURE WITH LAUGHTER/GRIFFIN’S TALES                                             Valerie LaRiviere

Griffin’s Tales is a unique way to mix  literature with laughter for all the Red Oak students. Students will submit a short stories with a creative and unique voice. Then five stories will be selected and performed by a philanthropic group of performing art major students from Northwestern University in April 2013. This is an exciting way to honor children’s writing.


READING STARS                                                                                                     Kristin O’Rourke Salamanca

This program promotes a true love for reading “book in the bag/libros y lectura en casa” This school and home program allows students and parents to read together and strengthen the home-school connection with educational treasures and literacy games as well.


STUDENT/PARENT WORKSHOP                                                                          Nadia Deharo Vega

Families will attend workshops at school to learn strategies and utilize technology skills to help support their children’s learning at home. Parents will  receive educational tools to help them monitor their child’s learning in the areas math, reading, writing and speaking. These workshops will also empower parents to use technology at home and foster a stronger home-school connection.





iPod touch devices will be used with first grade students a way to monitor and increase reading fluency.


Wayne Thomas School


GARDENING WITH WISCONSIN FAST PLANTS                                                 Julianne Hettich

Growing plants in the classroom will involve the 3rd grade students and take them beyond reading or watching videos about plants.  The students will document the life cycle of a Wisconsin Fast Plant in 28 days providing the students with a hands on experience planting flowers!