2008 – 2009 Opportunity Grant Winners


Braeside School

Stories Told in a Different Way
Ms. Anne Shimojima, Linda Sayers, Molly Bayless, Larry Hiler, Stephanie Cardella, Andi Simon, Dan LaCosse, Jen Ikens, Shara Lieberman, Debbie Martin, Howie Templer, Emma Barron, Lisa Colbert, Jory Wiessman

Students to learn about the world of sign language and the deaf culture through storyteller, Peter Cook. The performance will enhance learning and related projects in science and social studies for students in grades 2-5.


Edgewood School

“I Wrote That!”   Mr. Nick Novak
A creative project which enables special education students to write, edit, design and publish children’s books.  In addition to the creation of books for elementary school students in the district, the students will learn the value of sharing their books with an audience!

Music Composition Studio Project   Ms. Mollie McDougall
The students apply their music reading and performance skills to the computer by learning to notate and compose original music.  This exciting project is enhanced by an interactive presentation by world-renowned composer Don Owens.

Teen Advisory Board  Ms. Carolyn Lorence and Ms. Wendy Sigele
This 21st century project enables 8th grade students to select, buy, read and review new books and magazines for the IMC under the direction of the school librarian.  The students will create podcasts of their reviews and create an online blog to facilitate a dialog with all Edgewood students regarding the selected reading choices.

Elm Place School

Political Convention   
Ms. Amy Pessis, Bryan Wagner, Christopher Hull, Julie Horwitz, Tomas Claus, Linda Martin, Cindy Baggio, Constance Cunningham, Enid Deutsch, Heather Palmer, Lori Wyatt

A school wide civic education simulation of the August National Conventions at Elm Place School.  This exciting project will instill the students with a sense of privilege and obligation as citizens of the United States.  Students will discuss the platform of the two major political parties and discuss the concept of electoral votes.  Each advisory group will participate in the political convention!

Feel the Funk:  A Groovy Flashback   
Mr. Nick Filipowski, Daniella Valdez, Beth Lucker, Matt Taylor, Steve Downs, Trevor Kahn, Dob Sedik,

An arts integrated approach to studying the pop culture of the 1970’s.  This “funky” unit will engage students to be more active in uncovering American art forms.  The culminating activity will take place on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 during Elm Place’s 4th Annual Arts Collaboration Night!

Photography as a Window and Mirror  Ms. Suzanne Greenwald
The students will use photography and writing as tools for self-awareness, self-expression, communication, creativity, and the sharing of ideas.  This project incorporates photography, technology and writing in a unique manner and will be displayed at Elm Place School upon completion.


Indian Trail School

Ecology in Action   Mr. Merle Arenson
This innovative ecology project will encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of healthy ecosystem functions.  The students will explore and research Illinois’ native habitats in addition to the benefits of the restoration of native species.  The hands on activities will include seed collection and the planting of trees!

Electricity Comes Alive  
Mr. Merle Arenson, Mariah Taylor, Craig Lucci, Bill Steinbach

This electrifying project is part of the of the 4th grade electricity unit.  The students will create and design an electronic quiz board on a topic of interest.  A variety of skills will be developed in addition to the application of their knowledge of circuits.


Family Poetry Night
Ms. Marcy Lesser, Heidi VanderVere, Kristen VanRavenswaay

This school wide poetry event will bring families together and help them to incorporate both the reading and writing of poetry into their daily lives.  This is sure to be an inspirational evening!

Let’s Go Fly a Kite   Ms. Laura Golden
This fun and exciting project will develop the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills of English as a Second Language students.  The combination of science, art, and culture will engage the students to write kite poems and make their own kite and fly it!


Lincoln School

Interdisciplinary Exploration of Cinco de Mayo
Ms. Michele Jenson, Linda White, Janet Lubestein,

Kindergarten students will be introduced to basic Spanish words and literature related to Cinco de Mayo.  This grant includes projects relating to music and art as well.


Northwood School

International Club
Ms. Mary Jane Thompson, Raji Prasad

This after school club will help promote multiculturalism.  Students will develop a better understanding and a deeper appreciation of the diverse cultures within our school community and throughout the world.

Learning Curriculum Thru Music   Ms. Randi Kanter
This project for sixth graders will support interdisciplinary learning using music to support English, math, social studies, and more.  The skills students use in this program will provide them with several study techniques they may use through the year and beyond.

Northwood Circus Day
Mr. Santiago Rubio, Kathleen Manuell, Mary Tiegs

All students will learn styles of juggling and balancing the equipment. In the process, they will generate eye-hand coordination, body awareness, rhythm and timing, concentration skills and self-confidence. Students will have the opportunity to perform for their peers.


Preservation Partners   
Mr. Todd Middendorf, Angela Clement, Luis Correa, Linda Stickler, Robin Ruken, Valerie Fairbairn, Suzanne Sitrick, Beth Bazar, Jesica Mercer, Gina Perlman

In this project, seventh graders will visit local forest preserves to complete educational and stewardship activities.  Focus will be given to trip activities designed to emphasize science, social studies, and math.  In class activities, discussions and assignments will help supplement the activities held during each field trip.

Roots Fest   
Ms. Mary Jane Thompson, Carolyn Bramble, Yun Lee, Rosa Machabanski, Suzanne Sitrick, Raji Prasad, Carly Solomon, Luis Correa, Margaret Dulligatti, Amy Stein

All students will participate in a celebration of the cultures of their school community. Activities will include Latin dancing, Holocaust education, immigration education and cooking. Students will learn cultural dances, songs and music for a community –wide performance.

Star Lab  Ms. Mary Jane Thompson and Patty Samuelian
Starlab is a portable planetarium.  It is an inflatable dome that uses a cylinder projector to project images onto a dark canvas background.  Students enter this dome to learn through a multisensory approach about a variety of topics.

We’re Gonna Talk Around the Digital Mike, We’re Gonna Talk, Talk, Talk Till our Accent’s Right   
Ms. Jasmine Wad, Luis Correa, Audrey Nieman, Carly Solomon, Michelle Flores, Suzanne Sitrick, Emily Kurth, Renato Villanueva

In this project, students will brainstorm topics, develop conversation ideas, record questions and answers with a digital voice recorder, and then evaluate their work while improving language skills.


Oak Terrace School

Cocinando con Matematica (Cooking With Math)   Ms. Erica Johnson
Interdisciplinary application of academic skills, including curricular math, science, reading and writing skills to explore different elements of food, cooking, and nutrition in classroom activities and in daily life.  Culminates in a final project exhibiting learning–a cookbook.

Differences Awareness Week   Ms. Jenni Cooper and Ms. Jessica Herrmann
A week-long celebration of the differences among the students and staff. The culmination will be an all school assembly with Paralympics athlete and art projects demonstrating students’ strength.

Staley First and Goal Fitness Challenge  Mr. Ted Jablonski
This grant will teach students the value and importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Student will monitor food, sleep, water intake and level of physical activity for 6 weeks


Ravinia School

Code Blue is There a Doctor in the House?   Ms. Debbie Sabin and Christy Gortz
Students become doctor specialists working together to pass their Medical Board Exam. The students form medical clinics, brainstorm and present their patient, problem and solution.

Lights, Camera, Action!   Ms. Debra Kuhn and Ms. Beth Dolce
This project will provide students with the opportunity to develop their communication and social skills and practice real-life problem solving through acting exercises.

Ravinia Scenes from the Green Screen  
Ms. Andrea Dunning, Amy March, Angela Scarim, Colleen Butler, Alayna Weinstein, Becky Purse, Christy Gortz

This project helps students use technology to explore different content areas of math, science, social studies, and language arts.

Science Buddies   Ms. Angela Scarim and Jackie Mara
First and fourth grade science buddies work together on hands-on science activities.

Storytelling In Kindergarten-They All Have Stories To Tell   Ms. Amy March and Sherri Merel
Students will be engaged in a yearlong study of the art of storytelling. They will learn how to express themselves creatively, and speak effectively.


Red Oak School

Family Poetry Night   Ms. Linda Diamond and Kate Strong
Families will come together to participate many aspects of poetry. They will create and share their work in a common experience.

Reading Stars  
Ms. Kristin O’Rourke Salamanca, Patricia Castano, Kate Strong

The purpose of this program is to increase oral reading fluency and comprehension skills to children with few books at home.


Reading Under The Stars  Ms. Kristin O’Rourke Salamanca and Patricia Castano
Spanish speaking families will become partners in the education of their children. This project will promote a love for reading to enhance early literacy and further strengthen the home-school connection.


Wayne Thomas School

Respect for all Differences  
Ms. Hollie Williams, Michelle Dwersey, Hollie Weile, Lauren Polakoff

The goal is to explore children’s unique differences and qualities through a renowned author who overcame learning.