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Foundation for Learning Awards $22,250 in Innovation Grants to D128 Teachers


The District 128 Foundation for Learning continued its mission of enhancing learning in Community High School District 128 by awarding 17 Innovation Grants totaling $22,250.97 to Libertyville High School and Vernon Hills High School teachers on Dec. 22, 2016. The 2016-17 grant winners were announced and celebrated at a luncheon held at the District 128 Administration Office. This year's grants brought the number of grants awarded by the foundation since 2008 to 113 and the total dollars funded to $169,010.


The grant winners were joined at the presentation by members of the Foundation for Learning Board of Trustees, the D128 Administration, and the Grant Review Committee. Pictured at the presentation are: (front row) Foundation Chairperson Jenny Eitel, Kim Jansen, Simone Oslage, Elissa Gong, Rebeca Garcia, Tammie Black, Maggie Nicholson, Ashley Bell, Amanda Carroll, Sherri Rukes, Mike Bush, Mary Clark, Mark Prosise, Foundation Trustee Scott Overbeck, Foundation Trustee Anand Setty, (back row) Superintendent Prentiss Lea, Monica Tolva, Jennifer Goettsche, Karen Kym, Chris Wolf, Teresa Elmore, Brandon Watters, Jane Wenzel, Pete Dawson, Mike Cook, Jason Rush, Joshua Ravenscraft, Foundation Trustee Aaron Hebbeln. Recipients not pictured: Matthew Karnstedt, Katti Bachar, Shannon Etnyre, Jay Walgren


Founded in 2007, the Foundation for Learning was established to enhance and enrich the instructional program in District 128 by obtaining resources through community partnerships.


This year’s winning Innovation Grants are:


Bioluminescent Jellyfish Proteins Purified Through Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis — This laboratory program gathers glowing bacteria and purifies the bioluminescent proteins using Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS) polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.  This process is similar to the production of human insulin in the biopharmaceutical industry. Elissa Gong (VHHS); Awarded $1,757


iPad Recording Kits — Electronic Music and Guitar students will be able to compose and portably record their own original compositions and music. The ability to record, play back, listen, and self-critique will aid them in the creative process. Matthew Karnstedt (LHS); Awarded $1,250


Makerspace in the Library Media Center — In using a Makerspace, students will be able to explore their own interests and experiment to solve problems relevant to those STEAM interests in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. A Makerspace will offer all students the chance to get out of their chairs, read, think, solve and create.  Monica Tolva (VHHS); Awarded $1,850


Measuring Radiation in the Palm of Your Hand — Using a small inexpensive detector that can be plugged into a smartphone or tablet, students will be able to measure the radioactivity of various natural and artificial sources.  They will also be able to investigate the ability of different materials to shield various forms of radiation. Mike Bush, Sherri Rukes (LHS); Awarded $2,000


Student Designed and Coded Circuit Boards in Physics — Using Arduino boards, programmable circuit interfaces, students will manipulate, design, and learn computer coding, similar to an introductory engineering/physics course. The students will learn how to build and program an Arduino circuit board and its components using a C++ based computer language. Joshua Ravenscraft (VHHS); Awarded $1,900


Buddy Reading — Students enrolled in the Instructional Literacy Course will read and implement literacy skills with first graders at Gages Lake School.  Our students will have the opportunity to apply reading strategies learned in the Literacy course with lower level readers. Kim Jansen, Simone Oslage (LHS); Awarded $720


Investigation of Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration Using Specially Engineered Algae Beads — Project allows students to use engineered algae beads in a colorimetric assay to study both photosynthesis and cellular respiration in an inquiry investigation.  Students also study the effects of light intensity, light color, temperature and other organisms on these processes. Mark Prosise, Mary Clark (VHHS); Awarded $500


Microcentrifuge Device for Cutting-edge DNA Labs — Microcentrifuge allows  for the extraction and processing of real DNA samples in a host of high school laboratory exercises. Students will be engaged by genetically modified organism (GMO) food labs, phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) gene testing, and plant genomic investigations - all requiring use of a microcentrifuge. Mark Prosise (VHHS); Awarded $1,800


Dynamic Hands-on Modeling to Engage and Captivate Life’s Most Critical Process — Students manipulate hands-on protein prototypes they have sequenced and designed themselves using 3-D tools, which demonstrates why the protein folds. Once students understand this, they will then be presented with what happens when something causes the folding to go wrong, which is the cause for many genetic diseases. Chris Wolf (VHHS); Awarded $1,050


Breakout EDU — Breakout EDU creates ultra-engaging learning games for people of all ages.  Breakouts teach teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting students with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve. Teresa Elmore (LHS); Awarded $763


Chemistry Engineering & Design Challenge — This design project will allow students to apply chemistry concepts to solve a real-world problem.  In this project, students will research, plan and develop the best pool deck possible based on a series of criteria, including testing the endurance of various materials, building their prototype and testing the impact that heat has on the materials.  Shannon Etnyre, Brandon Watters (VHHS); Awarded $1,200


Sensory Innovation Grant — The tools will create a more enhanced sensory experience for students who exhibit Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) characteristics including sensory processing difficulties.  These tools include ball chairs for sensory integration and balance, Skypanels to reduce visual hypersensitivity, and oils and diffuser to increase relaxation and calmness. Rebeca Garcia, Jane Wenzel (VHHS); Awarded $867.22


Chemistry Molecular Model Kits — Chemistry molecular model kits teach students about chemical bonding, structure and function. These models help illustrate bond angles, hybridization, and intermolecular forces. Having a physical model that students build, manipulate and analyze will help make the abstract aspect of chemistry more concrete and tangible. Maggie Nicholson, Katti Bachar, Karen Kym, Sherri Rukes, Pete Dawson, Ashley Bell (LHS); Awarded $1,908.75


Classroom Without Walls; Expanding the Classroom Experience — This project will provide global connections and opportunities to experience collaboration real-time and opportunities for content and skills learned in class to be applied beyond the classroom walls.  Students will realize and appreciate the global relevancy of the course by interacting with individuals beyond the classroom. Amanda Carroll (VHHS); Awarded $535


Let There Be Lightboard!; The Next Evolution of Flipped Lessons — The lightboard is a glass writing surface that allows the teacher to face the camera and write naturally as if they are facing a traditional whiteboard.  Software inverts the written image so that the writing reads normally when recorded.  The result is a video that has the teacher facing the students while writing their illuminated presentation notes. Sherri Rukes, Mike Bush, Mike Cook (LHS); Awarded $2,000


A) Calculating Speed Is No Trap B) The Speed of Chunk C) Doppler Effect Physics — A set of radar speed guns allow physics students to measure speed in a unique and technologically advanced method. The radar guns will be used in an introduction to kinematics, measuring speed of catapult launched projectiles and the Doppler Effect’s relevance to everyday life.  Jason Rush, Joshua Ravenscraft, Mary Clark, Jay Walgren (VHHS); Awarded $1,200

Transforming Language Learning for 21st Century Students — This training will give international language teachers the tools to create an engaging classroom for language learners and measures progress on a curriculum redesign in line with the American Council in the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) World Readiness Standards. The new curriculum and assessments will give students the ability and confidence to navigate in the target language outside of the classroom with increased skills. Jennifer Goettsche, Tammie Black (LHS & VHHS); Awarded $950


Grant Highlight:

Storyboard Hardware and Software
The addition of storyboard hardware and software allows special education and other students to work together to develop and edit Wildcat Production video segments using Storyboard Creator and Large Format Touchscreen displays. This enables the students to develop better organizational life skills and grow more social-emotional connections.
The grant was awarded to Libertyville High School Special Services Teacher Aide Robert Adams and Wildcat Production Advisor Daniel Treptow in the amount of $1,978.96.
"I have heard nothing but positive feedback from the students who have tried out the new software," said Treptow. He noted that it has proven to be easy to use and much quicker than hand-drawing a video idea frame by frame.

  Students, along with Adams and Treptow, are pictured collaborating on a project using the new technology funded through the Innovation Grant.

Annual Appeal

Click here to learn what the District 128 Foundation for Learning is doing to support Libertyville and Vernon Hills High Schools and how you can help enhance and enrich student learning in District 128.

Alumni Leave Your Mark

The District 128 Foundation for Learning’s newly established Alumni Leave Your Mark program gives parents, friends or family of Libertyville High School and Vernon Hills High School graduates the opportunity to make a donation to the Foundation for Learning in honor of a special graduate. Click here for details.

Foundation Corporate Sponsor BCU Helps Personal Finance Students Receive Real-World Lending Experience

VHHS students recently had a real-life lending experience as part of an opportunity sponsored by Baxter Credit Union (BCU).  Read more....