Forty Five Grants To Outstanding Area Teachers

Above: the 2019-20 Healthy Balance project at Hollis Grade School provided hands-on materials to expose children to healthy lifestyle choices in the form of creative play.

The PNC Foundation and the Ruby K. Worner Charitable Trust recently announced 45 “PNC First Grant” recipients receiving cash awards of up to $1,000. The grant awards are given to outstanding teachers from schools throughout central Illinois.

Over the past 30 years, the PNC Foundation and the Ruby K. Worner Charitable Trust have awarded 935 grants totaling more than $585,000. The PNC First Grant program is designed to help classroom teachers accomplish creative and innovative projects that they would otherwise be unable to fund because of budget limitations. This year, the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from the PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., received 83 grant applications.

Dee-Mack Primary School Motor Lab submitted by Bethany Scroggs is awarded $801; the goal is to implement a Ready Body, Learning Minds: Motor Lab five days per week for students in need of furthering their neurodevelopment through stimulation of their sensory systems to enhance academic learning within the classroom setting. 

Deer Creek Intermediate School: Kami Google Chrome Extension for In-Person and Remote Learning submitted by Emily Dickerson and is awarded $705; funds will improve the quality of both in-person and remote learning for the entire student body. 

Deer Creek Machinaw Primary: Leaf Collection Notebook submitted by Courtney Boznos and is awarded $420; leaf collecting is a good way for students to learn the trees native to their area and connect with nature in a world full of technology.

East Peoria Community High School: 3D Models by and for Students submitted by Rebecca Bramwell and is awarded $989; 3D printing pens will transform the academic environment as teachers and students are able to present and take in information in a completely new way.

Eureka High School: Mindful Movement and Meditation submitted by Deborah Bertschi and is awarded $1,000; the goal is to implement a school-wide focus on wellness: physically, emotionally and socially, which will in turn benefit academic achievement. 

Eureka High School: Tag, You’re It! submitted by Kathleen Irvin and is awarded $498; funding will allow the purchase of art supplies for each student enabling them to safely create mini-masterpiece mixed media tags to symbolically represent themes, characters, and topics covered in each unit of study.

Fieldcrest High School: Making Good Trouble submitted by Kristin Wilson is awarded $1,000; funds will help stimulate discussion that teaches students to form cogent arguments, a skill sorely lacking in modern times.

Fieldcrest Middle School: Take a Walk in My Shoes submitted by Wendy Smith is awarded $995; this cross-curricular unit is developed to give students a deeper understanding of how life can be impacted by mental or physical disabilities.

Fieldcrest Primary: Animal Wax Zoo submitted by Debbi Klendworth and is awarded $1,000; students will be engaged in an animal research project by creating a Wax Zoo. 

Franklin Primary School: Amazing Authors and Nifty Narratives by Mary LaKemper is awarded $678; the project is to engage students in the exploration of the basic components of narrative genre and empower them to apply that knowledge to the production of a personal, narrative writing portfolio. 

Glen Oak Community Learning Center: Glen Oak Golden Chargers Learn and Grow Garden submitted by Annie Mayo is awarded $1,000; The Learn and Grow Garden seeks to create beautiful spaces that provide opportunities for students to experience project-based learning that is both fun and educational. 

Kellar Primary School: Manipulatives for Learning submitted by Joey Syed is awarded $1,000; will create a learning space and learning opportunities by giving students access to multiple kinesthetic/tactile and hands-on experiences as they relate to pre-reading and reading foundational skills along with math foundational skills.

Knoxville Center for Students Success: Horticulture Garden submitted by Rhonda Walker is awarded $1,000; students will work with a local community garden to expand their classroom skills.

Lettie Brown Elementary: Building a Social Emotional Toolbox submitted by Laura Steiner is awarded $665; funding will help provide, implement and coach students and staff with a sounder support system that addresses basic social-emotional needs of students in order to enhance their educational opportunities.

Lincoln K-8 School: Think Outside the Bag submitted by Hedy Elliott-Gardner and is awarded $830; “this  project is designed to provide opportunities for at-risk students to leave screens behind to design and create tangible solutions for real-world problems. Mystery Bags, containing a written problem and a random assortment of materials, will be available for students to design and create a solution for the stated problem.

Midwest Central: Friends and Feelings-Social Thinking Group submitted by Alex Frank and is awarded $508; the goal is to teach students within the special education program to make better sense of oneself and others’ thoughts, feelings and intentions in order to better self-regulate and/or relate to others. 

Student at St. Jude Catholic School
The Preschool Geography and World Cultures program at St. Jude Catholic School provided academic materials and experiences in the areas of astronomy, earth science, geography and social studies.

Midwest Central High School: Modernizing Mechanical Applications in the Classroom submitted by Kenyon Jodlowski and is awarded $985; the goal is to provide updated technology that utilizes 21st century technology within the agriculture program.

Morton High School: Multilingual Book Talks and Reading Incentives submitted by Jay Mahannah and is awarded $1,000; the goal is to increase reading skill and proficiency in Spanish, French, and other home languages. 

Morton High School: Digital Creation & Production submitted by Eric Myers is awarded $1,000; funding will allow the purchase of SlingStudio Hub, which will allow students to ideate, create and publish exceptional videos including lessons, responses, broadcasts, informational publications and events. 

Morton Junior High School: Leadership Academy by Danielle VanMeenen awarded $1,000; students will rotate through workshops that focus on the core abilities of empathy, curiosity, sociability, resilience, self-awareness, integrity, resourcefulness, and creativity.

Norwood Elementary School: Making A Musical submitted by Taylor Doremus and is awarded $705; funds will be used to purchase a musical that the middle school students will work to prepare for the spring semester.

Peoria High School: Ebooks; Building Relationships Through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tiles submitted by Leigh Ann Cloud and is awarded $1,000; funds will start building an eBook collection using the Gale Cengage eBook Platform to expand students' access to authoritative information in a multiuser electronic book format.

Peoria Notre Dame High School: Living, Vertical Indoor Garden Wall submitted by Maureen Vadis is awarded $1,000; will encourage creative and interdisciplinary experiences among 750 high school students who will design a green, living plant wall that parallels nature, only indoors.

Peoria Regional Learning Center: Hands-On Electricity & Magnetism by Dawn Giovanetto and is awarded $996; equipment will enhance students' academic achievement by allowing them to build electric circuits themselves.

Roanoke Benson Junior High: Financial Literacy submitted by Kyle Fellner and is awarded $1,000; funds will be used to obtain a financial literacy curriculum created by Ramsey Education entitled Fundamentals of Personal Finance

St. Edward Catholic School: Investigating the Structure, Behavior and Processes of a Virus submitted by Becky Shimp is awarded $550; students will learn how viruses are transmitted, construct a 3-D model of a virus, research past virus outbreaks and write a personal essay on how the coronavirus has affected their lives and their families.

St. Jude Catholic School: Lego Education WeDo 2.0 Core Sets submitted by Jenny Brose and is awarded $1,000; the kits will provide 1st through 4th graders with a variety of STEM activities. 

St. Jude Catholic School: Prekindergarten Math Toolbox submitted by Heather Shane is awarded $1,000; will help develop an early love for math and an aptitude and comfort with this subject area.

St. Jude Catholic School: Pre-k Literacy Totes submitted by Juliann Stedwill is awarded $1,000; funds will purchase child-size plastic totes that will include early literacy materials that can be used in the classroom and taken home.

St. Jude Catholic School: Library Organization Project submitted by Margo Tony is awarded $1,000; will aid students in using the library by providing visual cues to the patterns and rules used to shelve books.

St. Thomas the Apostle School: Motivating Music Makers submitted by Philip Holt and is awarded $1,000; the project will provide students with more musical instruments for use in their music studies.

St. Mary's of Kickapoo School: Outdoor Classroom submitted by Josette Baumann and is awarded $1,000; the goal is to further advance an outdoor classroom area.

St. Patrick’s School Catholic School: A Dystopian Society submitted by Cassandra Smith is awarded $371; students will build an understanding of the dystopian genre by reading, creating, interacting, and researching.

St. Philomena Catholic School: Are All Bird Muscles the Same? submitted by Susan Tony is awarded $400; funding will allow students to observe the structure, function and diversity of the muscles found in birds. 

Tremont Elementary School: Keyboard Conundrum submitted by Ashley Ferguson and is awarded $1,000; will allow students to practice their keyboarding skills.

Tremont High School: Microscopes for Active Inquiry submitted by Claire Fink and is awarded $1,000; microscopes will allow students to actively participate in scientific and agricultural concepts.

Tremont High School: Life Skills Classroom Enhancements submitted by Michelle McKune is awarded $1,000; the special education life skills classroom will benefit from the addition of everyday appliances and household items to enhance the learning experiences of students enrolled in independent living coursework.

Tremont Middle School: Healthy Heart Fitness submitted by Heather Kusk and is awarded $1,000; “Healthy Heart Fitness” is an initiative to incorporate more technology into the fitness program. 

Tremont Middle School: Tin Can Robots submitted by Heather Rice is awarded $1,000; Tin Can Robots is an engaging activity for eighth grade students to demonstrate an understanding of systematically programming a robot. 

Tremont Middle School: Incorporating STEM in Math Education submitted by Steve Verdun is awarded $1,000; funds will increase student interest and retention of mathematical processes by creating a practical and fun application of the mathematical and scientific concepts.

Trewyn Therapeutic Program at Manual High School: Food Chemistry…How Will Your Body Respond to That Mountain Dew? submitted by Cheryl Halm and is awarded $705; this project will teach students to distinguish what fuels their bodies and what is required in order to develop a smart brain and a strong body. 

Washington Community High School: Cricut Maker Manipulatives submitted by Amanda Lemm is awarded $930; with a Cricut Maker, students will be able to design and create a 3D model of an atom, then cut it out of balsa wood and assemble it.

Whittier Primary: Whittier Worthwhile Projects by Denise Fritsch and is awarded $1,000; materials for a creative project will be used to engage students directly and actively through art.

Wilder-Waite Elementary School: QuickReads Research- Based Fluency Development Program submitted by Nicole Hirsch and is awarded $871; the goal is to enhance the classroom academic environment by implementing a research-based approach to fluency development called QuickReads.

Willow Primary School: Writing Tools and a Calming Classroom Corner for My Autistic Students submitted by Monica Jacobs and is awarded $869; assistance with narrative writing, opinion writing and informational writing, and a space for students to gather themselves and self-regulate within the classroom. PS

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