2015 Grant Recipients




Deerfield High School

Kindles: Putting the Digital Curriculum in Students’ Hands
As District 113 moves towards a digital curriculum, Kindles will provide students with greater access to critical and portable content for e-learning. The newest Kindle readers support both the Nook and Kindle platforms, allowing the DHS library to keep its current digital book content and add new content to a dynamic device that is compatible with the District’s policies and wi-fi configuration. Kindles also sync with the recently purchased library of digital content and audiobooks called Overdrive, which allows students to seamlessly check out books and audiobooks and download them directly to their own devices or a library-owned device. The library Kindles will be available for students and staff to check out just as they check out print books.

Marisa Fiorito & Laurie Williams

Diversity Leadership Program                                           
The goal of this program, which was developed as a four-year program, is to reduce the predictability and disproportionality of students who are in the highest and lowest achieving groups. Participants will include students of color, students from diverse ethnic groups, students whose first languages are not English, and first generation students. By the time a participant graduates, he or she will have visited four colleges, participated in four cultural field trips, developed leadership skills, and gained academic skills to succeed in a rigorous curriculum. This year’s experiences include a trip to DePaul University, a visit to the race exhibit at the Holocaust Museum, post-high-school planning activities, and a celebration of accomplishments.
Amy Bricker, Soo Lee, Marcellous Moore, Melissa Romero Williams, Elizabeth Robertson
Skype with Ji-Li Jiang, author of Red Scarf Girl                                                               
During second quarter, the World History Survey and Freshman English Survey Reading Collaboration Class will study China’s long history, culminating in the study of Ji-Li Jiang’s memoir of her life as a student at the time of the Cultural Revolution in China. By reading the book Red Scarf Girl, students connect historical and literary themes to experiences in their own lives, including peer pressure, bullying, the power of learning, and the importance of kindness and perseverance. Last year with Foundation support the classes were able to participate in a Skype session with Ji-Li Jiang, and will have the opportunity to do so again this winter through this grant.
Nikoletta Antonakos & Christine Saxman
Tech Warrior – Student Collaboration Prototype
The new DHS Tech Warrior student group proposed the purchase of a collaboration station for the Instructional Technology Office (Q123) at DHS. The key features of a collaboration station are a large screen from which all collaborators can easily work, and a computer video switching device that would allow any device to be projected to the large collaboration screen. The DHS library renovations slated for next summer will include the construction of three collaboration rooms, and the Tech Warriors will be helping to explore how best to use those spaces. The purpose of the collaboration station in Q123 is to 1) build capacity in staff and students to use 21st century collaboration skills in advance of making these kinds of stations more readily available and accessible in the library and possibly other areas, 2) to evaluate the kinds of hardware and software needed to support this kind of collaboration and work environment and 3) to encourage the growth and participation of the Tech Warrior student group.
Joe Taylor
TI-Nspire CAS App Installation on the Science/Math Shared iPads
This grant will fund the installation of the TI Nspire CAS app onto a set of 30 I Pads that recently have been deployed to the math and science departments at DHS. The goal is to provide teachers with an alternative tool for delivering instruction, allowing students to do work with the app that is otherwise difficult to do with the handheld equivalent. The TI Nspire CAS is a highly advanced handheld graphing calculator/computer being widely used at DHS and HPHS.
Steve Svetlik
Using Vernier Spectrometers to Measure Transmittance, Absorbance, ConcentrationSpectrometers are used to determine absorption, transmittance and concentration. This grant will fund the purchase of six Vernier devices to replace the school’s single spectrometer, which is more than 20 years old and shared among all of the classes and teachers in the department. Chemistry, biology, physics and earth science classes all learn concepts for which these devices may be used. Labs can include determining the concentration of food dye in a colored beverage or the quantity of copper in a penny or other alloy sample. These labs and the use of such high-tech equipment supports the emphasis on STEM careers and the incorporation of Next Generation Science Standards. Koren Plata
Writing Our Stories: Linking Our Lives to Our Studies                                      
The American Studies class at DHS continually asks students to explore the ways in which the literature, documents, historical events and ideas we study impacts and affects their lives, and how their personal stories shape their understanding of those texts. Students read a variety of perspectives and maintain a journal of their reflections. The culminating event is a final essay that is both personal and analytic. For the past few years, Kevin Coval – a spoken-word poet and founder of Louder Than a Bomb, the country’s largest youth poetry festival – has visited the classroom to aid in and enhance this process. Kevin guides the students through writing exercises and inspires students to share their personal voices. This grant will allow DHS to bring Kevin Coval to the American Studies class for two hours in spring.
Neil Rigler & Ken Kramer

Highland Park High School

De Padre a Estudiante – Social-Emotional Series                                      
The goal of the De Padre a Estudiante program at HPHS is to provide a social-emotional program for Latino parents. Throughout the school year, 12-15 workshops are offered on a variety of topics such as navigating the American educational system, navigating the college process, and providing social-emotional support to students and parents. With this grant, De Padre a Estudiante will bring bilingual and cultural therapist Gabriela Levya to the last four sessions of the school year to discuss social-emotional topics.
Charo Mendoza
Digital Cameras and the Disappearing Darkroom
This grant will fund the purchase of DSLR cameras to support the digital photography curriculum at HPHS. As the C building will be demolished and Fine Arts classes will be housed in temporary locations, it is likely that the classes will have a limited and/or non-existent darkroom for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. This will increase the need/demand for digital photography and digital cameras. The program currently shares 8 DSLR cameras among all classes; with an increase in the number available, students will have more opportunities to shoot photos and learn about the camera, become more creative, flexible and innovative in their work, and gain time to shoot images and manipulate, print and present their work.
Blake Novotny
Focus on the Arts Special Education Workshops                
Focus on the Arts is a three-day and four-night biennial arts festival held at Highland Park High School whose mission is to increase appreciation and global understanding of the arts and of the professionals engaged in them. The event immerses the HPHS students and adult community in a celebration of the fine arts: visual arts, architecture, creative writing, dance, drama, media and music by presenting, free of charge, educational experiences of the highest quality. This grant will fund interactive daytime workshops in music, dance, drama and art designed especially for HPHS students in the English as a Second Language and Essentials classes. For students who often struggle with academic tasks, sensory integration and emotional regulation, opportunities within the arts provide an avenue for success. These special workshops will allow these students the opportunity to participate fully in Focus; during the rest of the periods, they will have the option to participate in some of the other workshops and performances.
Jody Weinberg
Food Deserts in Chicago—The Mobile App Project
In an effort to engage more students in STEM, HPHS offers an introductory Computer Applications course, in which students are asked to address a real need in the community while learning how to code and build an application (app). During the 2014-15 school year these students already are learning how to code a website and build mobile applications. For this particular project, students will build a mobile app using GPS sensors on a mobile device funded by the grant that can be used to identify the location of healthy food stores in “food deserts.” The capstone of the project will occur when students take a field trip to a researched food desert and a participating grocery store to test their applications with the grant-funded mobile device. Sunset Foods has agreed to partner with HPHS on this project, and the field trip is planned around two of their locations.
Deborah Wilson
Giant Pride Points
The White and Blue Crazy Crew is a new student-generated/led group with the goal of bringing students together to attend extra-curriculars at HPHS. The leadership team will be designating specific events for students to gather together and attend, with the goal of increasing student engagement. The Student Activities Department is creating momentum by awarding Giant Pride Points for event attendance, as well as membership in a team, club, or performance group. Points also will be awarded for each week of perfect attendance. The grant will help to fund scanners and handheld devices for point tracking, and allow staff to see who is (and is not) making a connection to school via extra-curricular activities. Studies have shown that being involved in extracurriculars boosts academic performance, reduces dropout rates, builds social and emotional skills, reduces high-risk behaviors, and ultimately leads to college and career success.
Lesa Friedrich
HP3: Soul, Salsa, Spirit   
This grant will allow HP3 to continue to further its goals of striving towards the creation of a more inclusive and equitable school environment and community, improving cross-cultural competence, and having courageous conversations about race and equity. The funds will support three HP3 traditions: Two 24-hour lock-ins and the three-day/two-night retreat at Heller Nature Center, as well as field trip opportunities that arise. Participation in activities relating to culture, race and equity are intrinsic parts of this club, and past field trip opportunities funded by this grant have included World Peace Day in Bartlett and a film screening of Cracking the Code. Large numbers of the HP3 students are from military families, and HP3 has a reputation of being a welcoming, flexible and supportive home base for students who are new to the community and may move on quickly. While HP3 enthusiastically welcomes students from all demographics, historically participation has been primarily by students of color.
Mary Pike
HPHS Recording Project
The HPHS Recording Project will focus on incorporating the use of professional-level recording equipment into the HPHS band, choir, orchestra, theater and jazz programs. Teachers will record student concerts, after which students will be able to listen to and analyze the recordings. Students also will learn to use the technology by recording the performances of other ensembles, and they can use the equipment to record individual audition material for college or outside musical opportunities. Additionally, teachers will be able to create a reference library of recordings of concerts, preserving the history of the HPHS music department.
Josh Chodoroff
This grant will start a music therapy program for students with special needs. According to the American Music Therapy Association, “music therapy interventions can address development in cognitive, behavioral, physical, emotional and social skills. Music therapy can also facilitate development in communication and sensorimotor skills.” Students in the special education population with severe to moderate disabilities will benefit from the class by providing an opportunity to socialize with peers in an activity that is motivating and fits their needs. Music therapy can be a mode of communication for non-verbal students. It provides a connection between speech and singing, rhythm and motor behavior, memory for songs and academic materials. It also allows students to be exposed to music genres and broaden their interest in multiple types of leisure activities.
Elizabeth Martin
Reverse Classroom Material Development
This grant will be used to further efforts to “flip” the Freshman Physics class at HPHS. In a “flipped” class, students spend time at home absorbing information through online lecture, and then come to class and practice their skills collaboratively. This grant would facilitate the development, organization, publishing and maintaining of these lectures for the benefit of all students at HPHS.
Aaron Fay


Understanding School Refusal and School Avoidance: Supporting Students
This grant would allow the Special Education Department at HPHS to bring in a speaker from Alexian Brothers Hospital, which runs a treatment program for students with school refusal and school avoidance. This is an issue that impacts several students in the HPHS community, and counselors, teachers and special education staff need additional training and support to better meet these students’ needs. This session will provide staff with a better understanding of this issue and enable them to problem-solve to create effective interventions and supports. In addition, a greater understanding may help teachers to be proactive in their approach and prevent some of these students from reaching the critical point where they no longer attend school.
Lisa Murphy & Judy Gutwillig