2008 Initiative Grants

The following Initiative Grants were funded by Winnetka Public Schools Foundation!

Crow Island

Reading for Fun With Sounds and Sight Words

This grant was used to add to the “A Friend’s Adventure” book series by creating practice books for particular sound and sight words that build upon the reading curriculum. These books allow children to use themselves as characters in the stories, as well as color the illustrations as they wish. This allows children to identify with and play an active role in reading books.

Math Problem Modification and Creation to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners Part II

Foundation funds were used to expand the modification of Exemplars Math problems for 3rd and 4th grade students. This work was combined with previous work to create a working file of Exemplar problems that all district upper elementary teachers can use.

New Lunch Program

For some students, the lunch hour can be a difficult portion of the school day. Social issues tend to carry over into the remainder of their day. Foundation funds were used to create a lunch program that is as developmentally-based and child-centered as the rest of our students' day. This new approach to how the lunch hour is structured better meets the needs of Crow Island students.

Leveled Reading Library

Book sets were purchased using the combination of an Illinois Textbook Loan and Foundation funds. This was in response to a grant which proposed to create a more user-friendly, leveled library for students and teachers alike. Students and teachers alike still benefit from this updated and organized library.


Puppet Theatre

Foundation funds were used to purchase a Puppet Theatre for Greeley. This project allows students to work on reading, storytelling, creative drama, and written expression skills while exploring and using puppets to act out plays. Students can focus on the elements of the story to create costumes, props, and sets for their final performance. The plays can be provided by teachers or groups of students working together, and can be presented to peers in settings that may include live or recorded performances.

Sensory Gym

A 'Sensory Gym' was purchased with Foundation funds to assist the growing number of students with sensory processing disorders. A 'Sensory Diet' (a plan of activities that support their ability to function within the school setting) was created using equipment to supplement and enhance the existing KW program. This enables targeted students to focus better in the classroom. Types of equipment purchased include a trampoline, swing support, special types of balls, and various other pertinent equipment.

Writer’s Workshop Mini-lessons

Funds from a Foundation grant were used to create developmentally appropriate mini-lessons that are reflective of the first grade child’s various levels of writing. These lessons are based upon the work of Ralph Fletcher and Lucy Calkins and are shared with first grade teachers across the district.

Rebuilding the Reading Curriculum – Part II

This grant was combined with the grant awarded in 2007 to create a reading curriculum that not only strengthens student skills, but also enriches their love of learning and reading through genre, authors, and unit studies. Meeting with an expert in the reading field helped teachers reach a deeper understanding of how books should be chosen and leveled. This new understanding was utilized to create lesson plans and book lists that are developmentally appropriate as well as leveled to meet the needs of all children. Much of the funding was used to purchase books to support this work.

Hubbard Woods

Marcy Cook Math Cards

Several staff attended a Marcy Cook conference and began an initial pilot of her materials in 2007. Ms. Cook is a nationally recognized mathematics specialist. This grant was used to build on that initial experience. K-4 Math Cards were purchased to enrich math curriculum at Hubbard Woods. These cards cover a variety of strands, with an emphasis on operations, place value, measurement, and number sense.

Data Management System

Numerous types of student data and information were collected and stored in different software programs. Foundation funds were granted to purchase a data management system that allows staff to combine the data from various sources and store it all in one database the district currently uses. This consolidation allows staff to document and track student progress more efficiently.

Strengthening Comprehension Strategies in Primary Grades Part II

Foundation funds were used to build on research and practical observation from a previous grant. Teachers continued working to refine the framework and activities that best fit current and future second grade students and would allow for greater success with reading comprehension. This work was shared with second grade teachers throughout the district.

Hubbard Woods/Crow Island

Xplorer SensorScience System

Students enjoy using science tools to explore their world. The Xplorer SensorScience system was used to help students collect, graph, and draw conclusions from data obtained in science class in meaningful and fun ways. Foundation funds allowed a class set of Dataloggers to be purchased to further student's learning and ability to draw conclusions.


The Patch

Foundation funds were used to purchase 'The Patch.' This equipment is specifically designed to enhance and compliment student well-being and muscular strength. It is used to bring a fun fitness component to the Skokie KW curriculum, while improving students’ cardiovascular and muscular systems, increasing flexibility, and helping to achieve the goal of complete well-being for children.

Printing Press

Foundation funds were used to purchase a small printing press to enhance the 5th and 6th grade art curriculum and to share new and innovative techniques. Students can use this printing press to explore mono-printing, a painting technique on plexi-glass; cardboard printing, a low-relief type plate created by cutting and pasting different levels of cardboard; and embossed printing, which is a white-on-white raised relief print.

Sensory Integration Through Crafts

The purpose of this grant was to help 5th grade special education students develop their fine motor skills, sensory integration, and social skills through craft projects such as, macramé, soap carvings, origami, and clay modeling. Foundation funds were used to purchase the necessary materials.

Exploring Energy With Toys

Using a variety of toys, students learn how they work and how energy is transferred in the toys. They then write an energy chain and learn the terms for the concepts discovered through connecting science to everyday objects. Foundation funds were used to purchase the necessary toys.

Service Learning Bookshelf

Foundation funds were used to purchase books on service. This has provided a rich resource for 5th grade students that will motivates and inspires them to act on service projects. The specific types of service learning that are focused on are environment, community, youth, elders, homeless, and health/disabilities.

Readers Unite!

Teachers read, summarized, and sorted numerous set books to determine the appropriate reading level, and to note specific elements or writer’s craft that are illustrated through reading the selection. An overview for each novel was written that highlights reading strategies as well as reading and writing connections that can be effectively practiced. The protagonist and antagonist of each book were also noted to allow teachers to make selections that provide gender balance.

Duplicating Equipment for Band – Part II

Foundation funds were used to purchase the remaining equipment from a previously-awarded grant, and to duplicate music for beginning band students to assist in at-home practice. Funds from this grant were also used to record rehearsals and concerts in order to share them with the students. This helps to build their analyzing skills and help them track their growth.


Bringing Technology to Self-Portrait Project

The self-portrait project is a well-received 8th grade art tradition. Unfortunately, the project had become difficult to complete due to outdated technology. Using Foundation funds, newer technology was purchased. This included high quality digital cameras and projectors to store digital images.

To Life!

As part of their 8th grade curriculum, Washburne students study World War II and the Holocaust. As part of this experience, they read Sevek and the Holocaust: The Boy Who Refused to Die. The main character of the novel, Sidney Finkel, lives in our area and graciously visits students to speak first-hand about his experiences. Social Studies and Language Arts staff work together to incorporate this program into the curriculum. Foundation funds were used to purchase 2 class sets of this book.

Promethean Boards

The Math Department Chair previously received a grant for the purchase of one Promethean Board. This grant allowed for the purchase of additional Boards for other math teachers at Washburne.The goal of this grant is to have an interactive white board in each math classroom because using these boards increases student engagement during class. The boards also make teaching easier because when questions are asked, previous drawings/problems are easily retrieved for reference. It is also easy for students who were not in attendance to view the class work that was missed.

Return to main Grants page, or Past Grants page, or for Foundation-initiated programs that have become integral to the curriculum, see the Programs page.