Foundation Funds At Work At Carleton Washburne

Calling All Amoebas

New state-of-the-art digital microscopes will be used by all 7th and 8th grade Washburne students.  Teachers can fully engage students with group demonstrations and image sharing through the new microscopes’ superior image magnification and advanced digital capacity.  Students will easily be able to export images to their digital lab notebooks for viewing later or at home. The new microscopes further support the curriculum implementation in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. (Grant Recipient: John Pappas, Carleton Washburne School)

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Civil War Day...Making history come alive since 1996!

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Ever since Washburne history teachers applied for Foundation funding to bring a large group of Civil War re-enactors to the school, the annual Civil War history lessons have come alive for seventh graders. Held annually, regardless of weather, Civil War Day is a highlight of the Washburne school calendar. Held at Crow Island Woods, students learn about battlefield tactics in the 1860s, witness the firing of a canon, see a demonstration of 1860’s-era photography, learn what medical practices were like on and off the battlefield, and participate in a game of Capture the Flag,.

Students listen as a re-enactor discusses battlefield tactics and artillery.

Students listen as a re-enactor discusses battlefield tactics and artillery.

Other Examples of Past WPSF Grants

23 and Me – Moving Beyond Mendel’s Peas

23 and Me kits were purchased through a WPSF grant and are used to elevate genetics education through an analysis of the DNA of the Washburne science teachers. This hands-on analysis makes the process of learning about DNA far more exciting and personal than reading about it in a book.

“Each of the Washburne science teachers submitted their DNA for evaluation using the 23 and Me kits. Based on the results, we revised the 7th grade genetics curriculum to improve our students’ understanding of current technologies and scientific discoveries in the field of genetics. Students will learn more about the human genome and its role as a blueprint for individuals through the analysis of our DNA.” – Emily Berna, Carleton Washburne School

(Grant recipients: Emily Berna, Dave Cooper, Emily Keeter, John Pappas and Jesse Semeyn)

“Flipped Classroom” allows mastery and individual progress in Science curriculum

During the 2012-13 school year, Washburne Science teachers Emily Berna, John Pappas and Jesse Semeyn began to imagine a bold new initiative for their seventh and eighth grade students in which instruction and lab experiments would be “flipped”, allowing students to learn material through homework videos, and then reinforce that learning the next day through class lab work. After receiving a two-year Foundation grant, these teachers worked to record a full year’s worth of lecture videos, then met with a pioneer in this field whose data shows the improved impact of teaching in this way. Rolled out to students during the 2013-14 school year, and further refined during 2014-15, the Washburne science teachers stand poised to incorporate this model as a way to improve individual mastery of key science concepts. 

A student watches a science video in the “flipped classroom” model.

A student watches a science video in the “flipped classroom” model.

Froguts Subscription

The seventh grade science curriculum covers anatomy and physiology and, as a result, students dissect frogs, squid, and cow eyes. These experiences are supported and supplemented with computer software through a subscription to, a website that offers software modules to enhance the dissection experience. This subscription is provided by a Foundation grant. Continued access to this website allows for high quality reinforcement and review. It also provides a “virtual experience” for students needing extra help or for those struggling with the dissection process.

Artist in Residence

  • John Leary, French chef working with French classes, adding cultural enrichment to academic environment
  • Latin Dancers, program for all Spanish students, added a cultural kinesthetic activity to World Language curriculum
  • Tom James, SS/LA project, worked with students to help them use art to articulate and express interdisciplinary projects
  • Thousand Waves, SEL assembly for all students
  • Timuel Black Jr., veteran Civil Rights worker spoke about his experiences in Chicago and the Deep South
  • Sidney S. Finkel, Holocaust survivor and speaker for all Social Studies classes

Leadership and Team Building (Social Emotional Learning)

  • Advisory Consultant Rachel Poliner, brought in to work with Advisory Committee
  • SEL committee work over the summers
  • Do Your P’Art, in which Winnetka students work with students from a different Chicagoland setting around an art project