Awarded twice a year, District 39 Educational Foundation's Gripp Grants provide funds for educational programs and technologies meant to enrich the curricula of the district's school. Fitness, music and recess are among the areas being funded this fall.
Brain Games for Brain Fitness Day: This grant will be used to purchase special games for use in an innovative Wilmette Junior High School Brain Fitness Day in January 2012. The goal is to increase students’ understanding of how their brains function and how brain exercises can improve memory, problem solving, and understanding of complex concepts.
“The idea that you can train your brain, just as you can train any other muscle in your body, is a very timely global research topic,” said Wendy Irwin, the Foundation's Gripp Grant chair. “We are thrilled to be at the forefront of teaching children about the importance of developing the power of their own brains.”
Executive Functioning Library and Toolkit: McKenzie Elementary School psychologist Meg Kincaid will collect and analyze resources to help improve planning, organizing, self-monitoring and other skills that come under the umbrella of executive functioning. District 39 teachers will have access to an enhanced toolbox of interventions for students in all grades who are struggling with executive functioning issues.
Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet: Through this grant, Wilmette Junior High School and Highcrest Middle School band students will participate in a special concert, have the chance to work with a professional chamber ensemble in a master class and participate in interactive pieces.
FitnessGram: To further support our students’ physical fitness, a grant has been awarded to purchase the FitnessGram software package for multi-year fitness testing and tracking. This software will provide individualized feedback to students with follow-up suggestions targeting cardiovascular capacity, flexibility, and strength. This will allow students and teachers to set realistic fitness goals and measure their progress.
Run, Jump, and Toss the ABC’s!: Harper kindergarten students will enjoy a variety of age appropriate play materials that will enhance and enrich their recess time. These materials and games will provide new opportunities for integrative play and gross-motor skill development. There are also games designed to integrate special needs children into group activities.
Classroom iPads for First Grade: Romona Elementary School teacher Jenny Seed will purchase six iPads and apps to be used as one of the classroom’s activity centers, allowing for differentiated reading and math practice.
“We were very impressed with the breadth and depth of the grant applications we received this fall, said Laurie Cavalier, chair of the District 39 Educational Foundation. "We’re pleased to be able to fund innovative initiatives and to continually enhance the educational experience for the children in our schools."
Any individual or organization can apply for a Gripp Grant. The deadline for Spring 2012 applications is Feb. 15. For more information visit http://www.wilmette39.org/d39foundation/gripp-grants.html