Grant recipients were recognized during District 61’s annual Teachers’ Institute to launch the new school year. Also pictured are Darien District 61 Educational Foundation board members Asma Akhras (left), Kris Sant (back row, left) and Barbara Finnegan (right).

Foundation Awards Three Teacher Grants for 2011-12 School Year

This school year, students in Darien District 61 will be reaching for the stars. And they’re getting some extra help from the community.

The Darien District 61 Educational Foundation has awarded three grants worth a total of more than $5,400 to teams of teachers at Mark DeLay School and Lace School, all designed to help students become stellar readers. Funds will be used to purchase books, educational toolkits and other resources to support the new programs.

This year’s grants were awarded Aug. 22 during District 61’s annual Teachers’ Institute at Eisenhower Junior High marking the kickoff of the new school year.

Grant recipients for the 2011-2012 school year are:

  • Bonnie Bucholz and Michelle Greco, third-grade teachers at Lace School, for an after-school program dubbed “Reading with the Stars!”—designed to engage students who already know how to read but don’t show much interest in doing so. Once a month, an invited teacher or staff member–the “Star Reader”–will introduce a favorite book, explain why the book is special, and read passages aloud to the students. The program also includes fun activities that will allow students to be the first ones to read the “Star Reader’s” favorite book.
  • Emily Becker and the Lace School third-grade team for a project titled “Raising Student Reading Achievement,” that will provide extra interventions to help English Language Learners and struggling readers. The program aims to improve comprehension with a wide variety of books and other materials that meet each student at their individual reading levels.
  • Lisa Smith and Kristin Shell, second-grade teachers at Mark DeLay, along with reading specialists Cindy Folkens and Jane Moss, will lead a program that will add science-related books to the “leveled library” at Mark DeLay–permanent additions for students at all reading levels that will help supplement the kindergarten, first- and second-grade science curriculum while at the same time helping students learn to read and love to read.

“On behalf of the Darien District 61 Educational Foundation’s board of directors, it gives me great pleasure to be able to present these grants that will help fund new and innovative programs that directly benefit students,” said board chair Barbara Finnegan.” Of course none of this would be possible without support from the community.”

The grants for the new school year are only the second annual round of education funding from the Darien District 61 Educational Foundation. Last year the Foundation awarded two grants worth a total of $1,000.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help the Foundation continue to fund additional programs for District 61 students in the years to come. For more information, click here.