The start of the school year is an exciting time! Teachers prepare with renewed excitement and vision, as students reunite with classmates, eager for new challenges and connections. Creating excellent schools takes leadership, hard work and community support.
This is where YOU can help!
By pledging $1 a day (or more) your donation will support teacher innovation and creativity and help to elevate the excellence in Champaign and Urbana public schools. Invest alongside individuals and businesses who believe in our public schools and want to see teachers and students thriving in a supportive environment.
How your investment impacts the students!
1st graders in Ms. Erica Cooper-Peyton’s classroom at Dr. Preston Williams Jr. Elementary, Urbana
Ms. Cooper-Peyton says, “The CUSF IDEA grant allowed me to partner with the Urbana Park District’s Anita Purves Nature Center to bring live animals and hands-on science learning activities to my first-grade classroom. Many of my students had never seen wild animals up close. They were thrilled to touch snakes, explore with worms, cheer for racing turtles, and watch an owl rotate its head almost all the way around its body. These experiences really helped my students connect to, and with the natural world around them.”
Ms. Cooper-Peyton’s 1st graders said…
“I saw an owl. A real owl! In my classroom!” -AC
“I didn’t know turtles could be so fast! They can actually run, even the ones with only 3 legs.” -RB
“I always thought snakes were slimy and gross. Cornelia was soft and smooth. I liked when she went into Ms. Emily’s pocket!” -JB
Urbana High School and Middle School students under the direction of Joni White UHS Science teacher, and Katrina Reber UMS ELA teacher
Bring Back the Bees!
With the global honeybee decline widely documented, this project has real-world environmental benefits for our local area. White and Reber’s students researched, assembled and installed honey bees hives within walking distance of the school at a private residence this past fall. After transferring the bees into the new hives in May, students will be harvesting honey produced as they learn about sustainable nutrition through bee keeping!
2nd graders in Tiffany Blackmon’s classroom at Barkstall Elementary, Champaign
Ms. Tiffany Blackmon says, “The challenges the kids take part in are based on books that the class reads. The students used the LEGOs to create something they learned about in the books. They’ve gotten more creative as they begin to strategize and plan what they want to create. You really see engineering minds emerge—and I love to see them cooperating!”
Making Useful Things that Work!
Mr. Kyle Thomas says, “With the IDEA grant we were able to purchase a 3-in-1 sheet metal tool to teach sheet metal fabrication fundamentals to the Introduction to Industrial Technology class at Urbana High School. After building a prototype out of aluminum, the students built their own phone charger cases using sheet metal. Next year we plan to add sheet metal fabrication to our welding classes.”
Industrial Technology students at Urbana High School Teacher Kyle Thomas, UHS Industrial Technology Teacher