CUSF Starts the School Year Off By Awarding Two Collaborative Grants

Teachers from Urbana District 116 and Champaign Unit 4 will be working together on two projects this school year, thanks to $8,000 in grants from the CU Schools Foundation.  The grant awards which will benefit 250 students, were announced on Tuesday morning as both school districts prepare to open their doors.

A proposal titled CREATING SUSTAINABLE NUTRITION THROUGH EDUCATION COLLABORATIVE GRANT brings together 100 students from Urbana High School and Edison Middle School to build solar distillation units, harvest water IMG_5184 (1)and make it potable for consumption, plant seeds, test soil, create Farm to Table menus and generate hands-on connections between scientific theory and practice. “This project will be the perfect working lab for my environmental science students and my animal and land science students.  Real world experiences are essential for understanding and honing problem solving skills,” shares Dr. Joni White, UHS Science and Ag Instructor.  Collaborating educators on this project are Edison Middle School teachers Julie Anders and Karen Easton; Urbana High School teachers Kris Sherrick, Becky Weber, Joni White, and Amanda (Perez) Rosser; and University of Illinois Agriculture Intern Maggie Maxstadt.

career awareness webThe second project—a Cross-District Career Awareness Grant titled, CAREER REALISM—is designed to help ninth and tenth graders research and explore careers they might not have considered, in high demand fields such as CULINARY SCIENCE, WELDING, HEALTH CARE, VETERINARY MEDICINE, CARPENTRY, ENGINEERING, CHILD DEVELOPMENT, and more. As part of this project, students and teachers will work together to organize a CAREER REALISM EVENT which will allow students to tour businesses related to their career areas of interest. The grant involves two school districts, three high schools, eight teachers, seven community partners and approximately 150 students.  Champaign Unit 4 teachers Brad Anderson, Robin Bidwell, Marc Changnon, and Dave Johnson are collaborating with Urbana District 116 teachers Pam Furrer, Amanda Perez, Kyle Thomas and Kris Sherrick on this project. This grant was made possible by a generous gift from James and Karen Sue McKechnie.

This is just the beginning of the grants CU Schools Foundation will award this school year. Compact and Competitive Grants will be awarded to teachers at the end of September as well as Gift of Music and Gift of Arts grants in November.  The mission of the Foundation is to build a stronger community by developing and supporting innovative programs to make all C-U public school students college/career ready. For more information call 217-398-2873 or contact Patricia Dessen, or Molly Delaney,