Stories of Impact

Stories of Impact

Making a difference in our schools.

Since 1990, CU Schools Foundation has accepted applications from educators in the Champaign and Urbana public schools, and awarded MORE THAN A MILLION DOLLARS based on these proposals. We fund a broad spectrum of projects to help children of all ages and all levels of accomplishment. The benefits of these projects continue long after the initial investment.

“When the community supports the CU Schools Foundation, they are investing in learning resources for C-U students that launch them from the classroom into authentic learning that can be carried into real-life careers.”

Laura Hlinka and Janice Hari
Urbana Middle School

Tackling real world challenges

This fall, as part of our latest COLLABORATIVE GRANT, students from Edison Middle School and Urbana High School joined forces to plant crops, dig a pond, test soil, build solar distillation units, harvest water and make it potable for consumption, create Farm-to-Table menus and generate hands-on connections between scientific theory and practice.

“There are lots of jobs here, and it makes it easier to be part of a team.”

Edison Middle School student

“This project is the perfect working lab for my environmental science students and my animal and land science students'” says Dr. Joni White, UHS Science and Agriculture teacher. “Real world experiences are essential for understanding and honing problem solving skills.”


Engaging students through the arts

Cara Maurizi, a music teacher at King Elementary in Urbana, and Lisa Ferguson, a first grade teacher at the same school, believe the arts are essential to education. The two teamed up on a grant proposal to connect Next Generation Science Standards with the arts. They developed lessons in five subject areas, and each lesson fuses art, literacy and science.


Exploring careers

Career Realism is a new project designed to help ninth and tenth graders research and explore careers they might not have considered in high demand fields such as culinary science, veterinary medicine, engineering, carpentry, child development and more.

In November, more than 130 students from Centennial, Central and Urbana High Schools toured businesses related to their career areas of interest.  


Developing skills

Centennial High School art teacher Stacey Gross wanted to provide her AP Studio Art students with the opportunity to learn a range of printmaking skills, so she applied for an I.D.E.A. Grant from Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. With funding from the grant she was able to take her students on a field trip to the Nobel Ink Laboratory on the University of Illinois campus.


Taking additional steps

Bradley Brenner, a physical education teacher at Wiley Elementary includes pedometers activities in his gym class, thanks to a Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation I.D.E.A. Grant. Brenner wears a pedometer daily and says it encourages him to take more steps. He believes pedometers persuade students to stay active by giving them a concrete goal to achieve.


Broadening worlds

When Abby Heras submitted her Gift of Music grant proposal to CU Schools Foundation last fall, her goal was to introduce students at International Prep Academy (IPA) to traditional mariachi music and increase the materials in the school’s music library. But the impact of her GLOBAL FOLKS project extended far beyond those goals.


More Stories of Impact

Exploring Engineering
Standing Up for Learning

Creating Biologists

Observing Owls
Fostering Collaboration
Creating Engineers at Prairie

Preparing Students for Life

Urbana School District #116 News

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    by jgeigner on October 16, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Urbana Middle School staff and students in conjunction with Puerto Rico Rises (Champaign) are holding a donation drive for the People of Puerto Rico from Monday, October 16 through Friday, October 20. UMS Dual Language teacher Darienne Ciuro-Sanchez said the donations can be dropped off at the Urbana Middle School Main Office.  Donated items will […]

Champaign Unit 4 Schools News

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    by grothly on October 13, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Champaign Unit 4 School District is committed to student and staff safety. As part of this commitment, and in compliance with new state law, Champaign Unit 4 […]