In 2018, Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation provided nearly $64,000 to support 84 projects involving 108 teachers and 10,825 public school students.


Read more about the grant recepients:

2018 Collaborative Grant Recipient

Sensory Opportunities for All submitted by Stratton Elementary teacher Brittany Burzinski and Yankee Ridge Elementary teacher Nate Wahl will provide all K-5 classrooms at Stratton and Yankee Ridge with a variety of sensory materials to help students in both general and special education classes learn how to self-regulate sensory stimuli, reduce negative behaviors, and increase student attention and focus in the classroom. Partners from The Autism Program at the University of Illinois will train all teachers and staff in how to utilize these sensory materials in their classrooms. The concept of using sensory materials to assist students in learning is not a completely innovative concept, however, providing this opportunity to all staff and students in a general education setting is has not been done in either district.

2018 Compact Grant Recipients

Creating Mosaics submitted by Suzanne Berkes at Franklin Middle School. Funds provide building materials (clay, glaze and mortar) to create tile mosaics.

Word Books for Non-Verbal Students submitted by Andrea Burie from Robeson and Stratton Elementary Schools. Funds provide core word books for low and non-verbal students.

Scholastic Magazine in Spanish submitted by Dania Cantoral at Urbana Middle School. Funds provide a classroom subscription to Spanish Scholastic magazine for dual language learners.

Manipulatives and Supplies submitted by Johnna Dunne at Stratton Elementary School. Funds used to purchase manipulatives and supplies for students with disabilities.

Bouncy Bands submitted by Rebecca Fundator at Centennial High School. Funds used to purchase bouncy bands to allow students who need to move to not distract others.

Electronic Writing Tool submitted by Sandra Giger at Westview Elementary School. Funds used to provide electronic writing tools for ESL students.

Bouncy Bands submitted by Jorie Grande at Centennial High School. Funds used to purchase bouncy bands to allow students who need to move to not distract others.

Science and Stories submitted by Candace Gwin at Westview Elementary School. Funds used to purchase science and story magazine subscriptions.

Building Supplies submitted by Lisa Hoewing. Funds provide building supplies and storage bins for classroom activities.

Readers for English Language Learners submitted by Isimemen Ihien at Centennial High School. Funds used to purchase high interest and engaging books for ESL students.

E-writing Tools submitted by Amanda Klousnitzer-Hutchens at Leal Elementary. Funds used to purchase e-writers for students learning cursive writing.

Early Literacy submitted by Elise Kopmann at Urbana Early Childhood. Funds used to purchase core word exchange system books for low to non-verbal students.

Peace and Focus submitted by Michael Leonard at Jefferson Middle School. Funds to purchase headphones for students to listen quietly to audio recordings.

ABC Manipulatives submitted by Mary Linnenburger at Champaign Early Childhood. Funds used to purchase alphabet manipulatives and learning supplies.

Manipulatives and Supplies submitted by Melissa Luffman. Provides funds for manipulatives and supplies for students with disabilities.

French Dual Language submitted by Danielle Mallett at Stratton Elementary School. Funds used to purchase French dual language books.

Let’s Count submitted by Leslie Martin at Dr. Howard Elementary School. Funds used to purchase math counting frames to improve basic math skills and confidence.

Basic Gross Motor Skills submitted by Renee McElwain at Urbana Early Childhood and King Elementary Schools. Funds used to purchase balance beam, stepping stones, and hopscotch carpet for 3-5-year-old motor development.

Coding Games and Robots submitted by Kate McLean at Wiley Elementary School. Funds will be used for coding games, snap circuits, programmable robots and VR headset to expand STEAM and maker opportunities.

Legos submitted by Lisa Mosely at Westview Elementary School. Funds Lego kits for students.

Portrait Service Learning submitted by Shannon Percoco at Centennial High School. Funds used for an art portrait service learning project.

Crash Pad submitted by Tania Swigart at Champaign Early Childhood. Provides funds for a crash pad for students who need a sensory break when overwhelmed.

Books and Supplies submitted by Mabinty Tarawallaie at Edison Middle School. Funds used to purchase books and reading supplies for various ESL language students.

Printer for Beautiful Art submitted by Roberta Westerman at Urbana High School. Funds used to purchase a printer and art prints for classroom.

Wiggly Students submitted by Jaime Williams at Dr. Williams Elementary School. Provides funds for Chair balls and Wobble chairs for wiggly students.

Puzzles and More submitted by Amy Woodward at Champaign Early Childhood. Funds used to purchase puzzles, books and figurines from diverse families to help children explore other cultures.

Libros en Español submitted by Michelle Nava at Dr. Williams Elementary School. Funds used to purchase Spanish language books for dual language learners.

Toys for Evaluation and Engagement submitted by Heather Ochs at Champaign Early Childhood. Funds used to purchase toys for evaluation and engagement of 3-5-year old’s.

2018 Competitive Grant Recipients

Historians Stepping Back in Time submitted by Shirley Alonzo and Stephanie Wilson at Stratton Elementary School. All 3rd grade student immersion experience at the Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site to better understand the historical significance and impact of our 16th President.

Game on! Arcade Electronics in STEAM submitted by Heidi Bjerke at Jefferson Middle School. This project will have students engaged in electronics and coding with electronic game kits.

Sustainability Throughout our School submitted by Maggie Byrne and Erin Anderson at Dr. Williams Elementary School. Funds to purchase materials for several compost bins and reusable utensils for use in building environmentally friendly processes at school.

Student Playwright Outreach Theater submitted by Abby Crull from Westview Elementary. 3-4 grade students will write personal narratives and in collaboration with the U of I Theater Department, these writings will be transformed into mini plays to be produced for the students to view in person at Krannert Center in the spring of 2019.

Musical Coaching and Excellence submitted by Tamra Gingold from Urbana High School and Jimm Wood at Urbana Middle School. Orchestra students will get the opportunity to be coached by string professional within the community, and will learn challenging and significant musical pieces to perform at a prestigious local venue in the spring as a culminating event.

Spanish Mentor Texts submitted by Rachel Gray and Olga Halpren from International Prep Academy. Funds will be used to purchase Spanish mentor texts for writing in English and Spanish for dual language learners.

Reading with Interest submitted by Clair Irwin at Booker T. Washington School. Students love graphic novels, and this school’s collection needs a boost. Funds will be used to purchase graphic novels to grow the library collection.

Sew What?! submitted by Amy Johnson at Westview Elementary School. 4-5 grade students will design a creature and create a pattern for hand sewing to create a “stuffie” or soft sculpture of their design. Students will write a story that describes the creature and its habitat. Funds will be used to purchase materials for all 4-5 graders to learn basic sewing techniques as they conceptualize, produce and tell the story of their creature.

Celebrating American Traditional Holidays with the Multi-lingual & Multi-cultural Students submitted by Jenna Ko at Westview Elementary. The ESL team will help students learn about American holiday traditions and then cook a holiday meal with the students to share with their families. The Ginger Bread man stories will be used to guide a gingerbread house activity in December with students and families.

Dancing Our Way to Body Image Celebration submitted by Illyanna Lopez and Mark Butler from Jefferson Middle School. Funds will be used to purchase portable mirrors for dance students to practice their stepping and build self-confidence in their skills and enhanced body image. Mirrors will also be used for various physical education activities as well.

21st Century Technology submitted by Jillian Love from Urbana Adult Education. This project funds technology upgrades for a projector, document camera and laptop for Adult Education classroom use.

Chargers Do Science submitted by Jill McLean and Mindy Waters from Centennial High School. Funds will be used to create science challenges for students to do science more extensively than is possible with the regular curriculum budget. Making soap, rocket kit building, and building a chair capable of holding a person with only newspapers and masking tape are some projects planned.

Connecting Home and School submitted by Heidi Meisner from Urbana Early Childhood. Funds will be used to purchase multi-cultural play-based learning materials including dramatic play dolls and funds to make tortillas in school.

Breakout Box Kits submitted by Tara Olsen from Wiley and Thomas Paine and Karla Schroeder from Thomas Paine and ML King elementary schools. Funds will purchase materials for the very popular breakout boxes where students apply academic skills to solve challenges to open the boxes.

A Look Back at 1968 submitted by Shannon Percoco and Josh Doniek from Centennial High School. Funds will be used for student visits to the Museum of the Grand Prairie to view the exhibit 1968: A Time for Every Purpose highlighting the experiences of the people of Champaign County in this tumultuous year. Students will create visual and musical responses to this exhibit and present their work at the Boneyard Arts Festival in April.

Global Perspectives: Origins, Identity and Inclusion submitted by Starra Priestaf from Yankee Ridge Elementary School. This project help deepen the dual language experience by bringing together a diverse group of students to explore how their place of origin, first language, and home culture impact the classroom experience. Funds will be used purchase microphones and composition books, digital storage maps, and printing supplies so students can explore their place in the microcosm of their own school.

STEAM Town submitted by Laura Retallick and Gay Cabutti from Carrie Busey Elementary School. Funds will be used for building and coding kits for electronics, robotics and engineering.

Cow Eye Dissection submitted by Brian Rosten and Amy Wise from Franklin Middle School. Funds will be used to purchase dissection kits for cow eye dissection.

Lisons! Let’s Read submitted by Jamie Schrader from Central High School. Funds will be used to purchase French language readers to expose students to authentic readers and books written by native speakers for native speakers.

Building Bridges to Family Literacy submitted by Kim Tate from International Prep Academy. Funds will be used to purchase digital recorders, books and writing supplies so dual language students can interview significant family members and create digital presentations as well as written bilingual biographies to be shared at all school “Family Night”.

Spanish Readers for Level One submitted by Megan Wallenius from Jefferson Middle School. Funds will be used to purchase novice books for Spanish foreign language students.

High Interest Chinese Reading Collection submitted by Amy Webb from ML King Elementary School. Chinese students at King often speak little or no English. Funds will be used to purchase books written in Chinese for the library collection.

Play-Based Social Learning submitted by Becky Williams from Dr. Howard, and Nikki Howrey from Yankee Ridge Elementary School. Funds will be used to purchase play-based learning materials for each classroom so that kindergartners can create social stories to share with each other and their families. Stories will be shared though photos in the modern-day “pen-pal” approach. A final field trip to the Decatur Children’s Museum will allow students, and families to interact and practice their social emotional skills in person.

Creating Scientists and Engineers submitted by Francinna Wright and Krysta Nix from Urbana Early Childhood. Funds will be used to purchase science and building materials for STEAM learning activities.

2018 Vincent O. Greene Recipients

Making Money Easy submitted by Anne Bryce-Cotes and Elizabeth Harris from Stratton Elementary School. Funds will be used to purchase Osmo game applications and iPads to use in the rotating Math Center that all students access daily. Students in 1st and 2nd grade classrooms will be able to practice money skills through different games and manipulatives. The applications track student progress so teachers will be able to identify mastery or need for enhanced instruction on basic math skills.

Building a Business and Personal Finance Laboratory at UHS submitted by Brian McAndrew and Kristine Sherrick from Urbana High School. Urbana High School has been modeling a national trend as they build their own Personal Finance Lab. Besides providing student access to Personal Finance tools, the lab allows exploration of accounting, sport and entertainment marketing, and business entrepreneurship. Funds will be used to support the current phase of this lab which provides personal finance online video subscriptions for student use.

2018 Career Exploration Recipients

Exploring Health Careers submitted by Julie Norcross from Kenwood Elementary School. Sixty students in 2nd grade at Kenwood will be participating in 4-6 weeks of interdisciplinary study of health careers. Students will learn the five systems of the human body and simultaneously learn about the heath careers that are connected to these systems. Community professionals who work with each system will visit the classrooms to share their insights and answer student questions about “a day in the life of…”. Funds will be used to purchase microscopes and human body models for students to take apart and study. An end of the unit field trip is planned to a hospital so students can see the environment that health professionals work in.

Hot Rodders of Tomorrow submitted by David Charney from Urbana High School in partnership with Adam Karch from Parkland College. Urbana High School, Centennial High School and Central High School have CTE students committed to compete in a national challenge at the SEMA Show (Special Equipment Market Association. The competition requires students to disassemble and reassemble a Chevrolet V-8 engine in under 33 minutes. This local team has qualified for the national competition which allows student to network with business leaders and helps students gain awareness of potential career paths in the automotive industry. Funds will support the travel and expenses for these five students and instructors to participate in this completion.

2018 Gift of Music Recipients

Blues in the Schools submitted by Amber Owens from Bottenfield and Karrinsa Moline from South Side Elementary schools. Funds to support the intense study of Blues as an American musical art form. Prairie Crossroads Blues Society will make visits to 4-5 graders at both schools as well as visits from Gus Wood (UIUC department of history). These exposures will initiate a month-long blues unit where students will focus on guitar and recorder playing. “Blues in the Schools” culminating event will be a K-5 assembly where students perform alongside professional blues performer Andy Duncanson for local blues band Kilborn Alley.

Artist in Residence submitted by Marian Wyatt from Centennial High School. Funds will be used to bring Laurence Hobgood, Urbana native currently in New York, NY with a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album to Centennial High School in early February. All 4 Centennial choirs will work with the guest artist over a three-day period to perform vocal jazz selections, followed by a culminating performance on February 7th.

Instruments for Orchestra submitted by Curtis Viselli from Edison, Bottenfield and Westview schools. Funds to support purchase of violas and cello for student use.

Adventures in the Windy City submitted by Emily Kuchenbrod from Kenwood Elementary School. Funds to support 70 5th grade students to travel to Chicago to see the musical The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson Musical based on the Percy Jackson novels by Rick Riordan. Students will prepare for the event by reading and interpreting the themes of the novel and becoming familiar with the elements of a Broadway production.

Gift of the Music grants are provided to K-12 schools in Unit 4

2018 Gift of the Fine Arts Recipients

Exploring Theater submitted by Lane Cannon-Gjerde from Dr. Williams Elementary School. Funds to support 70 4th grade students to attend a back-stage tour, career exposure to theater careers, and performance at Little Theater on the Square.

Inspired by Nature submitted by Rusty Clevenger from Dr. Williams Elementary School. Funds to support 50 5th grader students to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art (Newfields) to explore nature inspired works by artists such as Homer, O’Keefe and Hopper.

Joia Tubes for Joyus Students submitted by Megan Tipton from Yankee Ridge and Thomas Paine Elementary Schools. Funds to support music tubes and mallets for students of all abilities to participate during music classes.

Behind the Scenes at KCPA submitted by Martha Churukian from Dr. Williams Elementary School. Funds to support 70 5th grade students to take a backstage tour of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to learn about the various professions that work behind the scenes to put on a production.

Gift of the Fine Arts Grants are provided to K-5 schools in District 116

2018 Houston Book Fund Recipients

  • Rusty Clevenger Dr. Williams Elementary School
  • Jeanette Delgado Dr. Williams Elementary School
  • Karina Diaz Dr. Williams and Leal Elementary School
  • Kara Downs Centennial High School
  • Sherry Gittens Dr. Williams Elementary School
  • Megan McGinty Leal Elementary School

Applicants submitted classroom book requests for up to $250 and were randomly drawn on Facebook Live 11/13/18 by Mayor Diane Marlin (Urbana) and Mayor Deb Feinen (Champaign)