The District 39 Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to investing in our children’s future. The Foundation’s community events provide funds for educational programs, experiences and technologies that expand, enrich and complement the schools’ curricula. The Foundation works to make an impact on the everyday educational experiences for D39 students.
For two decades, the Foundation’s Gripp Grant program has sought out creative ideas, donating more than $1 million to educators who propose programs, experiences and technologies that enrich or complement existing school curricula. Over the past 22 years, Gripp Grant awards have funded a broad range of priorities throughout D39 schools and the wider community. Recent awards include technology innovation, architecture and math programs, outdoor classrooms, fitness programs, reading initiatives, poets-in-residence, and prairie gardens. In 2005, two teachers at Wilmette Junior High School piloted the SmartBoard technology through a grant from the Foundation. The following year, the SmartBoards became the whiteboard standard in all mathematics classrooms at the school. Proceeds from the Foundation’s annual Trivia Night, fall fashion show “Attire to Inspire” and Bingo Night support the Foundation’s Gripp Grant program.
Jr. High Science Facility
Because the District’s budget only allows for the bricks and mortar and the basics needed to implement the new curriculum, in 2012 the Foundation committed to raising $110,000 over a two-year period. The Foundation is excited and proud to have reached and surpassed the goal in year two of the fundraising-effort! With the tremendous backing of the D39 community, the money raised will continue to support the new science curriculum that will accompany the renovated Science Labs at Wilmette Junior High. With help from the Foundation and their Inspiring Scientists Fund, teachers will be able to fully implement the experiential and hands-on activities to bring this curriculum to life.
In the fall of 2012, the District 39 Educational Foundation partnered with Wilmette District 39 to launch a version of the National Science Olympiad program. The Science Olympiad sets forth various academic challenges designed to stimulate a passion for learning science. Children have a natural affinity for science and this program seeks to nurture those interests in a fun and educational manner. The first D39 Science Olympiad was a variation of the national program, which typically includes a tournament component. 2012-13’s Highcrest version was non-competitive and focused instead on student learning and engagement. Now in its fourth year, the program offers a wider variety of courses to both Highcrest and WJHS students and the kids have an option to compete on the JV or Varsity competition teams.
Math in the Real World
In 2007, the District 39 Educational Foundation launched its Math & Science Initiative, designed to broaden students’ exposure to the wonders of math and science and bring to life the spirit of scientific inquiry and exploration. Math in the Real World, a unique Foundation series, was designed to bring home the concept that math matters in everyday life.