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Foundation Awards Two Spring Gripp Grants Totaling $15,519


Two Spring Gripp Grants totaling $15,519 were awarded to 12 teachers across all four elementary schools and will benefit students from our earliest learners in the Lechner Early Education Program (LEEP) through fourth grade. The grants address both the need for kids to move their bodies in new and innovative ways, as well as to learn and practice literacy in the digital world.

Railyard Fitness System Gripp Grant

The D39 Educational Foundation is excited to award a grant to the Elementary PE Department to fund the purchase of two Railyard Fitness Systems for use in all four D39 elementary schools. The Railyard Fitness System can be used in a multitude of configurations that support the District’s elementary curriculum and philosophy, which states “movement and activity are essential components of total body wellness and academic achievement.” Because the system is made up of many components, it can be easily dismantled and transported so the two systems will be shared among the four elementary schools. The systems also can be configured in a variety of set-ups and locations to support the physical education curriculum as well as for open gym settings and events.

The PE department plans to use the Railyard Fitness System within its curriculum to provide more functional skill training in a fun and active way. The obstacle courses will develop students’ upper body, lower body and core strength, as well as flexibility and cardio fitness. In addition, the equipment will help students develop coordination, balance, self-awareness, as well as social awareness and team building skills. Finally, the Railyard Fitness System allows for inclusion as it can be used by students at all ages and with a wide range of physical abilities. Congratulations to Kathleen Peth, PE teacher (Central) along with PE teachers Kevin Aussem (Central), Bill Schaff (Romona), Chris Toy (Romona), Frank Theodorakakis (Harper), Jim Grimes (Harper), Jessica Andricopulos (McKenzie), and Alex Nanut (McKenzie)!


Encore Sphero indi Robots Gripp Grant

The D39 Educational Foundation has awarded an Encore Gripp Grant to the elementary Technology department, funding the purchase of 40 Sphero indi robots – 8 for each of the four elementary schools and the Lechner Early Education Program (LEEP). The elementary schools were awarded a grant in the Fall of 2018 to purchase the Sphero BOLT robots, which are used by the elementary school technology department across all grades.

The Sphero indi robots are designed to make coding more accessible to our youngest students in Pre-K through first grade, through both unplugged and connected experiences. The indi robots provide a smooth and natural transition to more complex coding provided by the BOLT robots in second grade and beyond.  In addition to teaching computational thinking, the robots also will reinforce skills students are learning in their classrooms such as mathematical thinking, visualizing patterns, measurement, and SEL competencies through collaboration and problem solving. Congratulations to technology teachers Lauren Wysocke (Central), Julie Garry (McKenzie), Beth Cummo (Harper), and Christina Rosario (Romona)!


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