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Two Spring Gripp Grants totaling $8,705 were awarded to 12 teachers, library professionals, and administrators, which will positively impact every student in the District by addressing needs encompassing those resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic.


Madeline Elman, 2nd grade teacher (Romona), along with library professionals Linda Diekman (Central), Lynn Mestanas (Harper),  Kate Johnston-Legg (McKenzie), Elizabeth Ceisel (HMS), Daphna Neirick (WJHS), as well as Kate O’Brien, 2nd grade teacher (Central) and Rebecca Littman, Principal (Central), received a grant to fund One Book One District, which will be co-funded by each of the district school’s PTAs and PTOs.  The program, which will be implemented Spring 2021, connects all schools and students in District 39 through one common book.  The book, Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham, addresses how much the outside world has changed because of the pandemic, but what is inside our homes and inside our hearts has grown.  The goal of the program is to unite all students in the District through a shared story and supporting activities, including a virtual author visit, access to the physical book as well as E-books, and an innovative story walk at each of the six schools.  The outdoor story walk will be safely accessible to all members of our district and community.  Additional classroom activities will be available to teachers to further explore the concepts of the book including writing activities, SEL activities, and philanthropic activities. One Book, One District was awarded this year’s AISLE Innovative School Library Program.  The Awards Committee recognized One Book, One District “as an excellent example of a program that has a measurable, positive impact on its participants, the school learning community, as well as the larger community.

Dr. Cheri Bridge, Technology Integration Specialist (WJHS), Stephanie Rubenstein, 8th grade math teacher, Jill Forti, Technology Integration Specialist (WJHS), and Nicole Peters, LBS (WJHS), received a grant to fund Innovative Learning through Apple Pencils.  After piloting the learning tools in the WJHS Math Department this fall, the team felt every classroom could be improved through the use of the smart tool which connects at home learners with in person learners seamlessly and effectively.  The Apple Pencil also enhances teaching and learning in multiple ways now and will continue to inspire learning into the future.  The grant includes the purchase of Apple Pencils to equip every teacher and specialist at the Junior High, as well as provide professional development to optimize the smart tools’ use in each classroom.  Rollout is expected to happen Spring 2021.



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