DEERFIELD – As Township School District 113 Board of Education recognized community partners at each of its 3S meetings this year.
At its February 22 3S meeting, the Board recognized Moraine Township, West Deerfield Township and the District 113 Education Foundation for their partnership over the years with Highland Park High School. Moraine Township Anne Flanagan Bassi and Moraine Township provide a wealth of support for the Highland Park High School community. In addition to working with District 113 students and families directly, Moraine Township supports the Highland Park High School Drop-In Center with a grant for a designated social worker, as well as groceries, for the DIC food pantry. They help with food donations to District 113 Summer School to help at-risk students; also, during winter, spring and summer school vacations, Moraine Township provides breakfast/lunch bags of food for families of students who are qualified for the federal free and reduced lunch program.
Through the Phyllis Santullano Holiday Drive, Moraine Township pairs donors with students to provide gifts from each student’s personal wish list, as well as grocery store vouchers for holiday meals, hats, socks, gloves and scarves.
As needed, the Township helps District families with emergency assistance such as hotel, food and clothing vouchers in the event of fire or other temporary displacement, and helps residents access utility, medical or other assistance and benefits they may be eligible for.
Moraine Township’s grant program helps fund agencies benefiting District 113 programs such as College Bound Opportunities, Family Service, and Highland Park/Highwood Home Child Care Association for infant care for teen parents. Moraine Township partners with HPHS staff to connect with, and help, students and families. In addition, HPHS Counselor Pablo Alvarez is the Chair of Moraine Township’s Latino Advisory Committee, which helps facilitate connections for assistance that might otherwise be missed.
West Deerfield Township Alyson Feiger and the staff at the West Deerfield Township are wonderful partners for the Deerfield High School community. The Township can serve as a liaison for families who are hesitant to share their financial needs with the school. Township staff are an additional resource for families who need assistance filling out financial assistance documentation for the Free Books and Lunch program. The partnership has also served Deerfield High School families during the holidays. DHS counseling staff work with families to complete the application to participate in the West Deerfield Township Holiday Drive, as well as to advertise this
opportunity. In addition, DHS Counseling staff have coordinated assistance with West Deerfield Township staff when families have emergency expenses.
The West Deerfield Township has been very supportive of the snack cabinet for students. They have dropped off fresh bakery items and assisted with the purchase of a refrigerator to store healthy snacks such as yogurt, fresh fruit and string cheese. When the Deerfield Optimist Club was looking to support students locally, the West Deerfield Township connected this group with DHS as a way to further support the snack cabinet. The Township also supports DHS through a college grants program; they have awarded a total of $8,000 in grants to DHS students and $2,000 in grants to HPHS students over the past two years, and the program will continue again this year. Additionally, West Deerfield Township will award two “life-changing” scholarships to College of Lake County students who reside within West Deerfield Township.
Staff from the West Deerfield Township always treat District 113 families with a respect that reflects a strength-based perspective. We are very fortunate to share a partnership with a resource that is so collaborative and focused on the best interests of our students and families.
District 113 Education Foundation
The District 113 Education Foundation was formed in 2006 by a group of dedicated volunteers comprised of staff, parents and community members. The Foundation’s mission is to “enhance and enrich programs at Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools by promoting and supporting innovative educational opportunities.” The Foundation implements this worthy mission by funding staff and teacher initiated grants that would not otherwise be funded by the school district budget. In nearly a decade of existence, the Foundation has awarded $220,000 for more than 100 grants that have positively impacted students’ experience at District 113.
Foundation grants span a diverse range of programming and have touched every area: academics, fine arts, athletics, clubs, diversity programming, support for at-risk students and technology. Representative grants include funding for the Literary Festival, Science Olympiad, Spanish and French Libraries and World Language technology, the Young Journalist Work Project, T-Inspire training and programming, AP Psychology equipment, Marine Science equipment, Special Education Music Therapy, Mock Trial, the Robotics, HP3 Soul, Salsa and Spirit, Latin Dance, Homework clubs, Music recording technology, state of the art digital camera equipment and Mosaic (Diversity Leadership programming.)
The Foundation actively raises funds to support grants. Sources have included corporate sponsorships and individual donations, as well as donations driven by its ongoing Honor an Educator Program. Annual events include the Pizza Bowl/Baker’s Cup, and the Restaurant Homecoming fundraiser. This year the Foundation sold tickets to see the Broadway hit “Hamilton” in October. The Foundation remains an entirely volunteer board comprised of staff, students, teachers, parents and community members.
Submitted by District 113