LAKE FOREST/LAKE BLUFF — The Lake Forest High School Foundation dispensed a record number of grants totally more than $230,000 to 20 programs on April 28.
In its 15-year history, the foundation has awarded slightly more than $2 million in grants, making this year’s effort significant, said Liz Brandel, the foundation chair.
The Foundation raises money through donations, an annual benefit luncheon and sponsorships. Its goal is to provide funding for learning opportunities not normally in the Lake Forest Community High School District 115 budget.
“The number of grant requests reviewed this year were very good and we were really happy with the grants we were able to give out,” said Brandel. “The community really made an effort this year so we could help our teachers and administrators.”
One grant expected to touch nearly all students at the school multiple times went to the school library to create a collaborative learning commons in the library. Brandel said it will transform the second floor of the library into a place where students can learn from each other. The library is visited by 800 students daily.
“This is for students who do not have access to places to work together,” said Brandel. “Kids will be able to work together in small groups. This is a great opportunity for all of them.”
The four tables that are part of the grant will be equipped with dry-erase surfaces, electronic displays and charging stations compatible with any electronic device, according to the foundation’s news release announcing the grants. There will also be televisions to let the students show their work to others.
Another collaborative learning opportunity that earned a grant was dubbed Incubator Part 2. Brandel said freshmen and sophomores taking entrepreneurship classes do not have the same facilities fostering group work available to juniors and seniors in the business incubator. The room where the younger students learn how to start businesses will be set up like the incubator.
The incubator class has become a two-way street for the foundation, according to Brandel. She said one of the organization’s revenue sources comes from sponsorships from the community for the incubator’s annual pitch night. The foundation also adds $10,000 to the funding for the winning team at pitch night to let those students develop their business plan.
While all students receive an electronic device to use during their Lake Forest High School tenure, the school puts restrictions on where the teens can roam on the internet. Brandel said another grant will allow the wellness department to purchase 12 iPads with programming for special education students not available on the devices used by the general student population.
While no students made requests this year, Brandel said in the past the foundation has received applications from students, and that grants were awarded. Last year the foundation handed out money for the prairie garden outside the school used for outdoor education.
“That was a student grant,” said Brandel. “Environmental science classes use it and there are other classes as well.”
Brandel said applicants go through an arduous written application process and interviews before a grant is awarded.
Some of the other grants include the following:
- Art room redesign including adjustable drafting tables
- Digital cameras to support photography classes, the yearbook and animation
- Student newspaper funding
- A pilot program making two English classrooms fully wireless
- A sound studio in the library
- An extension of the WeVideo program
- Biotechnology lab equipment
- Computer software for physics classes
- High speed cameras for physics classes
- Refurbishment of the emotional disabilities classroom
- Special training for special education teachers
- Teacher courses at the Newberry Library in Chicago
- Funding of the executive functions workshop
- A redesign of the student services suite
Click here for details on all grants given.