​​Since 1994, ELF has established and supported innovative educational programs by awarding grants to teachers and staff who are committed to excellence in education. This school year, more than $30,000 in grants were awarded to District 64 schools, advancing ELF’s total direct grants to nearly $790,000!

We often receive requests that total well in excess of available funds. As a result, ELF is not able to fund every grant proposal, much as we would like.  




Igniting Readers Through Mobility and Synergy    Carpenter School
As the district moves toward a new reader’s workshop approach, Carpenter is looking to engage its students in setting goals and building ownership in the reading curriculum.  The learning space is an important element in this endeavor – students should have ample opportunities to spread out and read in various positions and methods. The objective of this grant is to grow readers with inviting classroom space containing creative chairs (rockers, cubes, cushions, etc.) and tablespaces (markerboards, activity tables, round tables, floor tables, etc.)

Project-Based-Learning (PBL) Workshop    Carpenter School
As teachers and schools look toward making the learning experience more real-world and genuine, project-based learning stands out as a gold standard model.  This three-day PBL 101 Workshop by the Buck Institute for Education engages participates in learning how to design, assess, and manage a rigorous, relevant, standards-focused project.  This grant exposes two Carpenter teachers to a balanced blend of direct instruction, video analysis, hands-on work, resource sharing, and peer collaboration.  At the end of the workshop, they will have planned and created a PBL unit, received formative feedback from peers and the facilitator and be able to implement next school year.

Creating a Flexible Work Space    Emerson School
The students in a special education classroom have a variety of needs – both academically, physically, emotionally, and socially.  This grant helps to develop a more flexible classroom environment which would allow students a work space more suited to their needs.  The purchase of standing work desks and exercise ball chairs help enhance their focus, thus creating a more productive and individualized learning environment for all of the students.

Guest Conductor – Randy Sabien    Emerson & Lincoln Schools
Randy Sabien is a jazz violinist, band-leader, clinician, and head of the string department at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN and the author of Jazz Philharmonic.  This grant will bring Mr. Sabien’s expertise to the middle school orchestra students from both Emerson and Lincoln, exposing them to jazz, blues, folk, and funk.  Not only will students play and perform many genres of music, but Mr. Sabien will also cover proper rehearsal and performance etiquette and how to improvise. After his visit, a culminating performance will showcase the impact of the grant.

Broadcast Green Screen Room    Field School
Quality broadcasting and video-making abilities enable teachers to allow more creativity and excitement into their lessons. Teachers can create their own movie introductions to lessons, students can choose to create video projects and student-driven news broadcasts can be shown in the classroom and shared with parents and members of the community.  Field will be using this grant money to create a dedicated green screen place within their Learning Resource Center, giving each student at Field a unique and creative experience with video-editing and broadcasting.


Family Game Night    Field School / Primary Challenge
The Primary Challenge department will host a game night at Field School introducing a variety of learning games.  The objective is to introduce strategic and critical thinking games to first grade students and their families. Board games provide a way for children to explore different ways of thinking, moving, and interacting with friends and family members.  Games and puzzles are also ways to engage high ability learners. Eventually, this project will expand to involve all first grade students from all five elementary schools, and the games will be made available to teachers for classroom use.

Dry Erase Whiteboard Activity Table    Franklin School
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world today are working in whatever environment best suits them.  It is time for students to be given the opportunity to move away from the desks they have been sitting in since the 1920’s.  This grant will supply a 4 foot dry-erase whiteboard activity table within the classroom, allowing for more flexible seating and increased student communication and collaboration.  

Jefferson School Physical Education Equipment For Gross Motor Development    Jefferson School
Jefferson School has recently implemented a physical education program for all of its 3 year-old, 4 year-old, and special needs classrooms.  This grant will allow them to purchase portable volleyball nets and large trainer volleyballs that will introduce students to motor activities involving throwing and catching over nets.  This new curriculum also teaches students the up-and-down throwing of the ball over the nets, tracking of a ball in the air, concentration to watch and retrieve as it falls, and the joy exhibited and confidence gained when these basic motor skills are performed and mastered.

Mentoring for Middle School Students    Lincoln Middle School
This grant is a mentoring program that meets twice per month for Lincoln Middle School students and Maine South High School students.  The goal is for someone, outside of school staff, to build a relationship with the kids and give them a personal mentor connection. This is a unique opportunity for our middle school students to build a relationship with mentors which will enhance the social emotional learning needs of the students.

Greg Tang, Jr. Visit    All D64 Elementary Schools
ELF, partnering with each elementary school’s PTO/PTA, is helping to bring Greg Tang, Jr. of Greg Tang Math to Carpenter, Field, Franklin, Roosevelt and Washington to host a day of professional development for teachers and students.  The creator of these fun and effective math games would provide hands-on materials and site-based training for all first through fifth grade teachers and classrooms.  In addition, Mr. Tang would lead a Family Math Night in the evening. Over the course of the evening, students and families would rotate through 5 different math station – targeting number sense, fact and procedural fluency, and reasoning skills – all while getting excited about math!  Mr. Tang will visit for a week and would spend one day and evening at each of the five elementary schools.



The Grants awarded for the 2018-2019 school year are listed below. 

ELF has provided grants to the 7 district schools, plus the Early Childhood program at Jefferson, as well as district-wide contributions.  These grants help build our schools and provide unique learning opportunities for our children.  To see what has been awarded year by year, or at each school, click on the links below: