2021-2022 DARING Innovation Grant Recipients

The District 128 Foundation for Learning continued its mission to enhance and enrich learning in Community High School District 128 by awarding 13 DARING Innovation Grants totaling $28,033.00 to Libertyville High School and Vernon Hills High School teachers. The 2021-2022 grant winners were announced and will be celebrated during the 1-28 Day of Giving on January 28, 2022. This year's grants brought the number of grants awarded by the Foundation since 2008 to 182 and the total dollars funded to $282,846.33. The Foundation has also funded $128,600 for project funding to LHS and VHHS. Total funding for Innovation Grants and Projects is $411,446.33. 

In addition to funding DARING Innovation Grants and Projects, the Foundation has funded $107,316.15 for the Students In Need project since 2015. To date, the Foundation has given LHS and VHHS $518,762.48 in funding for the initiatives listed above.

2021-2022 DARING Innovation Grant Winners

The 2021-2022 DARING Innovation Grants Winners

3-d Creation of Eyes and Ears - This grant provides 3-d pens to help students create small models of the eyes and ears. Students gain a better understanding of the anatomy of these sensory receptors to better connect location and function of the structures within each organ. $820 - LHS - Social Studies - Laura Brandt, Kara Bosman

Authentic Conversations in the LHS German Classroom - German students pair with a vetted, trained conversation expert from Germany or Austria and talk for 15 minutes in a video chat thereby, testing their ability to speak in German in an authentic, natural non-classroom setting. This grant allows each student in the German program to conduct four conversations over the course of the next academic year.   Each conversation is linked to classroom content. $2,500 - LHS - World Languages - Heidi Lechner, Alex Kerth

Cutting-edge, advanced scientific research: Mammalian Cell Culturing - Mammalian cell lines such as human cancer cells are not usually experimented on in high schools because of the equipment necessary to keep cells alive in a sterile, controlled environment. This grant provides a cell culture hood which will allow access to all types of biological experiments. Students will develop the confidence and excitement in the field of research that inspires them to tackle some of the biggest challenges our world faces today!  $2,500 - VHHS - Science - Amy Elliott

Discover the Microbes Within: The Wolbachia Project - Students will be able to contribute to a global collection of research being gathered by Vanderbilt University by studying Wolbachia pipientis, a symbiotic bacterium that lives within the cells of nematodes (parasitic worms) and about 40 percent of the world’s arthropods, including insects, spiders, mites, and crustaceans. Students will have the tools to collect the actual organisms they will be testing from around the community, and this authentic experience brings real-world scientific research into the classroom through inquiry, discovery, and biotechnology. $2,500 - VHHS - Science - Chris Wolf 

DIY Vending Machine - Arduino based Engineering Project! - Students in Engineering and Advanced Computer Science Topics learn how to make an Arduino based DIY vending machine. They will do the entire process of building it, starting from cutting and assembling, to connecting all electronic parts together and writing the Arduino code. $2,000 - LHS - Mathematics - Teresa Elmore; VHHS - Applied Technology - Brian Miller, VHHS - Mathematics - Adam Lueken

Enhancing Data Collection For First Year Chemistry Students - First year chemistry students are exposed to a variety of labs and when using food calorimeters, wireless pH sensors and wireless voltage sensors students achieve experimental results closer to theoretical values. Collecting better data helps make more connections to concepts learned in class and the skills performed in the lab. $2,455 - LHS -Science - Katti Bachar

Functional Literacy through Service Learning - Students enrolled in Instructional Literacy, Tutorial D, and Vocational Consumer Education courses utilize functional literacy skills, math application skills, and social-language skills to implement service learning projects. Students purchase and build furniture for those impacted by domestic violence, and they shop and buy necessary items for the homeless in our community thus helping to solve real life problems. $2,000 - LHS - Special Services - Kim Jansen, Simone Oslage, Meghan Ahern, Alice Leafblad, Marci Simmons

Modeling Real-World Scenarios in Physics - Students model what happens during a car crash, and through use of the Acceleration Motion Device they are able to collide vehicles together and measure accelerations. Students also make predictions about how vehicles will collide, and the forces they exert on each other as well as the position, direction, and velocities of the cars after the collisions. Students are given real data from car collisions and through use of their models predict which vehicle was at fault, the motion of the cars before the collision, and resulting positions of the vehicles after the crash. $2,308 - VHHS - Science - Nicole Collins, Josh Ravenscraft

RAD/Step Back Equipment - Students participate in a program designed to develop their awareness, understanding, and avoidance of aggressive behavior, physical violence, and sexual assault by engaging in self-defense strategies and discussions of health-related issues specific to male and female students.  The curriculum for our female-identifying students is called R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense). The curriculum for our male-identifying students is a variation of R.A.D. called Step Back.  All students learn self-defense and conflict de-escalation skills using a nationally recognized rape and aggression prevention curriculum. $2,500 - LHS - Physical Welfare - Patti Mascia, Carrie Keske, Joyce Amann, Bethany Martin, Sean Ferrell 

“Science is like magic, but REAL.”  Bringing the Biotechnology of Today into Focus -  This grant helped provide GELATO electrophoresis and visualization systems for running experiments with DNA. Labs that GELATO will allow students access to include: gene cloning, recombinant DNA technology, and gene purification.  These labs are not available without the unique cutting surface that GELATO has for excising DNA from a DNA gel. $2,500 - VHHS - Science - Amy Elliott

Sustainable Live Ecosystems for Long Term Environmental Research Projects - Students build, maintain, and troubleshoot an ecosystem throughout the year. This bottled ecosystem serves as a live simulation for the topics of sustainability, agriculture, soil science, water science, food chains, and biogeochemical cycles.  The goal is to produce a self-sustaining ecosystem complete with an aquatic chamber, terrestrial chamber, and filter chamber. Fish and other aquatic organisms including; aquatic snails, elodia, guppies, and algae are maintained in the classroom in order to be used in lab activities year after year. $1,050 - VHHS - Science - Alyssa Clarke 

The Missing Element: Using Academic Games in Chemistry and Biology - Academic games create new experiences to provide students in Chemistry and Biology insight into how theoretical processes work and help to build a foundation for the class. The games also provide a scaffold students can follow to improve scientific modeling skills used in current and future science classes. Therefore, using a series of academic games boosts engagement and builds strong connections to the content. $2,400 - VHHS - Science - Brandon Watters representing Biology and Chemistry teachers

We’ve got the Need - the Need to Freeze! - While cell cultures are sold in specific quantities and are cryogenically frozen, without the proper storage the cells will only remain viable for a short period of time.  This grant provided a liquid nitrogen canister freezer so students can access parts of the cell culture as needed and preserve the rest for another experiment. The liquid nitrogen canister freezer is an essential part of a proper laboratory and needed for a wide range of experiments performed by our students. $2,500 - VHHS - Science - Amy Elliott

Total Grants Funded for 2021-2022 - $28,033.00


Founded in 2007, the Foundation for Learning was established to enhance and enrich the instructional program in District 128 by obtaining resources through community partnerships.