Teacher Innovation Grant Winners Announced!


The Glenbrook High School Foundation along with District 225 recently selected the recipients of the 2017 Teacher Innovation Grants.  The mission of The Glenbrook High School Foundation is “to provide resources that enhance and enrich educational experiences for all students in District 225.” As affirmation of this mission, the Foundation is pleased to announce that four Innovation Grants for a total of $5,000 have been awarded to Glenbrook North teachers, Karen Fitzsimons, Robert Froehlich and Glenbrook South teachers, Mike Macfadden, Lisa Pavic, Marianne Gudmundsson, and Kelly Baker.  Innovation Grants are awarded to proposals that most clearly advance student learning and achievement in a creative manner incorporating the tenets of best practices in secondary education.

Beth Bassler, chairperson of the Glenbrook Foundation, stated that Teacher Innovation Grants allow teachers to think outside the box and provide resources to their students. Bassler said, “These grants allow teachers to use their creativity to enhance student learning beyond the classroom.”

Karen Fitzsimons is a math teacher at Glenbrook North High School and is sponsoring a school wide event with activities created to celebrate an “e” Day Event on February 7, 2018 (2.7.18).  The number 2.7.18 is an irrational number that occurs naturally and is helpful in puzzling out exponential and logarithmic functions.  Math games, geometric hands-on materials, and algebraic manipulatives will be used that day to help students understand the significance of this number. Fitzsimons said, “students will develop an appreciation for and understanding of some seemingly complex mathematical concepts and how those have relevance in their daily lives.”

Robert Froehlich is a physics teacher at Glenbrook North High School and is using monies from the Innovation Grant to purchase Pitsco TETRIX Prime Dual Control Robotics sets.   These robotics sets can be used in physics classes in “open-ended” problems where it will be up to the students to “implement and code the solution” using the robotics technology.  Froehlich said, “Bundled robotics kits make this technology available to students from the ground level up.  Students will learn programming and necessary interface electronics to have the robotics perform tasks.”

Mike Macfadden is a business and technology teacher at Glenbrook South High School and is purchasing a Screen Printing Kit that will enable students in his graphics classes and students in various clubs/organizations to interface to create a variety of promotional items.  According to Macfadden, “this project will offer an exciting opportunity for the graphic design students to see their creative visions come to life in a real and tangible way, in working with clients on design projects.”

Lisa Pavic, Marianne Gudmundsson, and Kelly Baker are working with Biology studies level students at Glenbrook South to incorporate Pear Deck into their classrooms.  Pear Deck is a technological tool that allows for immediate student feedback that monitoring student understanding. According to the company, “Pear Deck brings the classroom “clicker” into the 21st century with not only multiple choice-style questions, but text responses, numbers, drawings, draggable pins on images, and more.” The teachers are excited because, “students will be able to demonstrate their learning interactively and at any level of learning.”

In the spring, Innovation grant proposals will once again be offered to teachers of District 225 for another $5,000.  Jim Shellard, director of development said, “What a great opportunity for teachers to tap directly into their passions.  When teachers are passionate in the classroom, students are often inspired.  I am glad that the Glenbrook Foundation can help support these passions.”