Grants give a boost to STEM, sustainability efforts in River Trails District 26

  • River Trails Middle School students from the STEAM Club create games and activities for other students in the annual winter carnival.

    River Trails Middle School students from the STEAM Club create games and activities for other students in the annual winter carnival. Courtesy of River Trails District 26

 
 
Posted12/3/2021 5:30 AM

Mount Prospect-based River Trails School District 26 has received another grant from the Bosch Community Fund, which over the last six years has supported several district initiatives related to sustainability, as well as science, technology, engineering and math programming.

The latest $57,000 grant will go toward professional development for teacher-innovation coaches, who work with teachers and the curriculum department to ensure that education practices continue to be modern.

 

Funding also will be used to buy materials and kits for STEM classroom curriculum and to help develop an integrated STEM curriculum at the district's newly renovated kindergarten and prekindergarten school, said district communications specialist Ben Finfer.

"Our administrators and teachers feel this is important because STEM education inspires students to think," Finfer said.

"These materials will provide various learning opportunities and ensure the district's STEM program is promoting creativity and collaboration."

The Bosch Community Fund, the corporate foundation for Bosch in North America, was established in 2011 "to provide community engagement and philanthropic support" on behalf of the company, and it specifically focuses on STEM and sustainability initiatives, its website says. District 26 has been awarded grants from Bosch each year since 2015, Finfer said.

That includes:

• $10,547 in 2015-16 to support the implementation of a STEM curriculum at elementary schools. There was also a $34,482 grant to create a greenhouse at the middle school that is used to teach students about the farm-to-table concept.

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• $75,000 in 2017 for implementation of a STEM curriculum at the middle school and to sustain the program in the elementary schools.

• $77,000 in 2018 to continue supporting the programs with the purchase of kits, materials, laptops and additional personnel.

• $38,676 in 2019 to support a STEM program for grades K-8, including the purchase of kits and materials.

• $50,000 in 2020 to continue supporting the program, including tools, equipment, kits and staffing.

Lyndl Schuster, the district's assistant superintendent for business services, is the driving force behind applying for grants, Finfer said.

"She is constantly seeking outside support in order to lift the financial burden from the taxpayers, while still offering students the educational resources they deserve. The Bosch Community Fund grants over the past several years have been a great example of this," he said.

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