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NEF Awards Seven Annual Grants

Naperville Education Foundation Awards Seven Annual Grants

[NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS, February 4, 2022] The Naperville Education Foundation has awarded seven Annual Grants to District 203 staff. These awards represent over $24,000 of great ideas that will positively impact the education of over 3,000 students across District 203 during the 2022-2023 academic year. NEF is proud and honored to present this year’s Annual Grant awards to the below outstanding District 203 staff members, and sincerely thanks all 2021-2022 applicants. Congratulations to the following 2021-2022 Annual Grant winners:

  • Diversity and Inclusion
    • Build an Inclusive Community Through Art by Christine Halblander, Kerry Winborne, Vanessa Daker, Raf Kuklinski, Kara Rancilio, Mary Bratland, and Erin Rains at Jefferson Junior High School
      • Funds will be used for a year-long project of creating a mural with a local artist that will represent and support Jefferson Junior High’s unique community. Jefferson’s population has more than 47 languages represented, as it houses the District 203 Junior High Dual Language and English Learning (EL) programs. The mural will "...strengthen school culture by building a safe and accepting environment where everyone feels welcomed and valued." Students and staff will be involved in the creative process and observe the art being created, making memories that will last a lifetime.
    • Welcome, Readers! by Ann Stec at Scott Elementary School
      • Grant funds will be used to purchase books in the native languages of students welcomed from other countries. As a way to say-- "Welcome! We see you and are glad you are part of our community,” teachers can check out the books to send home with new students on their first day to take home and read with their families. These books will also be available to check out for students who have proficient reading abilities in their native language. This will be the beginning of building a Language Diversity section in Scott Elementary School's Learning Commons.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
    • Instructional Videos - Animations by Linda Bennett and Megan Hopkins at Naperville Central High School
      • This grant will fund the creation of illustrated, short STEM videos that address differentiated instruction, equity, and additional support for struggling learners. These videos will benefit students by allowing them to work at their own pace, re-watch videos to review material, and give access to classroom materials during absences. Once a starter supply of videos is established, students will be encouraged to create their own short videos, building a library of vetted student-made videos.
    • LEGO Education SPIKE Prime and BricQ Motion Prime by Vickie Donnelly & Amanda Mennella at Lincoln Junior High School
      • This grant will purchase 5 additional SPIKE Prime kits and 2 class sets (24 kits total) of the LEGO BricQ Motion Prime sets. These will be used each quarter in Project Lead the Way, provider of innovative STEM education curricular middle and high school programs, as well as in science classes and the SciTech Club. These tools will allow for the exploration of physics in smaller groups, offering more hands-on learning time. Students will strengthen oral communication skills in a collaborative setting by designing, developing, and optimizing solutions with the kits.
  • Fine Arts & Physical Education
    • BRAINball, Cross Curricular Purposeful Play! by Kimberly Blitek, Kathy Schoengrund, and Heather Bezanis at Kingsley Elementary School
      • Purchasing a BRAINBALL Physical Education Cross Curricular System, this grant will allow students to practice basic academic skills such while engaging in active games. This will re-engage students post e-learning, provide lessons to address learning gaps, and reduce stress through movement. In addition to BRAINball being used in the PE and Jump Start, all staff members will have the ability to check-out the BRAINball equipment anytime throughout the year to use for small group and class-wide instruction and activity.
    • Equitable Access for Success in Photography by Amy Murphy at Naperville Central High School
      • In order to make the popular NCHS Photography Program more equitable and accessible to all students, this grant will purchase a class set of 35mm SLR cameras from a variety of independent vendors. Providing cameras to students who may not have access to a camera on their own ensures that all students have the option to take photography classes at NCHS. With a class set of 35mm film SLR cameras, students will be provided an equitable foundation for success in photography, have a hands-on learning experience about the foundations of photography, and create an unforgettable and unique traditional fine arts experience.
  • Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)
    • Social & Emotional Learning in Action by Tiauna King at Elmwood Elementary School
      • This grant will be used to purchase Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) books for a Learning Behavior Specialist book club. At this book club, staff will enhance their knowledge and skills on how to use sensory tools to support their students. This will help staff further assist students who are struggling with managing and communicating their emotional needs.

Annual Grants fund projects for the following school year, are initiated by a District 203 student or staff member, support at least one Naperville 203 school, require principal approval, and align with the school’s Improvement Plan or to a curricular area/standard. Applications are evaluated  by a committee of NEF representatives, Naperville 203 staff, and community members, then awarded in the categories of Diversity and Inclusion, Fine Arts and Physical Education, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). The full Annual Grant Guidelines can be viewed here

For more information on grants and all things NEF, visit, or email NEF at

The Naperville Education Foundation is Naperville 203’s philanthropic fundraising arm that encourages creativity, innovation, and excellence in our students by helping to ensure that every student in the district can take advantage of opportunities to make the most of their education. NEF raises and grants funds for programs that enhance and enrich the educational experience of Naperville School District 203 students. With the generous support of foundations, businesses, educational professionals, and individual donors, NEF is able to provide financial resources that increase learning opportunities by supplementing school district budgets. For more information on NEF, go to