Illinois Grants in Place Recipients Recognized

We visit teachers from Charleston and Mattoon.

October 17, 2016 |

Front (left to right) Thomas and Anna Heyn, students; 2nd row: Mrs. Hannah Compton: K-teacher, Mrs. Lorie Storm: K-teacher; Mr. Billy Gherardini: K-teacher; Mrs. Jennifer Gherardini: 4th grade teacher; & Mrs. Jennifer Hunt; K-teacher; 3rd Row: Dr. Bill Duey: Fit-2-Serve, Ms. Rachel Seay: K-teacher; Mrs. Jennifer Nolte: K-teacher; Ms. Missy Ewing: 4th grade teacher; Mrs. Sara Heyn: volunteer/parent, Mrs. Paula Johnson: 4th grade teacher; & Ms. Julie Markin: 4th grade teacher; back: Mr. Kris Maleske, WES Principal and Dr. Brian Reid, EIU/Rural Collaborative Partnerships

Two Illinois Grants in Place recipients were recognized by the Rural Schools Collaborative and the Central Illinois Rural School Partnership on Wednesday, October 12. Pam Evans, Jefferson Elementary School (Charleston) sixth grade teacher, and William Gherardini, Williams Elementary School (Mattoon) kindergarten teacher, were presented with Grants in Place poster awards by Dr. Brian Reid from the Central Illinois Rural School Partnership/Eastern Illinois University and the Rural Schools Collaborative's Gary Funk.

The presentation included a special thanks to Rural Schools Collaborative partners the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools and the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation. These two organizations provided support funding for the two place-based projects. The new Central Illinois Rural School Partnership was established in conjunction with a 2016 planning grant from Rural Schools Collaborative.

The presentations recognized the following grants:

Williams Elementary Schoool, Mattoon, William Gherardini, kindergarten, $1,000,Together We Can. Kindergarten students will participate in a year-long gardening program that will take place at three community nursing homes. High school FFA students will manage the gardens in the summer of 2017. This outstanding intergenerational project in being done in collaboration with the Mattoon nonprofit, Fit-2-Serve.

Jefferson Elementary School, Pam Evans, 6th grade, $1,000, Let’s Get Dirty. Students will investigate soil quality in this farming community and learn how to make compost. This project is fully integrated into the participating students' science curriculum.

Left to right: Dr. Brian Reid, Central Illinois Rural School Partnership; Pam Evans; and Rob Ulm, Jefferson Elementary School principal. Our apology for misprinting the poster award with the wrong school!

The Rural Schools Collaborative's cooperative Grants in Place program supports the innovative work of outstanding rural teachers--work that engages students in their respective communities. More than $100,000 was awarded in 2015-16 to support the work of nearly sixty teachers from seven states. Read more!

The Rural Schools Collaborative's Gary Funk hunkers down with Mattoon kindergartners in Mr. Gherardini's exciting classroom.

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