The Riverside Elementary Education Foundation (REEF) has announced a record number of grants for the 2006 school year.

On Jan. 19 the REEF Board of Directors approved the recommendations of its Grants Committee to award eight grants submitted by District 96 faculty for innovative educational programs for students. The grants total $8,127.95 and are made possible by community contributions to REEF.

“We were tremendously pleased with both the number and quality of grant applications we received this year,” said Ed Lyons, chairman of REEF’s Grant Committee. “We commend the individual faculty members for their creativity and dedication to District 96 students.”

Funded programs include:

? Civil War Living History. Fifth grade teachers Sarah Clark, Lauren Allen, Janet Librizzi, Erin McCarthy, Maryann Roberts, Laura Schwartz and Laura Stumpf submitted a grant proposal for a day of living history. Actors representing medicine, music, civilian life and the infantry will give students a glimpse of life during these turbulent times. A final talk will be given by a historian portraying Harriet Tubman.

? Lunch Brunch Reading Club. Barbara Johnson, Central School’s resource teacher, will initiate a reading club for third, fourth and fifth grade students. Her proposal stated, “it is my desire to have students build reading and writing skills by exposing them to books that move one’s heart.”

? Third-Grade Opera Experience. Teachers Vicki Vizek, Mary Kladis, Anne Harrington, Kathleen Maloney and Jane Lauristen proposed a field trip to the Lyric Opera House, including a performance of Stone Soup, a children’s opera sung by the students themselves.

? PRIDE support. This grant supports the attendance of eighth grade students at the PRIDE International Drug Conference in Washington, D.C. in April. This is the 16th year that Hauser students will participate.

? Storytelling with Book Illustrator Michael Hays. District 96 Library Media Specialists Gail Bieschke and Penny Loulousis submitted a proposal to bring book illustrator Michael Hays to the district to show kindergarten through second-grade students how picture books are created. The goal is to inspire students to develop their talents in writing and drawing.

? “Earobics” is a special program that will teach students to match sounds to letters and decode unfamiliar words and was submitted by Hollywood Resource teacher Judith Johnson.

? Animals and their Habitats. Second grade teachers Katie Meenan, Nancy Miller and Stephanie Sumner have created a program that combines technology and field trips to study animals and their habitats. The program includes a field trip to Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo, a walk along the Des Plaines River and KidPix computer illustrations.

? Springfield tour. Fifth grade teachers Laura Schwartz, Erin McCarthy and Janet Librizzi submitted a proposal for a one-day trip to Springfield to visit historic sites, including Lincoln’s home and tomb, the State Capitol, and the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

REEF was established in October 1991 to fund teacher-initiated elementary and junior high school programs in science, the arts and social studies; to connect students, teachers and administrators with appropriate community resources, and to support student projects intended to benefit the community.