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Teacher Mini-Grant Program

one-five Foundation Kathy Buesching Memorial Mini-Grant Application Guidelines

2023-2024 School Year

The one-five Foundation is once again offering an annual mini-grant program open to staff members of Community Consolidated School District 15. These grants can support a wide range of opportunities for the students of the District with a focus on programs or technology.

The deadline to apply has closed. Thank you to all of our applicants!


Mini-Grant Timeline

Monday, October 2, 2023
Grant application materials published on the one-five Foundation website:

Friday, November 10, 2023

Deadline to submit grant applications.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Grant applicants are notified of the final award decision.

Friday, April 26, 2024: Deadline to submit all receipts for reimbursement.

Friday, June 30, 2024: Deadline to submit impact report for the project


Application Guidelines

  • The deadline for submitting all applications is Friday, November 10, 2023

  • DO NOT include the name of your school or any staff member names anywhere in the application other than on the cover page.

  • Submission of an application form does not guarantee selection for a monetary award.

  • Depending on the number of grant applications and the amount of total funds requested, the Foundation may make the decision to provide partial funding for projects.

  • The Foundation will not provide money for refreshments, personal time staff may use to implement the program, salaries, commercially produced programs, or student field trips.

  • Acquisition of all materials required to execute awarded grants is the responsibility of the grant recipient. All receipts as approved in the awarded submission must be submitted for reimbursement prior to April 26, 2024, and will be paid out no later than June 30, 2024.

  • Recipients should be prepared to provide the Foundation with an impact report no later than June 30, 2024. Failure to submit this report will make the recipient ineligible for future grant consideration.

  • On the cover page, applicants will need to attest that their principal has reviewed and approved the project for submission.

  • On the final page, applicants will need to attest that they have read and understand these guidelines as well as all information provided on the online application form.


Questions regarding the mini-grant process can be directed to Adriana Koenig, one-five Foundation Chair and Mini-Grant Committee Chair, at .

Over its lifetime, the one-five Foundation has donated more than $2 million to District 15 to enhance classroom learning opportunities.
Part of this funding goes to teacher mini-grants each year. In 2022-23 the following grants were awarded:


Implementations of Social-Emotional and Trauma-Informed Strategies: Calming Corner and Flexible Seating: Our Sandburg students love using the calming corner as a space to soothe and practice mindfulness.. They can choose to use a weighted blanket, color, learn about fidgets, and sit comfortably in flexible seats! The clinicians have been utilizing this space with students in a number of different ways for their social emotional learning. Having a safe and calming space to make connections with students has been extremely helpful. We are so grateful for the One-Five Foundation! Joanna Rzepka - Carl Sandburg Jr. High


Special Education: Achieving Technological Equality: Our Willow Bend School Special Education students LOVE the iPads to further their learning. With these iPads, we can now use engaging educational apps and interactive tools that cater to the student’s unique needs. This technology empowers our students, enabling them to develop essential skills and explore. We are thrilled about this achievement and excited for the continued positive impact it will have on the education of our special education students. Tammy Martin - Willow Bend

Yoga and Wellness Club: 128 first through fourth graders joined our Yoga and Wellness Club this year! We followed the Breathe For Change arch during each class. Students started with settling in to check in on their bodies/emotions, and practice breath awareness to calm their bodies to prepare for learning. Then, moved into individual mindful movements to warm up, as well as community movements. Many different creative expressions were offered to students. For example, mindful coloring, journaling, appreciation circles, vision boards, or created calming bottles. Class ended with relaxation and a self reflection closing. Thank you for the yoga mats and blocks! Students loved learning modifications for each pose. Many students taught their homeroom classes the strategies they learned in this club. we can not wait to see how this club grows over the years. Sharon Fink - Central Road

VEX for the Win! Vex Robotics Club at Plum Grove had a GREAT season! We had three teams work all through the fall and part of winter, designing and building robots to meet the challenge of Spin Up. Students worked together, struggled with build constraints and problems, redesigned and dealt with frustration. They had a GREAT time learning to address problems, solve issues and keep moving forward when faced with failure. We were able to attend a competition in February, facing off against much more experienced high school teams. One of our teams made it all the way to the semi-finals for the day. It was a LONG day but rewarding and fun for all. All the kids would LOVE to do it again next fall and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with a year’s experience under their belts. Thank you to the foundation for the funding to expand our program and give our kids the opportunity to reach beyond the walls of our school to learn from others. Carol Coutts-Siepka - Plum Grove Jr. High

Classics Done The Visual: Eighth graders in Mrs. Robinson’s ELA blocks dove into the ‘classics’ via beautiful and artistic graphic novels. 87 students read at least one classic each, and had 16  different classics to choose from. Some of those titles include “Animal Farm,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Gulliver's Travels,” and “The Giver.” Over the course of about 7 days, students read their novels and created knock off Goodreads Book Reviews. They also practiced identifying themes and wrote responses on their opinions of why these particular stories are considered timeless classics. Many students even had extra time to read 2-3 books! They just gobbled them up. This idea was created in order to prepare students for some of the classics they’ll be asked to read in high school or college. By reading these visually adapted stories, they’ll walk in having the basic plot details down in order to dig deeper and really analyze literary elements to their teachers’ or professors’ expectations.  The artwork in these novels is spectacularly engaging and helped revive stories that would be possibly overlooked. Laura Robinson - Plum Grove Jr. High


Classroom Transformations: My fifth graders experienced  several room transformations that either kicked off or highlighted our content learning.  We had a Grammar Boot Camp day where students reviewed the different parts of speech in an engaging format.  Fifth graders celebrated 1000 days of school and engaged in various STEAM activities.  We had a poetry slam where students recited poems from memory and worked on strengthening their understanding of figurative language.  We also had a nonfiction text feature surgery day and students worked on identifying the different text features found in nonfiction text and worked to understand the importance of text features in understanding and navigating nonfiction texts..  All these experiences were enhanced by a room that was transformed and ready to excite students about learning.  There were many other room transformations as featured in the pictures below: Book Tasting, Colonial Day, Learning is an Adventure (traveling the 7 continents), and more!  Thank you for providing the supplies to make this a reality.  It undoubtedly increased student engagement and promoted deeper understanding!  Thank you for supporting me and my students! Alessandra Kennedy - Thomas Jefferson


Delightful Decodable Detectives: Jenny Kendall - Thomas Jefferson


Extra! Extra! Read All about it!: Our Newspaper Club loved the new cameras which helped us to take better quality pictures for our monthly newspapers.  And having the paper purchased with grant money allowed our club to make enough copies of our newspaper for each student at our school each month. Thank you for supporting our new club at Whiteley School! Allison Bruhn - Frank C. Whiteley School

Sundling Goes Pro With The GoPro Hero 11 Creator Edition: Our Sundling ESPN crew produced some world class news this year thanks to the generosity of the One-Five Foundation! The addition of the GoPro Hero creator and accessories helped us capture live events such as our Veteran’s day celebrations, sporting events, school wide assemblies, Paladin Games, and even booster lessons for our Climate and Culture team. Katie Burns-Wojtalewicz - Sundling Jr. High


Recess Reading @ Stuart R. Paddock: The Paddock Student Council members were very excited to be involved with the production of our first story walk. They helped prep signs and map placement of them on the playground considering flow and function to make it most accessible to all students. The student response was fantastic and created opportunities for reading and discourse on the playground. We are currently in the process of selecting a second book and hope to unveil it one more time before the end of the school year! Kate Marrs - Paddock School

Dual Lingo: Jacquelyn Erickson - Jane Addams School

LEAP - Materials Allowing Flexible Learning: Faith Fiorito - Winston Campus Elementary

Communicate to Learn!: This mini grant project has already been a huge success!  iPads with customized student communication systems have been checked out to staff members who request practice opportunities.  Staff are becoming expert language modelers for their students.  Here are some comments from our post-survey:  

“ I work with many students who use high tech communication systems.  Having the opportunity to practice navigating them outside of school hours was AMAZING!  I feel much more confident now!”-S

“It was great to have the device at home. I took it even to a doctor appointment and I tried to model the situation, to explain what’s going on.

Without the doctor, of course.

If there will be an option to borrow it next school year, count on me.”-M

The learning was contagious.  Once one staff member checked out an iPad, other staff in their class/program were eager to practice as well! 

iPads are now being prepared for Fall 2023 staff trainings.  They will be available to check out to staff who express interest in improving their language modeling fluency.  We truly thank you for this generous and beneficial grant! Lauren Christ & Sheri Beattie - Conyers Learning Academy

Early Childhood Special Education Core Curriculum Manipulatives: From the mini grant, we were able to purchase 21 items for each class for five Early Childhood Structured for Independence (SIP) classrooms. That is a total of 105 new manipulatives! Students within the SIP program are non-speaking or have limited verbal language. With the use of aided language through picture communication boards or devices, students are learning the words in these systems in order to communicate. The purchase of the grant items allows the team to teach targeted language by incorporating motivating activities. Since the grant, students have demonstrated a large increase in the use of their communication and socialization skills. We are so thankful for the grant and the impact that it has on our learners! Katie Nawrot, Annice Coughlan, & Heather Klikas - Conyers Learning Academy

A Voice For All: With the mini grant we were able to purchase 10 pocket talks for our k-6th grade newcomers to use with teachers, classmates, and staff. Sanborn newcomers love the pocket talks to communicate with not only their teachers but also with making lasting friendships outside of their home language. The pocket talks have allowed our students to understand instruction, ask and answer questions, and turn and talk to a classmate. Quotes from newcomers on the pocket talks: “I really like it, it helps me so much!” “They let my friends understand me!” “I understand what the teachers are saying, if I didn’t have it I won’t understand.” These simple devices have made a world of a difference with our students communicating and being/feeling a part of our community.  We are so thankful for the grant and the opportunity to make a positive impact in our classrooms at Sanborn! Elizabeth Letellier & Jackie Kravitz - Gray Sanborn Elementary

Thanks to support from the one-five Foundation, in 2018 Conyers Learning Academy students were able to plant and tend to their own vegetable garden last summer and fall. The hands-on experience was tied into core subjects like speech and reading. A garden for 2019 is already being planned!

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