By HM staff

The District 181 Foundation saw growth in our business partnerships and strong support from parents, especially through our Staff Appreciation program which reflected the appreciation so many have felt for the impressive efforts put forth last year by District 181 staff members as they made the best of the difficult situation. The District 181 Foundation was able to adapt all of our programming for students, teachers and parents to meet the challenges presented by COVID. Our biggest accomplishment in 2021 was to develop a Young Writers Program that resulted in a hardcover book of student reflections about 2020. 239 student writers and artists participated in this six-month project, which included working with a teacher mentor, attending special webinars with youth authors, and an opportunity for students to be videoed reading their work. It culminated in a joint exhibit with the Hinsdale Historical Society at Immanuel Hall about the 2020 experience. To help enhance student learning we funded a Math Assistance Hotline for homework help, hosted a virtual middle school student art exhibit, and offered special STEM programming for elementary students.

To support the work of teachers, we funded professional development opportunities focused on making remote learning more engaging and effective. Recognizing the heightened levels of stress and anxiety seen throughout the community, we helped fund webinars for parents which addressed these topics. The Community Speaker Series webinars brought four nationally renown speakers to our community to discuss important issues in education, student social and emotional development, and parenting. In 2022 we will be introducing the Community Connection. This program will provide community members an opportunity to share their knowledge, expertise, and experiences with District 181 students. This special resource will give students the opportunity to learn directly from experts, teachers a resource they can use to enhance and augment their lessons, and community members a meaningful way to share what they know with our youth. District 181 Foundation board members spirits remain high because we have embraced the challenge to rapidly adapt and respond to the needs that have emerged in the past two years. We have redefined existing programs, developed new ones, and adjusted funding priorities. We look enthusiastically toward 2022 and making meaningful contributions to the educational experience of all District 181 students.

*Photo provided by District 181