Central Illinois Rural Teacher Corps Grants Announcement


Effingham, IL-(Radio Effingham)- The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation is pleased to announce that five new area teachers have been named recipients of the Central Illinois Rural Teacher Corps Spring 2022 Grant Program: McKenzie Vilardo of Charleston High School, Jo Lynn Garrett of Patoka School, Megan Yager from Red Hill Junior/Senior High School, Kody Czerwonka from Buckeye Friends School and Amanda Evinger from Sumner Attendance Center. Scholarships are awarded to new teachers in our region.

McKenzie Vilardo of Charleston High School received $200 for an “alternate seat”.

McKenzie said, “Many of my students benefit from alternate seating arrangements. I’ve already managed to get a few yoga balls in my room. Several of my students are able to concentrate better on their school work and can still sit or bounce on a ball. I also have a lot of students who prefer to sit near a wall on the floor or in a corner away from other students. It has also helped them focus, and I have many more students completing and turning in assignments and projects by gifting them. I would like to continue to offer them and offer more students alternative seating arrangements. Aaron Locke, director, McKenzie Vilardo and Kristen Bertrand, SICF program manager, photographed from L. to R.

Patoka School’s Jo Lynn Garrett received $200 for “Hands-on Mathematics Activities”.

Jo Lynn explains: “Since March 2020, students and teachers have faced an unprecedented time in education. The goal of these math activities is to get students back to class with practical, group-focused, real-world problems. I want to help all students see that learning can be fun! “Hands-on Math Activities” includes a set of engaging and challenging geometry activities for high school students, inquiry lessons, games, projects, and kinds of cards. The resources are based on the Common Core Standards for High School Geometry. There are a total of 81 activities to engage students with hands-on geometry experience, but they can also be used in algebra lessons. Jo Lynn Garrett and Superintendent David Radmacher pictured.

Megan Yager of Red Hill Junior/Senior High School received $200 for “Introduction to Dissection”.

Megan explained, “Combining virtual dissections with a demonstration of an actual dissection will engage students where they feel comfortable with the topic. This approach will make the most of the materials and allow students the most versatility in their dissection decisions. As 8th graders, they will choose which high school science courses to take next year. This is an important decision for many of them, as it will impact their future decisions regarding their college education and career. Having an introduction to this facet of life sciences will give them a broader view of what science is and help them make a more informed decision about which courses they should take in high school and beyond. Using the simulated dissections packets will allow me to continue using this material for 8th graders for many years to come rather than just benefiting one group of students. Pictured are L. to R. Clarence Gross Principal, Megan Yager and Kacey Strange Assistant Principal

Kody Czerwonka of Buckeye’s Friends School received $200 for “Art for Change”.

Kody says, “For this project, my students will create paintings, drawings, models, or whatever their artistic minds desire that they themselves sell online and in person. Each student will choose a charity or organization whose mission the student is passionate about. Whatever proceeds students receive from their art will be donated to the charity or organization of their choice. This will motivate the students because they each love art and have their own slots to play on. This project will give them the freedom to create whatever they want, and they will be engaged because Buckeye students love to give back. It’s part of the culture instilled at Buckeye and runs through the veins of the students. Children will be thrilled to create art for a good cause. This project will help build business skills as students learn to navigate selling their art, and it will further enhance their social-emotional learning by forcing them to turn to charities whose missions help them. hold dear. Pictured, left to right: Kristen Bertrand, SICF Program Manager, Kody Czerwonka and Carrie Huff, Co-Lead Learner.

Amanda Evinger of Sumner Attendance Center received $200 for “Drumsticks: They’re Not Finger Lickin’ Good.”

Amanda says:My goal for this project is for 4th graders to join 5th and 6th graders in their annual holiday concert by playing the tambourine. Being part of a concert with the other students in their school will motivate them to work hard to learn music. The community including their families will also be there to see the concert which is another motivating factor. To prepare for the concerts, they will learn in class new terms and concepts that they will need. This is something 4th graders will appreciate, which will help with classroom behavior and attitudes. Students will enjoy playing at the concert, which can, in turn, help them decide whether they want to pursue a band or a choir in 5th grade. Pictured are Todd Tiffany, director and Amanda Evinger.

The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation’s Central Illinois Rural Teacher Corps fund is committed to supporting new teachers in our area. For more information, please contact Alex Pleasant, alex@enrichingourcommunity.org or call 217-342-4988.

The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation was formed in 2009 from a merger between the Effingham County Community Foundation (founded in 1999) and the Mattoon Area Community Foundation (founded in 1980). The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that manages permanent and nonpermanent assets for the long-term benefit of communities in Southeastern Illinois.


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