A Tradition of Excellence

Flowing ribbons of toilet paper adorned tree branches, bushes, and lawns as the sun rose in Shorewood and eager young students readied themselves for another exciting school year. As teachers welcomed each student and parents exchanged pleasantries, a popular topic was all the changes that were noticeable within the district. The newness of the renovated buildings sparked smiles and spurred conversation, as did the sight of new faces.

While some changes within the district are obvious, others are less noticeable, yet deserve a spotlight as they support Shorewood students and will aid in making this a phenomenal year for our district. SEED has granted funding to purchase new curriculum, equipment, and materials our schools need while also helping to maintain programs that make our schools so successful.

Since its inception almost 20 years ago, SEED donors have given tens of thousands of dollars back to our district every year. Toward the close of the 21-22 school year, SEED handed a check to the Shorewood School District for $150K. That check was used for the purchase of a Phonics Program up to grades 7 & 8 ($25.7K), Fine Arts Curriculum ($27K), and the continuation of the Partnership with Children’s Hospital for mental health services ($97.3K). In addition, SEED also approved grants totaling $22,145 and school wish list items totaling $11,775, for a grand total of $183,920 that was given to our schools this past spring

Paru Shah, Shorewood School Board President and Melissa Nelsen, SEED Board President.
Paru Shah, Shorewood School Board President and Melissa Nelsen, SEED Board President

On the phonics program, Interim Teaching and Learning Director Mike Joynt says, ”It’s exciting to have a community that supports the work that staff are doing to meet the needs of students. This summer our staff was able to set aside two weeks to discuss the impact of the early literacy phonics programs that were implemented in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Focusing on the foundational skill of phonics instruction will give all students the opportunity to become strong readers now and in the future. 4th-8th grade teachers were able to use this time to explore resources and update their curriculum and assessments to build upon the foundational skills covered in earlier grades. This school year we will use Wednesday Early Release time to provide time for all staff to continue to collaborate around this work and support students with resources aligned to this work through SEED funding. Because of the support that SEED has provided, we are able to continue building this program through 8th grade. At a time when school budgets are stretched thin, we are lucky to have a foundation like SEED to support our teachers and students in this work.”

Kate Harder, Director of Special Education and Student Services, also shared her gratitude to donors for the generous funding towards the partnership with Children’s Hospital. ”The need for child and adolescent mental health services has risen exponentially since the pandemic began, not just in our community but across the country, and we are now seeing families and learners who may not have previously had mental health needs encountering a need for additional support. That said, the Shorewood School District is extremely grateful to the Shorewood SEED Foundation for their substantial gift of funding towards the provision of mental health services for ALL Shorewood learners! By ensuring that all learners have access to high quality mental health services, we are working together to remove a barrier that many learners and families experience when looking to access mental health services. Mental health services within schools support student needs by fostering the learner’s ability to become emotionally ready to learn AND by reducing the amount of time away from learning, thanks to readily available services on site. We are so grateful for all that this partnership has already done, and look forward to the continued support for our learners and families.”

The Fine Arts Curriculum will also be an exciting addition to the school year, impacting students k-12. The arts are an important element of our schools, and in conjunction with the funding towards the Fine Arts Curriculum, SEED also granted Atwater and Lake Bluff elementary schools $2665 for double reed instruments. The continued support that the community has shown towards the arts in our schools has been nothing short of tremendous and remains a reason for why many people choose to live in Shorewood and send their children to the SSD.

Students perform at Band-O-Rama 2022.
Students perform at Band-O-Rama 2022

Other grants included $10,980 for Shorewood High School Physics lab equipment. “Physics is all about the world around us, giving students opportunities to utilize authentic hands-on lab equipment helps them to understand the complex mathematics involved. Wireless physics cars and some updated Physics equipment for Physics labs will allow all students more detailed data, regardless of what math class they are in, to help with high order thinking and data analysis,” explained Physics Teacher, Regina Schindel. She added, “This incredible grant is giving students some high end equipment. With our students all getting Chromebooks, updating our Physics equipment to include a smart car that will send its motion data right to the Chromebook is going to help our students spend more time examining data, analyzing results, and summarizing motion.”

Shorewood Intermediate School was given $8500 in a grant for a Social Emotional Learning Curriculum called Project Wayfinder. This is the second year SEED has funded this program, with the 20-21 school year being its first with a grant of $11,500. On the program, Interim Principal Sam Nadolsky explained, “During virtual learning we wanted to prioritize opportunities for students to connect with their peers and teachers, so we developed what we now call Community Circle. The idea was to provide an intentional time for students at the start of each day for a check-in point, ensuring every student had at least one teacher in the building they could connect with on a daily basis. With the grant from SEED, we were able to purchase the Project Wayfinder curriculum, which provided a structure to have important conversations with students such as conflict resolution, positive peer relationships, and self advocacy. Utilizing the Project Wayfinder curriculum has allowed us to provide more concrete support for students’ social and emotional wellness.”

Shorewood students pose for a picture on the high school running track.
Shorewood students pose for a picture on the high school running track

Each spring during the week before Swing with Shorewood, SEED’s premier fundraising event, there is an online auction for SEED that also raises money for the schools. Through that auction each school is able to ask for a specific need or item that community members can donate to. These are called “wishlist items.” This past spring, donors gave $1075 to Lake Bluff and Atwater Elementary Schools for an Urban Ecology partnership, $700 to SIS for circuit playgrounds, and $10K to SHS for the Watershed Wisdom program. Any child who has been on a field trip to the UEC with their class or a canoe trip with the Watershed Wisdom program knows how important these experiences are! SEED is so honored to be a vessel by which donors can keep these beloved programs running.

This year will have new highlights and also new areas of need. If you have given in the past, we thank you for your support of this District and its students! As you have read, your dollars have gone a long way in advancing our students’ learning and wellbeing in measurable ways. As we prepare to launch this year’s Annual Campaign, we invite you to join SEED in its mission to support our schools, maintaining a tradition of excellence. You can donate today by clicking the link below.

Tax ID Number: 04-3750042