IGNITE: Illuminating Goals Nurturing Interests Towards Engagement
District 49 was awarded a second grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) in 2017. Our 2016 grant focused on the social-emotional needs of our students through the BRIGHT (Building Restorative Interventions Growing Honorable Traditions) Initiative. Realizing that a student's social-emotional needs directly affect the classroom, meant bringing in Restorative Practices district-wide, to ensure social-emotional support for our students and staff. Now that these needs are being addressed, District 49 wanted to "IGNITE" the passion for learning again. With a strong focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and College and Career Readiness, IGNITE will bring opportunities to our qualifying elementary and middle schools to excite students about these possible career paths. Our goal is to build a strong foundation by strengthening the importance of reading for families through the United Through Reading program, followed by various opportunities for our staff and students to explore exciting new STEAM resources that will be available within our district through checkable resources, workshops, and assemblies.
And then we were awarded IGNITE: Expeditions. Yes, we were awarded a third grant from DoDEA in 2018. IGNITE: Expeditions will expand on the efforts of IGNITE to bring new and exciting STEAM opportunities to our students! This grant allows us to bring new virtual/augmented reality software to our students. This exciting technology will be available in all four zones and all students will have access. It has apps for learning across all subject areas, and will undoubtedly help us prepare our students for future career opportunities. Fall STEAM camps were offered starting fall break 2019. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were unable to offer Spring or Summer STEAM camps in 2020. We were able to start back up in Fall 2020, and have been slowly growing in student numbers each camp since, with this summer's offering having the highest number of students spots ever. Our mobile Expeditions bus was available for check out starting 2019-2020 and many of our schools took advantage of the opportunity, until March 2020. Fortunately, the 2021-2022 school year has allowed us to get the bus back out to our schools!
We are especially excited about serving our military families, considering their service to us. Keep an eye on your email, for an exciting opportunity for our Military-Connected students through the United Through Reading program, this 2021-2022 school year!