Recent Grants

2020 Music Grants Awarded by the GIEF

We are so thankful for last year’s “Derby Day: Race for Music” fundraiser sponsors and attendees.

So far, in 2020, we have been able to grant the GITS music program the following requests:

Sheet Music and Stands

Music Clinic

Woodwind Brass Instruments

Baritone Sax

French Horn

Alto Sax

Four Tubas

E Print Choir Music

Thank you for helping us go “Above and Beyond”!

The GIEF Funds An Elementary Literacy Grant Totally Over $95,000!

Kurt Kobiljak presented a check to Joe Reimann, Meridian Principal, Audrie Kalisz, Parke Lane Principal, and Jackie Timm, Elementary Media Specialist, for the funding of a literacy grant totaling over $95,000.

Money was raised at the recent GIEF fundraiser to fund the grant which will be used to purchase new guided reading books, provide teacher training, and create flexible learning centers with modern furniture and updated technology.

Thank you to everyone who supports the GIEF and our efforts to provide great learning opportunities for our GI students. We can’t do it without your help!

(Renderings of the new Parke Lane & Meridian Elementary School Media Centers)


GIEF Approves Over $31,000 in Educational Grants

Kurt Kobiljak, president of GIEF, visited three GI schools to deliver “checks” totaling over $31,000 to symbolize the commitment of the Grosse Ile Educational Foundation to fund the grants submitted over the past two months:

  • $18,002 for High School SAT Prep Program, submitted by Paul Szymanski, Principal of GIHS. Objectives of the SAT Prep Program include familiarizing students with the SAT test, improving test taking & problem solving skill and and increasing the baseline SAT scores on average by 150 points.
  • $6,800 to help cover the start-up costs to expand the Wired Devils Robotics program to Meridian Elementary School. This grant was written by Wired Devil coaches, Nick Battishill, teacher at GIHS, and Yi-Chia Schmaeman.  The money will go towards laptops, joy-stick controls, safety supplies, playing field builds and training.
  • $4,390 to continue the WEB Program at the GI Middle School for the 2016-2017 school year, submitted by Susan Dusute, teacher at GIMS. The Web Program is a peer mentoring program where members of the 8th grade class go through extensive training to become role models, motivators and teachers for the 6th grade students.  WEB creates an environment where all students feel connected thereby creating an atmosphere free from bullying and intimidation.
  • $1,350 to fund STEM activities at Meridian Elementary School. This grant was submitted by Michele Barringer, 3rd grade teacher at Meridian, but will be utilized by all teachers at the school.  This creative program incorporates science, technology, engineering and math in multi-age groupings throughout the school.  All students 3-5 will participate in small groups of 6 to solve real world challenges.  STEM activities foster discovery and encourages children to build and use math and science skills in other areas of their lives.
  • $1,295 for the grant written by Meridian Principal, Joseph Reimann, along with teachers: Derek Kruslemsky, Pam Schiesel, Nora Kowalski and Nichole Payne to fund a web-based curricular program called Mobymax. This program will enhance the ability to meet the needs of every learner at Meridian through enrichment practice or remediation.  Because it is a web-based program, students may also access their accounts from home allowing additional practice time beyond the school day.

Earlier in the school year GIEF approved close to $3,500 in educational grants at Parke Lane Elementary School including furniture and other items for a sensory room, materials to enhance the math department and scholastic news subscription for 1st grade students.  In addition, the Middle School art department received $615 for their clay art program.

The Grosse Ile Educational Foundation, Inc. is a volunteer, non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization.  Money is raised through donations, sponsorships and attendance of yearly fundraisers.  The next event is the “Hawaiian Bash” scheduled for May 13th at Centennial Farm.  Hawaiian food & beverages will be served while listening to live island music by a steel drum band. If you would like to sponsor the Hawaiian Bash or would like more information on GIEF and our fundraising events, please contact Jackie DeSana, 734-934-4786 or Amy Rossi,

Parke Lane Scholastic News

Kurt Kobiljak, President of GIEF, presents Audrie Kalisz, Principal, and Nancy Pilkington, 1st Grade Teacher, with a check to fund the Scholastic News Grant.

Nancy Pilkington wrote the grant because she believes “Scholastic News Magazine fulfills an important area with first grade students with nonfiction skills and themes.”  The science and social studies content is timely and at a first grade level but progresses and develops as the student does throughout the year.

GIEF is proud to continue this program with Parke Lane.

Rowing Grant

Grant Amount: $13,500

The Physical Education department at Meridian and GI Middle Schools are getting ready to add indoor rowing classes to their curriculum thanks to a grant provided by GIEF to purchase 15 ergometers, or indoor rowing machines.

According to Eric Flessland, President of the GI Rowing Club, the idea to bring this program to Grosse Ile came from the George Pocock Rowing Foundation which introduced a similar program in Seattle, WA.  Due to its success, the U.S. Rowing Foundation partnered with GPRF to make it available to students across the country.  The GI Rowing Club strongly supports “Erg Education – a classroom-based indoor rowing education program which brings indoor rowing equipment, technology, a fully-developed curriculum and highly qualified training instruction to middle school physical education classes so teaches and students can access rowing without leaving the classroom.”

The approval of this grant will integrate Erg Education into the Grosse Ile schools physical education curriculum.  Justin Trombka, P.E. teacher at the Middle School will be principally responsible for developing the new program.  This ERG educational opportunity will be available to all 3-12 students starting in the 2016-2017 school year.

Classroom Technology

Grant Amount: $24,084  (chromebooks/accessories), $5,832.67 (iPods)

Grosse Ile Township Schools believe “technology is a required communication skill of the modern era.”  GIEF recognizes that in order to keep up with the ever-changing environment, students and staff must have the proper resources to make GITS a world-class district.

Last year, GIEF approved grants totaling over $30,000 in technology for GI schools.  The K-5 Computer Education Curriculum was supported at Meridian Elementary School by adding 64 new Chromebooks to their classrooms.  The second graders at Parke Lane enhanced their ELA program with iPod Touches.

When effectively integrated into solid curriculum, technology can be a powerful tool in enhancing the learning experience.  GITS is fortunate to have a solid plan, educated staff, and up-to-date tools to take our students to the highest level possible.

On-line learning

Wired Devils – GI Robotics Club

Grant Amount: $5,000

GIEF was proud to be a sponsor, along with NASA, BASF and Autoliv, of the first Robotics team at Grosse Ile High School.  The “Wired Devils” were recognized with a Rookie All Star Award at the States Competition in April  ’15 and earned their way to the World competition just two weeks later.

The Rookie Award was created to recognize new teams that demonstrate the greatest commitment to spreading passion about science and technology into their communities and schools.  For that reason, GIEF agreed to fund the grant that will cover the 2016 registration fees to continue as a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology) Robotics Team.

Symphonic Band’s Marching Band Uniforms

Grant Amount: $24,325

It is a good problem to have: enrollment in the GIHS Symphonic Band’s Marching Band has increased from, 74 students to 110 over the last six years; a 48% increase! As a result, there were not enough uniforms to outfit our growing band. The former band uniforms were purchased in 1999 and after 11 seasons of repeated alterations and cleaning, they were showing signs of wear and tear.

A creative partnership between the Grosse Ile Educational Foundation and Music Boosters raised $55,000 for 130 new marching band uniforms.

The snazzy new Red Devils’ black and scarlet uniforms include jackets, pants, shakos and plumes for 115 band members with a 10% surplus to accommodate additional growth and different size requirements. Since the life span of a marching band uniform is approximately 10-12 years, today’s kindergartners will even benefit from this generous GIEF grant.

As a component of the Symphonic Band, Marching Band’s objective is to continue the development of musical skills through the student’s individual performance medium. Research supports that Marching Band participation may increase SAT scores an average of 20 to 40 points, that Music Students tend to have higher GPAs, and playing an instrument over time refines brain development. GIEF is pleased to purchase new uniforms for the Grosse Ile High School Marching Band. The band represents our school at home football games, local parades and events, as well as marching band competitions. The Red Devil band is an iconic symbol of pride for our school and community.

Symphonic Band

Foreign Language

Grant Amount: $125,000 ($25,000/year for 5 years)

¿Habla espanol? Elementary students in grades 3-5 do! This grant is providing these Grosse Ile students with a quality, Spanish language program.

Research shows that learning a second language at an early age has a positive effect on intellectual growth and leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and improved listening skills. As students continue their study of both languages through the upper grades, they are far ahead of other candidates applying for jobs into today’s diverse working world.

Learning a second language can also improve a child’s understanding of his or her native language. As a child acquires language structures in the second language, he or she is continuously scaffolding, connecting, and comparing these new structures to what is already known. PBS Article

GIEF’s Elementary Spanish Program at Meridian Elementary prepares our students for more rigorous study at the middle and high school levels and enhances Grosse Ile students’ ability to compete in the global marketplace. The Kristin A. Connors Endowment Fund for Foreign Languages & International Studies was created within the GIEF by Joe & Jan Connors in memory of their daughter, Kristin, a Grosse Ile High School alumnus, to support programs like Elementary World Language. Your donation to the endowment can ensure programs like this continue.

!Muchísimas gracias GIEF!

Professional Development

Grant Amount: $15,031

GIEF believes in helping our teachers Go Above and Beyond too, funded partially through our Ed Mayne Endowment for Teacher Education. We funded the teacher-focused grant “Building Common Assessments” as a part of the Professional Learning Communities training last fall. Training 21 administrators and teachers across all grade levels, subjects included:

  • Developing collaboration and consensus to determine the precise curriculum
  • Identifying Power Standards and “I Can” Statements for students and parents to understand and use dail
  • Creating common assessments for common learning targets
  • Fostering regular teacher evaluation of effective instructional strategies
  • Developing instructional interventions for struggling students and challenging activities for those who need them
    Grosse Ile Educational Foundation

This new Common Assessment system has the potential to completely change instruction, staff beliefs and practices, assessments, and curriculum in the district. “The potential for change and improvement for Grosse Ile is continuous and may be the biggest single impacting process in the history of the district,” according to Bill Eis, Supt of GI Schools.

GIEF is instrumental in providing the training for our teachers to keep pace with 21st century best practices; moving Grosse Ile Above and Beyond.


Professional Development & Curriculum Enhancement
Struggling Readers Intervention System

Grant Amount: $13,750

“Learning does not occur in stages but is a continually evolving process that does not automatically happen; most students need expert teaching to develop high levels of reading and writing expertise.”

This Leveled Literacy Intervention grant provides teacher training, professional ongoing support and leveled reading materials for struggling readers in K-3rd grade to ensure that all are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

This supplementary program from GIEF is led by Parke Lane and Meridian principals and teachers to provide intensive support to help early learners achieve grade-level competency. Honor your child’s teacher with a donation in their name to ensure programs like this may continue.

Curriculum Enhancement
ACT Preparation Course

Grant Amount: $12,248

Grosse Ile High School will partner with Cambridge Educational Services to prepare our entire junior class for the March, 2012 ACT/MME test thanks to this very generous grant. Every student will participate in a three-hour ACT prep workshop, take two released ACT tests and receive detailed scoring and feedback to improve their scores.

Research clearly shows that test preparation improves students’ performance on the ACT. These scores help students by increasing their chances to be admitted to better colleges and also improves their chances of receiving a scholarship. In addition, our school, district, and community benefit. Last year GIHS implemented a lesser version of this program and realized significant gains compared to both the practice test students took and to previous years. GIHS math scores on the MME jumped an amazing 15%.

The higher scores on both ACT (from 21.8 in 2010 to 22.6 in 2011) and MME helped students as noted above and brought recognition for our school and district, including top-ten MME scores in Reading, Math, and Science, the top MME scores in Metro Detroit and #3 highest in the state, and recognition by Newsweek Magazine as “One of America’s Best High Schools” (June, 2011). This GIEF grant truly supports the mission of Going Above and Beyond for our students.

Study Island (Math, English Language Arts, and Science)
On-line Tutoring & Assessment Program

Grant Amount: $11,935

GIEF and you have invested over $26,000 since 2007 to fund Study Island for our 2nd – 5th graders. Study Island is an easy-to-use, web-based instruction, practice, assessment & reporting program based on the state of Michigan’s Standards. It is an entertaining and convenient way to reinforce important skills, as the students can use it at home in addition to the classroom. Mr. Swick and Mrs. Kubiak, teachers at Parke Lane Elementary & Meridian, have this to say about Study Island: “Students enjoy using the Study Island program because it reinforces the state benchmarks in a fun and friendly, game-based fashion. Since our students have been using this program, we have seen an improvement in their MEAP scores as an added bonus. This has been a wonderful tool for our students.”

Curriculum Enhancement
Exchange City Commerce Curriculum & Field Trip

Grant Amount: $11,230

Exchange City is a remarkable hands-on learning experience for our 5th Graders. The interactive experience combines an exciting standards-based curriculum taught by teachers in their classroom followed by a field trip visit to a life-size, state-of-the-art city run by the students.

Students begin with an eight-week, integrated curriculum that correlates with state frameworks for Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Economics, Technology Skills and Civics.

Then the Immersive Learning™ hands-on program gives students the opportunity to put those concepts to work in a real life simulation. Fifth graders increase their passion for learning through real life applications like electing officials and applying for jobs in Exchange City. Their studies culminate in a daylong field trip as they role-play to run the city and learn the interdependence of a real-world work place. Improved test scores and increased student attendance rates have been attributed to Exchange City participation.

Science & Math

Grant Amount: $11,400

GIEF is opening the eyes of High School Science students with 20 state-of-the-art microscopes. The new compound microscopes will enable Biology, AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology students to explore the microbiological world via prepared slides and live specimens in mandated classroom labs. GIEF is also funding a complementary digital camera system for the teacher’s microscope, allowing guidance and instruction when specimens are limited or to demonstrate technique.

Lifetime Fitness
Bigger, Faster, Stronger Conditioning System
Athletic Coaches Seminar & Training

Grant Amount: $10,000 & $400

Grosse Ile’s interscholastic athletic program teaches mental and physical self-discipline, teamwork, leadership, and the ability to deal with adversity. Over two-thirds of GI’s high school students participate on one of GIHS interscholastic teams or clubs.

The new GIEF Bigger, Faster, Stronger grant unifies high school athletic training in a single strength and conditioning program. This makes it easier for multi-sport athletes to maintain steady progress throughout the entire year and increases athletic performance regardless of gender. Student Athletes work out on four-week cycles, M,W,F and cardio/plyo/sprints on T, TH with three 45-minute workouts per week.

Unification of a weight-training program eliminates confusion, student burn out and the ‘territorial concept’ of the weight room. The new BFS system is located in the Football Building and is available to all physical education classes and all athletic teams.

GIEF also sponsored Grosse Ile Athletic Coaches attendance at The National High School Athletic Coaches Association 2011 Annual Convention in Grand Rapids. The NHSACA invites highly successful coaches to present proven methods of coaching, improving GIHS coaches ability to teach our 300 or more student athletes.

Grosse Ile coaches are educators in Lifetime Fitness and the athletic field is an extension of the classroom providing valuable lessons for our students. Please help support Lifetime Fitness grants through a donation to our Annual fund or the Anthony Dubuar Fund for Health, Physical Education and Fitness.

Science & Math
TI-15 Scientific Calculators for Elementary Math

Grant Amount: $6,820

GIEF has put a calculator in the hands of every Meridian Elementary student to advance mathematics learning. These 450 calculators will promote higher-order thinking and reasoning needed for problem solving and will increase students’ understanding of and fluency with arithmetic operations and numerical relationships. These fully funded calculators enable students to engage in mathematically rich problems that involve recognizing and extending patterns, testing ideas, and exploring relationships, without getting caught up in the mechanics of rote computation. This grants really “Adds Up” for all Meridian students.

Curriculum Enhancement
Elementary Reading Books & Magazines

Grant Amount: $5,622

GIEF has expanded on their initial $62,000 investment in the Elementary Leveled Reading Books with these new grants. New reading materials include non-fiction books, additional genres of particular interest to boys and magazines for the Daily 5 First Grade literacy instruction. These expanded book selections increase the range of reading topics for our students, aiding in fluency and meeting the interest of more readers.

Arts and Humanities
Pottery Wheels, Art Books, Drying Racks

Grant Amount: $5,609

Teaching the art of throwing pottery also develops habits of mind such as patience, perseverance and practice in analysis and problem solving. All of these are greatly enhanced with the three new electric pottery wheels funded by GIEF.

The new wheels with removable plastic bats enable 21 students a day to work on pottery in sustained practice, a requirement when learning to throw pottery. Spatial tasks, analysis and synthesis are some of the skills developed in this college level experience at our high school.

Our middle school art students now have ample storage space to place two-dimensional work that needs additional time to dry (painting, collages, dyed fabric, etc.) thanks to the GIEF funded drying racks.

Grosse Ile Educational Foundation
These drying racks reduce student activity in the hallways during class time, eliminate damage done to the floors from the wet projects, and protect the student’s work from the possibility of being stepped on/ruined in the hallway.

The middle school art curriculum provides a fully rounded art experience, with skill development, knowledge of traditional strategies, and an understanding of art as an important form of communication, a historical document, and an extremely valuable opportunity for creative expression. The lessons offer a variety of mediums, and the new art racks reassure students that their projects are being handled with care and respect.

Pottery Wheels

Curriculum Enhancement
Lake Erie & Lansing Field Trips

Grant Amount: $5,035

Our elementary students’ world of learning extends beyond Meridian Elementary thanks to the generosity of GIEF. The Great Lakes Education Program introduces fourth-grade students to the unique features of the Great Lakes through a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience. It is designed to stimulate interest in the Great Lakes and help students understand their role in protecting these vital freshwater resources. GIEF generously funded this trip for every fourth grade student, to foster an understanding of the local ecosystems of our communities. Five classes attended this field trip in May spending half of the day on the school ship and remainder on shore in classes taught by Lake Erie Metro Parks.

Grosse Ile Educational Foundation
In conjunction with the third grade standards and benchmarks, all Third Grade students visited the state capitol and historical museum in Lansing thanks to GIEF.

This fully funded field trip to Lansing enhances the Social Studies curriculum for our Third graders. It reinforces classroom learning and provides real-life experiences with our state government.

Lake Erie Field Trip

Curriculum Enhancement
Geography Map Rugs and Study Materials

Grant Amount: $3,340

New maps specifically designed to be developmentally appropriate for our Second Graders are bringing both visual and kinesthetic teaching and learning opportunities to Parke Lane. These maps will be used year round in a variety of cross-curricular activities supporting science, social studies, math, and ELA concepts.

The new geography materials include mounted world and United States maps and a 16″ globe in Gyro-disc and a 6′ x 9′ United States Classroom Carpets Map for all 2nd Grade classrooms. Students are amazed to “drive a toy car through all of the states they’ve visited” on the new carpet maps.

Grosse Ile Educational Foundation
Important geo concepts are more easily demonstrated using these hands-on tools including oceans of the world, continents, North America, countries, States, landforms, compass directions, Great Lakes, proportion & scale, and proper nouns. “The maps & globe have made a fundamental difference in enriching our Social Studies curriculum,” according to 2nd Grade Teacher, Mrs. Ader.


Arts & Humanities
Boar’s Head Festival

Grant Amount: $3,000

An island-wide Christmas celebration with music and pageantry, the Boar’s Head Festival is thought to be an American custom of English origin. The 2011 Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festival pageant displays both the colorful magnificence of the great feast and the simple beauty of the Christmas story.

More than 600 people sing, perform or contribute their skills in the production of the festival by working on sets, costumes, lights, sound, publicity and programs under the education and guidance of local experts. Spectators will see and hear a brass ensemble, recorders, hand bells, bagpipes, harpsichord, singers, dancers, tumblers, jesters, townspeople and a Christmas story. Musicians include an adult, youth and children’s choir of over 100 voices and a 25 -piece orchestra.

This community-based grant is a shining example of creative and exemplary life-long educational opportunities for Grosse Ile residents.

Boar's Head Festival

Grosse Ile Nature & Land Conservancy Courtyard

Grant Amount: $1,000

The GINLC is working with Parke Lane Elementary School to create a living habitat where young students learn through hands-on experiences using observations and questioning techniques. Together, they redesigned the centrally located outdoor courtyard at the Parke Lane Elementary School building by creating a dynamic butterfly habitat, vegetable garden, and compost area. GIEF helped to transform this unused area of the school into a dynamic learning environment by funding the finishing touches to the heart of the garden. These elements included a fountain (with water pump and timer), 4 umbrellas to complete the 4 existing tables in the area, a rain barrel and compost bin.

Nature & Land Conservancy Courtyard

GIEF is You

GIEF represents the best of Grosse Ile, who we are and what we believe in. We are a pay it back and pay it forward community that values education and its impact on our quality of life. Without You, GIEF is not possible. Without You, grants, promised programs and future funding will simply end. Please join the generous donors listed with an annual donation to GIEF.