Special Projects

Special Projects

Special projects at RAS include many different opportunities to engage students in their education. Below are some recent examples. If you have an interest in collaborating on a special project with RAS, please contact Bryan Kendall at bkendall@rasblm.org or 309-828-5807.


Spring 2017

FullSizeRender (2)

Mr. Folkens Awarded Corn Belt Energy Education Grant

In a surprise visit, Corn Belt Energy awarded Mr. Folkens with a $1500 education grant for 2017. He is one of six recipients and plans to use the money to purchase more 3D printers and supplies. Great job, Mr. Folkens! We are proud of your hard work!







RAS Student Ambassadors Host U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL)

Our Student Ambassadors welcomed U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis, who represents Illinois’ 13th District in Washington D.C., to RAS on April 19th. The group toured the school and discussed the importance of education and overcoming hardships in order to be successful. Representative Davis was the third politician to visit our school in the past year. We welcomed Governor Bruce Rauner last summer and Illinois Representative Keith Sommer in the fall.




RAS Partners with Dr. Hatt’s EAF 228 Class from ISU

For the second straight semester, RAS staff is happy to work with future educators through Dr. Hatt’s EAF 228 class. Students are paired with teachers and success coaches in order to gain a better understanding of working with urban and at-risk youth.






Student Ambassadors Open the 2017 ICEARY Conference

Our three Student Ambassadors, Logan S, Sabrina R and Corrie G, did a phenomenal job opening this year’s ICEARY Conference held at the Marriott in Normal held March 2nd and 3rd. They led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and Logan ended with same great laughs channeling his inner Chris Farley.





image1 (4) IMG_1563



RAS Students Participate in Post-Secondary Planning Day

In March, our students had the opportunity to meet with local businesses, military recruiters, community colleges and trade schools to discuss opportunities available after high school graduation.  Mrs. Schenk, our Vocational Coordinator, did a great job organizing the event with her college interns, Miss Denton and Miss Bullock.



Fall 2016


RAS to Host Holiday Party for Students

We are happy to be partnering with St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church to provide gifts for our students with children, in addition to celebrating the holidays with them. We will have a holiday party on Friday, December 16th from 12-2 p.m. in our Flexible Learning Space.



img_0158    img_0170

#GivingTuesday Open House at RAS

In hopes of raising funds to create a more flexible learning environment for our students, we hosted a #GivingTuesday Open House on Tuesday, November 29th and invited area leaders in education, business and community organizations. Logan S, Josh W and Corrie G did a great job representing our students as they spoke with our guests about our school and the Flex Space. We have currently raised $3,493.65 and are seeking more donations through www.gofundme.com/ras-givingtuesday-flex-space.




RAS Student Ambassadors Visit Springfield

Through ICEARY, three RAS students had the opportunity to spend the day in the state capital. Mr. Kendall chaperoned the visit with Corrie G, Sabrina R and Logan S as they learned about state legislation that affects alternative schools. The students had the chance to improve their speaking skills in hopes of addressing legislators one day.


img_0303     img_0304

RAS Opens Food Pantry

We are excited to announce our partnership with the Eastern Illinois Foodbank! RAS is now a site where our students and their families can shop for food items needed in their homes. We receive many items that can be combined into healthy meals.




The Community Resource Room at RAS

We have been fortunate to receive hundreds of donations from the community to better serve our students and their families. With the YEP Grant through the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, we have been able to purchase shelving and organization tools to make the space easily accessible. We are always seeking gently used clothing, winter coats, diapers, laundry detergent, hygiene items and household goods.


Fall 2015

ISU Touring Group Presentation

Once again, the ISU Touring Theater Group came to RAS to present a modern look at Shakespeare. Last year the group engaged the RAS audience with their version of Othello, while this year, the actors kept us all laughing with As You Like It. After the performance, RAS students were given the chance to chat with the actors and ask questions about the theater program at ISU.

2nd Annual ShakesFEAR Haunted Walk

RAS and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival worked together again this Halloween to scare local patrons on the grounds of Ewing Manor. Students and staff participated in a production meeting at the school, performed at auditions and acted in the production. Partial funding for this program was due to the Harmon Arts Grant.

Black Girl EmpowermentBlack Girl Empowerment Group

The RAS Black Girl Empowerment Group would like to thank the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation YEP (Youth Engaged in PhilanthropY Grant for providing the opportunity to engage in spoken word, poetry and theater games.





Spring 2015

ISU partnership

Students from RAS visited the Studio TEaCH in Degarmo 307 at Illinois State University for a couple of classes in the Spring Semester to explore their flexible learning spaces to explore a different learning space.

ISU Degarmo 307 visit w/ACE classroom on 2/12/15

Pollinator Day

RAS/Pontiac enjoyed a great day helping to spread the word about the importance of pollinators (bats, bees and butterflies) to our environment!
On May 14 the Pontiac RAS campus was “buzzing” with the visitors from local schools as well as from our families and others interested in our many projects and products promoting pollinators.

Our staff and students offered a variety of children’s activities for some local school students and products such as local raw clover honey, beeswax candles, bat houses, raised garden beds, Mason bee hives and plants promoting Monarch butterfly migration.
Thanks to all who helped make this day possible! Our staff, students and visitors had a great time!

Pollinator Day

RAS invites you to our Pontiac campus to help spread the word about the importance of pollinators (bats, bees and butterflies) to our environment!

May 14th from 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. and 1:00-3:00 pm. at 905 Custer Avenue, Pontiac

  • Children’s activities available
  • Student made products available to purchase:
    • Local raw Clover honey
    • Beeswax candles
    • Bat houses
    • Raised garden beds
    • Mason bee hives
    • Plants promoting Monarch butterfly migration

Please join us for a day of sun, fun and learning!

United Way LogoRAS Book Club

Funded through the United Way of McLean County, RAS now had a book club for students to participate in with staff members. The first book of the semester was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nivan. Next, we are going to read a mystery called A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton. Please see any teacher for information on how to participate.


Fall 2014


This was a new, innovative, collaborative program RAS participated in with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Halloween was taken to a new level with a Shakespeare-themed haunted trail on the grounds of Ewing Manor. Students and staff participated in acting workshops at the school, assisted in building props, and acted in the production. Partial funding for this program was due to the Harmon Arts Grant.





Summer 2014

MSFMY Day 5 021Modern Shakespeare for Modern Youth

Due to funding from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, State Farm, and ROE #17, RAS partnered with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival to offer summer class to students. The students worked with three professional artists during workshops held at the school. Students read parts of Much ado About Nothing, re-wrote scenes in their own words, and performed these new scenes set to hip hop music.

View video clip

Spring 2014


Chris O. TillingSchool Garden

During the spring of 2014, RAS formed a new partnership with the Community Garden through the West Bloomington Revitalization Project. RAS students learned how to grow plants from seeds, till the earth, transplant their seedlings, water, and weed. Any RAS student that participated in this project will be able to harvest any vegetables to take home. Thank you to Val Dumser for her support and guidance through this project and to Wendell Niepagen Greenhouses and Garden Center for the donation of the tomato plants.


sculpture afternoon 018School Sculptures

In April of 2014, students from RAS were invited to participate in workshops lead by artist Kevin Reese. Mr. Reese taught students concepts in balance and design. The students assisted Mr. Reese in creating a large mobile that currently hangs in the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts.

View Video clip


student with bee hive students with bat housesAlternatives for a Better Environment (A.B.E)

A.B.E. is an on-going environmental group started by the RAS students in Livingston County. Through this group, students have learned about saving bats from the White Nose Syndrome and saving bees from colony collapse. Students have built and sold bat houses, appeared in local media outlets, educated community members, and now have their own beehive. To find out more about these projects, please contact Gary Norris at gnorris@rasblm.org.


Fall 2013

mural videos 008Mural Project with Joel Bergner

October of 2013 was an exciting month for students at RAS. Due to funding and partnerships with the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, the Jerome Mirza Foundation, Robert and Vicki Varney, Checker Cab, McLean County Arts Center, and the Downtown Bloomington Association, 16 students worked with global artist Joel Bergner on the design and creation of the mural “From the Ashes: Second Chances.” This wonderful piece of art is located at 121 N. Main in Bloomington, IL.

View Video clip 1

View video clip 2



Leave a Reply