To date we have given out close to $200,000 in grant funding.
At it's September board meeting, the Southington Education Foundation
approved the following grants.
Beehives - Apiculture in Agriculture:
The SEF awarded $4,398 to Jennifer Shields at Southington High School
for this grant.
The current movement in agriculture is the localizing and greening movement,
and beekeeping fits into both of those categories. Beekeeping is important to
learn about because of their impact on the local environment (they will
pollinate crops and flowers within a three mile radius), and it is important to
teach awareness of bees because of their recent decline in population. Bees
sustain agriculture because of their pollinating abilities, but also because of
the beeswax and honey they produce themselves as a crop. Due to the limited
space requirements, and their endless benefits, beekeeping is becoming a very
popular hobby and farm crop.
This project will fill the gap in the curriculum for apiculture and
beekeeping where there was none before. Students will not only learn about bees
in the classroom but they will then be able to apply their skills by maintaining
a beehive and performing hands-on work and skills.
This project will benefit the Southington community because of the
accessibility of the hive location for educational purposes, it will be
maintained by students, it will provide pollinating service to those nearby, and
it will produce products to be sold to the public. Bees will benefit
LEAF as well as all plants, gardens, and forest within 3
miles of the hive. Bees will travel up to three miles for food, and they will
help pollinate Southington resident gardens, and wild plants to benefit many
members of the town once they are installed. It is difficult to teach about
beekeeping without being able to see and inspect a working hive. The products
from the bees will teach students about entrepreneurship and how to market,
package, price, and sell products.
Flexible Seating in the Classroom
The SEF awarded $2,576 to Gina Krar, Jessica Fletcher and Adriana
Chiappelli at Plantsville Elementary School for this grant.
Research shows that students struggle with anxiety more now than ever. Part
of the cause is that we are asking more of them than they are developmentally
ready to handle.This includes sitting in a chair for long periods of time. We
are proposing flexible seating in our first grade classrooms to allow our
students to move throughout the day, which in turn helps them engage in their
learning, increase their productivity, instill a love for learning, and it will
do a small part to help combat childhood obesity.
Although we regularly include movement breaks throughout our day, flexible
seating takes movement one step further. Students can move, engage their core,
fidget, and more while they are learning. A student-centered classroom is one in
which students will learn best. Imagine walking into a classroom during writer’s
workshop. You look around and see children laying on their bellies with a
clipboard or sitting up on their knees at a lowered table. Some are standing at
higher tables while their feet fidget with therabands and others are moving side
to side on wobble stools or stability disks.
All students are engaged in their
writing because they were able to choose which style of movement and position
helps them learn the best. We have read many studies by both teachers and
professionals who have used flexible seating and they all have found positive
effects on their students.
Learn more -
read the Southington Observer story.
At it's January board meeting, the Southington Education Foundation became a
Gold Sponsor of the SHS FIRST Robotics Team 195, the Cyber Knights
with a $1,500 donation to the team.
The mission of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
is "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology
are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology
leaders." That mission perfectly correlates with the SEF’s desire to bring
awareness to the need for STEM enrichment in our district’s curriculum.
Since 2013, SEF has awarded $8,500 to the Cyber Knights program and is proud to
support and enhance such programming.
Through a $4,993 grant awarded by the Southington Education Foundation (SEF), Math
Conceptual Development kits have been purchased for every family day care
provider, nursery school and child care center in town. These math kits were
conceptualized and created as a partnership between the Southington Public
Schools (SPS) Math Coordinator’s Office and the Early Childhood Collaborative
of Southington (ECCS).
Directors and staff at Southington's early childcare providers were invited
Sept. 14 to a workshop to learn about math skills for young children and
activities to do with the math manipulatives in these kits. Dale Reidinger, the
SPS Math Coordinator, identified the components, purchased the materials and
will do the training. The kits contents, which were assembled by volunteers from
the SEF, ECCS and SPS, include Unifix Cubes, Pattern Blocks, Attribute Blocks,
dice, instructions and more.
“The Southington Education Foundation is pleased to provide funding for the
Arithmatricks grant requested by the Early Childhood Collaborative of
Southington,” said Jan Galati of the SEF. “The Grants committee determined this
project as an opportunity to provide hands on experiences in math and reasoning
skills to preschoolers who will later move on to the public school system.”
“Young children experience mathematics all around them helping them to make
sense of their world,” said Dale Reidinger. “Some basic mathematical concepts
such as patterns and sequencing develop early in both infants and toddlers with
simple early games we play with them. Recognizing patterns helps them to
understand how the world works and sequencing helps to develop a sense of order,
logic and reason. As they play, observe and interact with others, they learn to
construct mathematical ideas in very informal but important ways. In these early
years they will compare size and quantity, measure, build, recognize and create
patterns and shapes, and sort and classify objects by their attributes. These
early experiences show us that preschool children have a natural ability and
interest to engage in mathematical thinking and problem solving.”
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Association
for the Education of Young Children issued a joint
statement: “High quality, engaging, and accessible mathematics education for
3-to-6-year-old children is a vital foundation for future mathematics learning.”
Studies have shown that having knowledge of basic math concepts is strong
predictor of later achievement of both math and reading.
An important educational goal is for children to have “good number sense.”
Children need a wide variety of experiences and activities to help them
construct many ideas about numbers. They must see relationships between numbers
with connections to the real world using simple tasks. Conceptual understanding
of numbers includes seeing relationships between more, less or equal in a group
of objects; counting and numeral recognition. Counting tells how many items
there are in a group. Young children must count with objects and while counting
they need to associate one number count with every one object.
Click a photo below for a larger image.
May 25, 2016
While walking the trail through Plantsville, make sure to stop to admire the
work of our talented third graders. Their mural, unveiled May 25, 2016, is
located by Dean's Stove and Spa, and depicts various attractions throughout
A big shout out to the the art teachers who oversaw this project, especially
Barb Szymanski, Art Teacher, Kelley, Thalberg, Plantsville and Derynoski
The project was funded by the Southington Education Foundation (SEF) and the
Community Foundation of Greater New Britain in collaboration with Southington
Public Schools and the New Britain Museum of American Art.
Click a photo below for a larger image.
Southington Education Foundation Partners with the Community Foundation of
Greater New Britain In Support of the Third Grade Artist in Residence Program
Together with the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain the Southington
Education Foundation funded a cultural experience that reached nearly 500 third
graders in the Southington Public School system during the school year
The Third Grade Artist in Residence Program began with conversations among
representatives from the CFGNB, SEF, school administrators and art teachers.
This project was seen as a wonderful opportunity to enhance the arts experience
of younger children by integrating Southington history and landscape art and, in
doing so, grow students’ cultural knowledge.
Through this program teachers received professional development to increase
their skills and knowledge in photo collage. Students worked with their art
teachers and a specialist in the art of collage to produce at least one piece of
art per school. The planned field trip to the New Museum of American Art allowed
young learners to view real art and align it with their learning in the
classroom. The photo collages hang in all eight elementary schools where
students, staff, parents and all visitors can enjoy the work of these young
Click photos below for a larger image.
A special Thank You to the Art Teachers who were involved in the Photo
- Dana Baldwin
- Joelle Castonguay
- Luciana Florio
- Lauren Klein
- Jessica Leiss
- Barbara Szymanski
Kudos also to Karen Smith, past Southington Assistant Superintendent and Jan
Verderame, Derynoski Elementary School principal, who together initiated and
oversaw this project throughout its duration.
Jessica Leiss will join the art teachers as they take part in the 2015-2016
Artist in Residence Project, jointly supported by the SEF and the CFGNB.
|The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain and the Southington Education
Foundation team up to provide art lessons for every third-grader.
Story by: Farrah Duffany/Record-Journal
All 475 students from the eight elementary schools visited the New Britain
Museum of American Art in the spring and had in-school, hands-on art lessons
by an artist in residence from the museum. Students created Connecticut
landscapes, which ties into the third grade curriculum.
"The New Britain Museum of
Art is just a gem in our back yard," said Jan Galati, chairman of the
Southington Education Foundation. "Our mission is to expand learning experiences
for students with things that are exciting, creative, and hands on."
About $9,000 of the $24,875 in grant funding for the program came from the
Southington Education Foundation and the rest from the Community Foundation of
Greater New Britain. The education foundation is a non-profit dedicated to
raising funds for school programs. The community foundation works with Berlin,
New Britain, Plainville, and Southington to raise funds and develop
The art program has been in the works since 2012.
Teachers visited the museum for professional development and to learn about the
program. “It’s an undertaking, but it’s something that we do,” said Mare.
A survey conducted by the museum found that only 35 percent of Southington
third-graders have visited an art museum and 10 percent have visited New
Britain’s museum. Galati said it was a “startling” and “alarming” statistic.
Students should have more exposure to the arts, she said. The education
foundation has supported many programs on science and technology.
“This is an example where we want to support the arts as well,” said Alan
DeBisschop, past treasurer of the Southington Education Foundation.
Students visited the museum for a few hours, one bus at a time, and studied some
of the different landscapes in the museum. They were shown a variety of other
genres as well.
June 4, 2014
The June 4th reception at Thalberg School marked the tenth round of grants
conveyed to educators and again there was reason for excitement.
Chanel Curtin, a teacher
at Thalberg School was awarded a grant which allows her to start a robotics team
next fall through the national program First Lego League. The interest among
fourth grade students was so amazing that Curtin needed to devise an application
process to narrow the field of candidates. The FLL team is comprised of 10
fourth-grade students whose mission is to construct a robot that will maneuver
through an obstacle course. Each year a new challenge is presented to FLL teams
and next December a competition will be held in Berlin. According to competition
rules, points are awarded for each robot’s performance which ultimately results
in its placement in the competition. Curtin explained that robotics fosters
independent thinking and problem solving skills and team members will be able to
continue their interest in robotics at the middle school and high school levels.
At South End
School Marion Virello, the food services manager, and Ellen Bellinger, a first
grade teacher, combined to create an indoor organic vegetable garden, an
activity that they had heard about in New York City schools. Virello reported
that it took about 20 hours to complete assembly of the eight-foot long raised
beds that are housed in the cafeteria for all students to view. Once the
construction was complete the students in the garden club set to work to plant
seeds in soil cubes placed under fluorescent lighting. Each day at lunch
students are able to hop up on benches to view the changes. The grant recipients
expect students to learn where vegetables came from, plant and maintain a
garden, and enjoy vegetables. Right now Bellinger said that the growth is slow
and that there is a bit of a learning curve. However, she said it is a garden
that will go on and on.
Each grant incorporates at least two of the STEM disciplines (science,
technology, engineering and mathematics) and together $4,000 was awarded to the
educators for their projects. To date the SEF has awarded $78,000 in grants and
written $130,000 in checks for various grants, programs and initiative over the
past five years.
Read the following news stories about these grants:
June 12, 2013
The SEF is proud to have awarded close to $6,000 in grant funding to our
Southington educators to help them in their mission to provide the best
educational opportunities to our school children.
|Derynoski Elementary School speech teacher Jane Syme was
awarded a $1,500 grant that enhances speech and language services for
students in kindergarten through grade 5. The program, titled Apps that
Focus on Social Skills on Two iPads, will enable Syme to utilize
innovative applications available on the iPad to motivate and engage
students both with regard to communication and social skills to ultimately
improve social interaction.
“There are a multitude of programs and
activities available using the iPad and expanding our applications will be a
goal to target not only special education students but all students who
require this support,” said Syme. “Having these programs on an iPad provides
a portable means for service delivery in diverse settings.”
Syme noted in her grant application that children with speech and or
language disorders frequently do not perform at grade level. “Impairment
includes reading, understanding and expressing language, inability to
process social cues and difficulty interacting with peers,” she wrote.
|South End Elementary School teacher Paula Gorham was
awarded a grant for her kindergarten program titled An Interactive
Storytelling Experience. South End’s youngest learners will have the
opportunity to use multimedia, materials and props as they retell or
relive the stories in their favorite books based on their own real ‐ life
experiences. Students will utilize a digital storytelling program, Pixie,
and storytelling props as they develop their use language as it relates to
“My students enter the classroom at the beginning of the school year
with many different experiences with literature,” explained Gorham. “As
their teacher, it is my responsibility to identify what they know and help
them grow as readers. Instilling a love of books and the stories that they
hold is the first step in raising readers.” Gorham further noted that she
intends to have her students perform and retell some of the stories for
other South End classes. “They will act out scenes, draw pictures and
create digital stories. We will meet with the intermediate students during
our book buddies program and at that time the students will retell their
stories using our new materials.”
This is Gorham’s second grant. During the SEF’s last round of grant
funding during the start of the 2012 ‐ 2013 school year, Gorham received
funding for a pilot program at South End and Kelley Elementary Schools
titled Countdown to Kindergarten. That initiative aids families of
incoming kindergartners in preparing them for the rigorous kindergarten
curriculum by providing a “bag of tools” for families to use in the months
between kindergarten registration and the first days of school.
|Kelley and Plantsville Elementary School music teacher
Katherine Diaz was awarded a grant to purchase West African
percussion instruments for a program that offers a multitude of
learning experiences for young musicians. Students in grades 3, 4 and
5 in both schools will learn a particular style of traditional West
African music, song and dance called “Gahu.” Diaz will form ensembles
who will learn to play various instruments such as the Balafon and the
Besides integration of the West African music style in the general
music curriculum, Diaz said she would also be forming an after‐school
or recess group. A culminating performance will take place at each
school to showcase the project.
“The West African Percussion Ensemble will fulfill a variety
of academic, social and cultural needs of our students in Southington
Public Schools,” said Diaz. “Academically, the students in grades 3, 4
and 5 will be participating in a rigorous but accessible ensemble
heightening their listening/responding, rhythmic, creative,
performance and technical needs in both instrumental and vocal music.”
Diaz further noted that she had a positive experience learning Gahu
drumming during her graduate classes and felt “enriched as a person,
building my musicianship through the higher level improvisations you
can create in this style of music.”
|Kennedy Middle School mathematics teacher Amy Perry was
awarded two grants, Exploring Middle School Mathematics with Nintendo Wii
and Singin’ & Signin’.
The Mathematics and Nintendo grant will
impact all students in Grade 7 and Perry said she would offer the program
to interested sixth ‐ and eighth ‐ grade teachers as well. “Engaging
students in meaningful and fun mathematics can be accomplished utilizing
the Nintendo Wii through interdisciplinary units and differentiated
instruction for seventh ‐ grade students,” she said. “Additionally, I will
incorporate more rigor into the lessons by integrating graphing
calculators, computer software and Internet resources to help build
students’ 21 st century skills.” T
Perry’s second grant, Singin’ and Signin’, is also a math
program designed for interactive classrooms. The program teaches more than
50 complex math formulas to childhood songs and chants, using signs and
gestures that can easily adapt to the district’s curriculum. “The program
maximizes student engagement, raises standardized test scores, addresses
all learning styles and is award ‐ winning,” said Perry. “The hope is that
students will be engaged in the lesson and that they will have higher
retention rates of mathematical formulas.”
The Kennedy grants were supplemented by a school‐designated grant
funded by the Veilleux family, who donated monies during the SEF’s Fan of
the Foundation Gala in October 2012.
|DePaolo Middle School teacher Betty Swist was awarded a
grant for her Whisperphones for the Improvement of Language and Literacy
proposal. The Whisperphones grant will impact students in grades 6, 7 and 8
as all will have access to Whisperphones, which are acoustic feedback
devices that provide students the ability to improve their listening, speech
and reading skills. Students speak into a mouthpiece and their voice is be
channeled directly into their ears via headpieces, thus enabling the child
to hear his or her own voice clearly and loudly.
“This project is geared towards using auditory feedback devices to
enhance language learning and literacy for all students who struggle with
reading and communication,” noted Swist in her grant application. “Overall,
these devices will be an essential tool to build confidence in those
students who struggle to communicate openly in the classroom setting, and
enhance their ability to read proficiently.”
With the SEF grant money, Swist will purchase 24 Whisperphones, adding to
the five already in use at the school.
January 17, 2013
The SEF is proud to have awarded another round of grant funding to our
Southington educators to help them in their mission to provide the best
educational opportunities to our school children.
than $12,000 was awarded to these recipients to assist them in developing
innovative and creative programs:
Hands-On Learning in Science and Technology: Producing Biofuel from Algae
Richard Niro, Dave DeStefano, Jesse Quinn, Justin Mirante, Patrick O’Keefe, Troy
Schinkel and Sal Spagna
Southington High School
This $3,300 grant will engage students across the spectrum and teach the
fundamentals of science and technology.
The program will involve the study of alternate energy sources –
specifically, the use of common algae as biotechnology to convert the
radiation of the sun into energy-rich oils and ultimately biodiesel.
“While the science, vocational, agriculture and technology education
students at Southington High School are well grounded in classroom learning,
they lack such a broad, engaging, collaborative project to apply their
knowledge and skills in the context of relevant, real-world problem,” states
the grant application.
Several classes will be involved in the program. AP Biology students will
cultivate algae, honors and AP Chemistry classes will remove the desired oils
from the algae and AP Environmental Science students will produce biodiesel
from the algae-grown oil. Also involved will be technology education students,
including Project Lead the Way, who will work to increase the biodiesel
production into large batches. Vocational agriculture students will test the
products in diesel engines in the motor laboratory.
The entire project will be coordinated by a group of interested students,
the BioEnergy Project, who will liaison between the various teachers, students
The SHS grant was supplemented by a school-designated grant funded by the
Peccerillo family, who donated monies during the SEF’s Fan of the Foundation
Gala in October.
Countdown to Kindergarten
South End/Kelley Elementary School
This $700 grant will pilot a program that will aid families of incoming
kindergartners in preparing them for the rigorous kindergarten curriculum.
The program will provide a “bag of tools” to families to use in the months
between kindergarten registration and the first days of school. Included in a
canvas bag will be an ABC book, name tags, letter formation charts, white
boards and markers, a library card and more.
“As a kindergarten teacher, I frequently heard from parents that they
didn’t know what they could do with their preschooler to help better prepare
him or her for kindergarten,” wrote Paula Gorham in her grant application.
“We, as a district, know that we need to get information about kindergarten
expectations to parents prior to the beginning of the school year.”
An important component of the program is a mandatory meeting with a
literacy teacher to explain to parents how to use the tools provided in the
bag. Parents will receive their bags in March during registration time. An
evening workshop will also be offered to provide instruction.
The Kelley Elementary School grant was funded in part by a
school-designated grant generously donated by Gerald and Susanne Veilleux
during the SEF’s Fan of the Foundation Gala in October.
Mary Jane Sullivan, music teacher
William Strong Elementary School
This $4,000 grant will connect third-graders to their grandparents and
other senior citizens in the community.
The program brings grandparents and other seniors into a third-grade music
class for a semester to learn songs with their student “buddies.” After
learning to sing the songs, seniors and their buddies will then learn how to
accompany those songs on ukuleles.
“My most enthusiastic audience has always been my annual ‘Grandparent’s
Program’ in April. Every year, grandparents say things like, ‘I wish I could
be in your music class’ or ‘Could you teach me to sing, too?’” wrote Mary Jane
Sullivan in her grant application.
According to Sullivan, the Ukulele Buddy program is a great way to extend
quality musical experiences to seniors in the Southington community. It also
enhances the music education experience for third-graders by exposing them to
playing a string instrument in addition to the recorder.
The program will eventually expand to grades four and five as well.
Sullivan has already created flyers inviting interested senior citizens to
Tuesday morning music classes from Feb. 5 through April 9. There are 50
openings and three different class options.
Tying Together Oral Language, Literacy, & Core State Standards with Braidy
Thalberg Elementary School
This $1,500 grant will help kindergartners with their story retelling
According to Zellner, a student’s ability to retell stories from their life
experiences and what they read is crucial for academic success.
With the use of an interactive doll named Braidy, students will learn to
present stories and transfer information by tapping into their working memory
and the teaching of grammar components. Students will each receive a small
version of Braidy to assist with their retell of stories.
“Our kindergarten students are in need of enriching language and structure
in order to meet the literacy curriculum and standards for the Common Core. In
school districts where Braidy is used, classrooms are filled with children
using language necessary to do retells and using vocabulary that is
semantically rich,” Julie Zellner states in her grant application.
Kindergarten teachers will receive training in the use of Braidy, which has
been in classrooms for 20 years.
The awarding of this grant was supplemented by a school-designated grant
donated by the Possidento family, whose children attend Thalberg. Steve and
Stephanie Possidento funded a school-designated grant during the SEF’s Fan of
the Foundation Gala in October.
Young Artists and Entrepreneurs
Michelle Ginand, William Walker and MaryBeth Eckert
Derynoski Elementary School
This $3,000 grant will provide a real-world business experience to
students. According to the grant application, the program will ultimately
impact students in Kindergarten through Grade 5.
Students will garner first-hand experience in both creating a business and
real-world career opportunities related to the arts. To start, the program
will involve all fourth-grade classrooms. Students will create a product in
art class, a business plan with their classroom teacher and a marketing plan
with the library specialist to sell the product.
The funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies to establish the
program. Eventually, the program will generate the revenue necessary to
sustain itself in future years.
“One idea for future development of the program is to have fourth-graders
create the product and the business teams and the fifth-grade create marketing
teams that develop sales pitches that will be presented to the fourth grade.
The fourth grade business teams will then choose the marketing team they want
to work with,” states the grant application.
Additionally, the equipment for this program will serve to enhance
opportunities for after-school clubs.
DePaolo Middle School
This is the second time that Joanne Grant has been awarded funding by the
SEF. She also won a $500 grant for her program titled Movie Club:
This project will encourage students to develop an understanding of the
importance of saving money and planning for future purchases. A bank will be
established to help students save their spare change. In addition, students
can withdraw amounts when needed for school trips or to participate in
fundraising activities such as hat day, pajama day, etc. Students will be
given a passport to keep track of all deposits and withdrawals.
Students will be trained to take in and record the money to the account,”
wrote Joanne Grant in her application. “Monthly statements will be sent to the
students to remind them of their transactions and their current balances.”
The savings program will be offered to all students who attend the school.
The DePaolo Middle School grant was funded in part by a school-designated
grant generously donated by Gerald and Susanne Veilleux during the SEF’s Fan
of the Foundation Gala in October
June 7, 2012
The SEF is proud to have awarded another round of grant funding to our
Southington educators to help them in their mission to provide the best
educational opportunities to our school children.
L-R: Linda Clock, Nhi Michaud, Michelle De La Rosa, Lenore
Chanel Curtin, Linda Bass-Reilly, Paula Knight
Four grants were awarded totaling nearly $10,000:
- APP-TITUDE for ELL's SUCCESS
Linda Clock, Town-wide ELL Coordinator
- Sustainable Learning in an Outdoor Classroom
Linda Bass-Reilly, Thalberg School
- Good Morning Strong School
Lenore Butler and Paula Knight, Strong Elementary School
- What's Cooking at Thalberg?
Michelle De La Rosa, Nhi Michaud and Chanel Curtin, Thalberg Elementary School
More than 50 teachers have received grants and each school in our district
has been the recipient of at least two grants.
January 19, 2012
The Southington Education Foundation, Inc. awarded a fifth round of grants at a reception
January 19, 2012 at JFK Middle School:
Southington High School teachers Keith Michaelsen and
Joe Stankoski were awarded a $1,500 grant from the Southington Education
Foundation for an electromagnetic propulsion project geared towards 12th
grade AP physics.
“The AP Physics students will apply the physics principles and theories
they have studied to build and evaluate a device called a lifter that can
levitate using electromagnetic fields for propulsion,” Michaelsen wrote in
his grant application. “The project will help students to apply their
theoretical knowledge to a real world application that is not completely
Students taking AP Physics will design, construct and then evaluate a
device that obtains life or vertical propulsion from only electromagnetic
Michaelsen said that the entire school could be impacted if the project
is successful within AP Physics classes.
“If successful, this device could be presented and demonstrated to a
broader audience in order to promote science education, specifically
physics, and its potential benefits to society,” he explained.
Kelley and South End Elementary School music teacher Elizabeth
DiDomenico was awarded a $4,525 grant for her upbeat and hands-on African Drumming
program. The drumming program will be implemented in the general music
classroom for grades three through five as cultural enrichment to the
curriculum in both schools.
“I also plan on starting a drumming group before
school for any students who wish to participate,” said Mrs. DiDomenico. “We
would have a performance in the spring for the entire school and possibly
the community, and this would turn into a yearly event.”
enrolled in a graduate course over the summer that focused on African
drumming. She said it was “one of the most exciting courses” she had ever
taken and labeled it life-changing.
“After the course was over I felt that
African drumming is something that Southington needs musically, culturally,
and socially as a part of our education,” she said, adding that the program
will offer a fresh approach to music education in her classrooms.
music, like the curriculum itself, is highly structured, requiring each
member of the ensemble to play from memory a distinct, constantly evolving
part,” she explained. “Drumming provides unlimited potential for experience
in rhythm, ensemble, movement, improvisation, meter, and timbre – the
learning can be extensive.”
At both Kelley and South End schools, the mantra in the music
classrooms is the acronym D.R.U.M., which stands for: Discipline, Respect and
Unity through Music.
This is the third grant awarded to faculty at South
End and Kelley Schools.
Flanders Elementary School teachers Dan Murdzek, Joyce
McAloon and Krista Tibbetts were awarded a $3,200 grant from the Southington
Education Foundation for their business-minded project called Give a
The project will group
fourth- and fifth-graders and challenge them to develop a business proposal.
The winning proposal will be financed, thanks to the grant money, and the
product sold at a local fair.
For the first year, Mr. Murdzek
said the retail item has already been chosen – cupcakes, which will be sold
at the Meriden Daffodil Festival. In future years, the students will come up
with their own concepts and present them to a committee of staff members.
“The idea is to get the children communicating in the community, taking
initiative, and taking a leading role. Children will also experience the
satisfaction of contributing to their own school environment,” said Mr.
For this year’s project, students will be expected to present
recipe ideas, potential expenses and predicted profits, a list of staff
(children/adult volunteers), marketing plans, timelines, and other issues
associated with “real world” small businesses.
“We plan on bringing in local business owners who could give lessons on
how to manage a small business and prepare them for problems they may face,”
said Mr. Murdzek.
This is the third grant awarded to faculty at Flanders School.
Bricks in Space
Thalberg Elementary School teachers Chanel Curtin and
Mandy Hubeny were awarded a $2,229 grant from the Southington Education
Foundation recently for their space-age after-school program, LEGO Bricks in
The program is a partnership between LEGO Education and N.A.S.A. and
promotes and inspires science, technology, engineering and math skills in
fourth- and fifth-graders.
“LEGO Bricks in Space will teach
students personal development skills such as team building and self
confidence. The activities are designed to enhance learning, introduce new
topics, and encourage discussion,” said Miss Curtin.
Students will work
alongside International Space Station crew members to conduct activities
that test the effects of microgravity on simple machines. Once they’re done,
students will compare their results with those of the ISS crew – who will be
conducting the same experiments in space!
Other activities include learning the various components of an
astronaut’s space suit and utilizing basic engineering skills to build a
LEGO satellite model.
“Students will use LEGO bricks to design and build a
model that depicts their most treasured item that they would want to take
with them on their space mission,” said Mrs. Hubeny. “When all models are
built, students will describe their model and why they want to take that
specific item along. Later, students will record their accounts of discovery
and exploration through a podcast.”
This is the sixth grant awarded to
faculty at Thalberg School.
May 26, 2011
The Southington Education Foundation, Inc. announced the names of four
teachers who have been approved for grants during the organization’s fourth
round of grant funding at a Grant Awards Reception, May 26, at Southington
Water Aquarium Investigations
Southington High School School teacher Debra O’Brien
received a grant to buy a salt water aquarium to use in her marine biology
classes. Students will collect marine wildlife on the shoreline and study it
in the classroom.
Who Wants to be a Science Extraordinaire?
Southington High School teachers David DeStefano and
Judith Dunn received a grant for their “Who Wants to be a Science
Extraordinaire?” proposal. The concept is a complex system that gathers
student answers and data in the same way that the game show “Who Wants to be
a Millionaire?” gauges feedback from its audience.
Take a Chance on Me
Kennedy Middle School teacher Amy Perry was given a
grant for her “Take a Chance on Me” program. Her proposal will challenge
students to start some kind of small business endeavor with $100 to work
January 20, 2011
The Southington Education Foundation, Inc. awarded a third round of grants at a reception
January 20, 2011 at Plantsville Elementary School:
Mysteries of Math in Music
Submitted by teacher Kate Fitzgerald of both Kelley and Plantsville
Elementary School, the program consists of the Greater Hartford Symphony
coming into the school and teaching students the correlation between music
Give a Dog a Bone
Submitted by teacher Lenore Butler of Strong
Elementary School, the program is a partnership between students and the
local animal control facility. The students make homemade dog biscuits and
sell them to staff and students.
Click here to view a video from Strong School students advertizing their
"Give a Dog a Bone" business.
Submitted by teacher Jennifer Carey of JFK Middle School,
the mentoring program entails students taking other students, who might have
developmental disabilities, under their wings.
Submitted by teachers Mandy Hubeny and Chanel
Curtin of Thalberg Elementary School, the grant pays for two iPads and an
application that allows students to look at astronomy.
Interdisciplinary Interactive Nature Center
Submitted by teachers Diane
Hamel and Gina Calandra of Derynoski Elementary School, the grant will pay for turning a large courtyard at
the school into a vegetable and flower garden. Students will be responsible
for its upkeep.
June 10, 2010
The Southington Education Foundation awarded a second round of mini-grants at a reception
June 10, 2010 at Kelley Elementary School:
February 25, 2010
The Southington Education Foundation funded three innovative and
constructive grants following an anonymous donation of $10,000.
With $5,000 of the donation, Southington High School will be
outfitted with a TI-Nspire Classroom, which combines learning handhelds
and computer software with assessment tools that gauge student understanding
within an interactive classroom. The technology will be utilized extensively in
five sections of precalculus classes and at least one section of advanced
placement statistics at SHS. Additional math classes will also benefit from the
technology, which includes SmartBoards, LCD projectors, computer software and
calculators, because at least two classrooms will be equipped with the
apparatus, according to SHS Math Department Chairman Robert Lasbury.
The Kennedy Middle School Music Department received $2,500 to
be used to promote and inspire jazz music. Specifically recognized by the
donor was Tim Johnson, who directs the school’s band. The money will go toward
the purchase of sound equipment, which students will learn to set up and
operate for school concerts. Students will also learn how to make CDs after
recording their concerts.
The final $2,500 was earmarked for the SHS Construction and
Manufacturing Career Advisory Board, which sponsors expos for students to
meet representatives from different trade industries to discuss career options.
The donation specifically cited John Ellsworth and Nancy Cheiro for their
respective service to the school system and its students.
February 5, 2010
On February 5, 2010, SEF awarded the first round of mini-grants to educators during a
reception at Thalberg School:
If you have further questions regarding applying for grants through the Southington Education Foundation,