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District News 

The Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools at Smith STEM School
Posted 10/09/2018 08:32AM

The Foundation's mission is to provide financial support for educational projects, programs, and initiatives that will enhance and enliven the classroom experience and promote excellence in West Hartford Public Schools.

The Foundation raises funds from individuals, businesses, and civic groups in the community as well as alumni nationwide. Gifts of $1,000 or more entitle the donor to honor an individual, business or civic group by having the Foundation name a grant. Once a year, certified teachers throughout the school district are invited to apply for grants ranging from $200 to $3,000 for a project that will enhance student experience, complement the curriculum and demonstrate educational merit. A Foundation committee reviews the applications with the teacher's name and school removed. After approval by the Foundation board, awards are presented in late spring of each year.

For more information or to apply for a grant, visit The Foundation's webpage HERE.

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Grants Awarded to Smith STEM this year:

Duprey Family Grant: Learning Floats Our Boat!
Sharon Zajack, Lead Teacher & Sabrina Santos, Eric Golberg

This grant will provide funding for third grade students at Smitih STEM Elementary School to experience an authentic multi-disciplinary learning experience via a mini 5-foot sailboat. The non-profit organization, Educational Passages, will give students the opportunity to learn about ocean and wind patterns as well as improve their skills in the map reading, geography, earth science, oceanography, international relations, meteorology, technology, mathematics and writing. Students will launch a mini boat many miles into the ocean and then track the vessel with GPS. Before launching the mini boat, students will put artifacts and correspondence into the vessel’s compartments with the hope to communicate with students from other countries such as Canada, Portugal, France and Ireland. In addition, the students will examine the water habitat as they sail the water of Long Island Sound aboard SoundWaters, an 80 foot schooner. This project integrates learning from social studies, mathematics, science, language arts, engineering and technology and promotes curiosity, risk taking, critical thinking and problem solving.

Frank Webb Home Grant: Electrifying Creations with LittleBits
Angela Giliberto, Lead Teacher & Sharon Zajack, Katie Fournier

This grant will fund the purchase of eight ultimate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning tool kits called LittleBits to be used as a resource material for 5th grade students at Smith STEM Elementary School. Engineering with LittleBits will also be offered as an afterschool enrichment opportunity for students in the upper elementary grades.  LittleBits are small electronic building blocks that can be snapped together to create unlimited circuits allowing students to invent and build their own inventions. Working with LittleBits fosters group problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration through team STEM challenges and real-world applications.  This grant showcases the interconnections among science, technology, engineering and math while exemplifying the vision of the Next Generation Science Standards that science is for all students. It is not about knowing facts but understanding concepts. Students will build, experiment and showcase their inventions on a school-wide weekly video news segment.

Goldbeck Family Grant: Solve the 3D Mystery Location!
Kathy Hardesty, Lead Teacher & Ali Campagna (Norfeldt School)

Funding this grant will allow for the purchase of a computer program called TinkerCad and a 3D printer.  Fourth graders at Smith STEM Elementary School will then work in groups in choosing a location in the world and use the program and 3D printer to create 3D artifacts that represent its culture, food, history and location. Students will collect their artifacts in a “treasure chest” and give it to a partner school’s group. The receiving group will look at the artifacts and guess the mystery location.

Jeffrey A. Palmer Memorial Grant: Centers in the Music Classroom ~ Teacher-of-the-Year Finalist, Rebecca Saraceno

Centers in the classroom allow student to take charge of their learning, promote student independence and responsibility, and allow time for individual assessment and intervention.  This grant will help establish centers in the Smith STEM School vocal music classroom.  Materials that reinforce melodic, rhythmic, and music literacy skills and concepts for students in grades K-5 will be purchased and used throughout the coming school year and those that follow.

West Hartford Administrators Association Grant: Bits and Bytes
Alison Foley, Lead Teacher & Jackie Corricelli (Conard High), Kathy Hardesty

Coding and computer sciences have become an increasingly-important area of study for children today. This grant forges mentorship relationships among a total of 30 students from Smith STEM Elementary School and Conard High School. The high school students will research, plan, and deliver instruction on computer coding to a group of fourth grade students, with each high school student paired with one elementary school student in a mentor/mentee relationship. High school students will travel to the elementary school four times during the school year and the elementary students will travel to the high school once. This grant fosters an interest in computer programming and peer-to-peer teaching and mentorship.

West Hartford Education Association Grant: Cider and Syrup-Learning how food goes from farm to table
Randi Leopold, Lead Teacher (Webster Hill), Martina Cravedi (Smith), Elizabeth Cannone (Charter Oak), Nichola Dustin (Charter Oak), Cindy Barron (Charter Oak)

Pre-K students from all schools will visit Auerfarm in Bloomfield during the fall and apple season and in the late winter during maple sugaring season. The farm-to-table connection will be made and the young students will be able to spend more time outside. This real world experience will be an invaluable lesson in understanding nature and the connection we have with it.

West Hartford Public Schools

50 South Main St, West Hartford, CT  06107

T: 860-561-6600

F: 860-561-6910

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