Plainville Community Schools, 47 Robert Holcomb Way, Plainville CT 06062, (860)793-3200

Elizabeth Norton Trust Fund Supports Variety Of District Initiatives Through Grants

A variety of school district programs and initiatives are underway this year thanks to a number of grants from the local Elizabeth Norton Trust Fund. Kindergartners in Rachel Valentine's class at Linden will have the opportunity to further infuse technology into their learning, with i-Pad minis purchased with grant funding from Norton. Wheeler School fourth grade teacher Cheryl Michaud received a grant to purchase therapy balls to use in the classroom. "Studies have shown that the use of therapy balls increases in-seat behavior and legible word productivity for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and there are benefits for students without ADHD as well," noted Michaud. Students at Wheeler will also enjoy a combination circus / science / theater performance entitled "Submerged!" which will “impart values of conservation and ideas of environmental sustainability," explained grant recipient and Wheeler faculty member Jennifer Murrihy. The performance is scheduled to coincide with Earth Day. Murrihy, as advisor to the School's Green Team, coordinates a number of events related to Earth Week in April. School Social worker Julie Garceau is coordinating a Girl’s Group at Wheeler School focused on empowerment and improving one's positive self-image. Included is conversation about issues including friendships, social media and how society portrays women. "This can be a tricky time in a girl's development. During this time they often struggle with issues around body image, peer pressure, self-esteem and self-advocacy. I have already seen some great results from the girls that I have been working with! It has been a great opportunity for them to look at themselves, as well as, the world around them," noted Garceau. The Toffolon school community will also benefit from the generosity of the Norton Trust Fund. Garceau will also use funding received by the Norton Trust to support the "Superflex Curriculum" with groups of Toffolon students. The program uses the concept of a superhero to teach children how to be flexible to regulate their behaviors. The Student Support Center at Toffolon received funding for programs and initiatives to further encourage and foster positive behavior, while Physical Education teacher Rob Silliman received funding to implement the use of technology in physical education classes at Toffolon. "Funds will be used to purchase equipment to help students improve performance through video analysis. Students will also be able to use media to watch experts perform skills," explained Silliman. Toffolon's Parent Teacher Organization also received a grant to support after school programs and a grade 3-5 reading program.

At the Middle School of Plainville, School Counselor Jessica Pepin received a grant to support enrichment activities for a student group intended to plant "seeds for student success." The Middle School students will use the books The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens and The Six Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make by Sean Covey as a springboard for discussions about what success looks like and how to achieve it. The students may also visit a college campus where they will see a dorm, take a tour of the campus, meet an admissions counselor, and eat at a school cafeteria. "The majority of these students would be the first in their family to attend college should they choose to attend," explained Pepin. "The rationale for the group and the trip are to ensure that they have as much information about college as possible, in hopes of inspiring them to develop detailed college bound goals."

At the high school level, Plainville High School Technology Education Instructor Mark Chase received a grant to continue a bicycle restoration project in collaboration with the Plainville Police Department. Through this initiative, abandoned bicycles recovered by the police force are turned over to Chase and high school students, who rebuild the bikes and donate them back to youth in the community.

The Elizabeth Norton Trust also provided funding to the district volunteer program, under the direction of Coordinator Sue Bradley. This funding will be used to support a mentor program family event later this month, providing the opportunity for student mentees and their families to interact with the volunteer mentors.

"We are so fortunate to have community partners like the Norton Trust, generously providing assistance with programs and initiative that benefit our students. Their generosity will help provide enriching experiences for many children," said Superintendent of Schools, Jeffrey Kitching.

-Posted on February 12, 2014 at 11:04 AM

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