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

Elizabeth Norton Trust Fund Grants Support District Initiatives

A number of school district programs and initiatives are underway this year thanks to several grants from the local Elizabeth Norton Trust Fund.

Louis Toffolon Elementary School's Library Information Specialist Deb Pikiell received a grant to support the "One School, One Book" initiative. The goal of the program is to create a shared reading experience with all of the children and families at Toffolon. This year all Toffolon students will be reading the book, The World According to Humphrey. Each child will be given their own book with the grant that was awarded and a calendar of what should be read each week and ideas for discussion. The school will support the reading with activities that promote the shared reading experience. In addition, Toffolon's Art Instructor and Head Teacher Michael Zaba received a grant for the After School Program's Robotics component. The Robotics program provides the opportunity for students to participate in project-based learning opportunities focused on hands on building, problem solving, and the application of various 21st century skills. In the program students will begin to build a ground work for moving robotics into science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula (STEM concepts). The grant allows for the opportunity to purchase and use LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 activity kits that help support students in creating different robots to program and carry out activities, collect data, and apply concepts learned during the school day. The activities and lessons in the program serve as an introduction to robotics exploration, software programming, and real world applications.

District elementary music faculty members Michael Boncimino, Greg Wilfrid, and Marilyn Brendel will produce "Carnival of the Animals" - an authentic classical music performance thanks to funding provided by the Elizabeth Norton Trust. The Saint-Saens piece which will be used features an ensemble of strings, woodwinds, and percussion, and is a zoological journey through music. The elementary music teachers will prepare students in all three elementary schools for the performance with a study of the Saint-Saens piece.

Through a collaboration between Frank T. Wheeler Elementary School Art Instructor Linda Helming and Kathryn Matsuzaki, Coordinator of School & Family Programs at the New Britain Museum of American Art, together with funding from the Elizabeth Norton Trust, plans are underway for Plainville student artwork to be displayed at the museum in New Britain, Connecticut. The "Plainville Community Schools Art Show" will be exhibited from April 14 â€" April 19, 2015, and will include artwork from all grade levels across the school district.

At the Middle School of Plainville, Library Information Teacher Joyce Lynch received a grant to support a future visit from an author. New York Times best-selling and Nutmeg award nominated author, Tim Green, will visit the Middle School in October, 2015. Green, a former Atlanta Falcon who completed law school while a member of the NFL, has written 15 books about baseball and football for middle school students as well as a dozen courtroom thrillers for adults. His middle school titles include important themes such as persistence and honesty. This will be Green's second visit to the Middle School of Plainville. "He is a dynamic and engaging speaker whose presentations focus on the importance of hard work, determination, perseverance, and education," explained Lynch. "MSP's students are fortunate to have the opportunity to hear such an energetic and enthusiastic speaker. Many thanks to the Norton Foundation; without their generous support this visit would not be possible."

At the high school level, Volunteer Program Coordinator Sue Bradley received a grant to support the new "+KIK" Peer Mentoring Program. The program pairs high school students with eighth graders who come together twice monthly at the Middle School for conversation and fun. The goal of the program is to provide an upper class mentor and friend to the middle schoolers that will help ease the transition to high school.

Plainville Adult and Continuing Education also received a grant from the Norton Trust to purchase admission passes to The New Britain Museum of American Art. Plainville Adult Education (mandated program) students, their families, and staff will gain a full year of unlimited admission to the museum, accommodating over 100 students. The passes will be split among the two physical program sites: Plainville High School and Linden Street School, and distributed to students through the program’s lending libraries. Jill O'Brien, Plainville Adult and Continuing Education Coordinator said, "Thanks to the generosity of the Elizabeth Norton Trust, Adult Education students and their families will be exposed to rich, cultural experiences. Visits to the museum align with current educational family literacy initiatives, promoting parents’ long-term investment and growth in their children's educational development."

"The Elizabeth Norton Trust is a tremendous example of community partnership with public education. The Plainville Community Schools and the Trust have a long and exciting history of promoting creativity together. We are so thankful for the support they provide to our staff," said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jeffrey Kitching.

-Posted on February 13, 2015 at 10:21 AM

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