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 Parent Teacher Organization received a grant to fund a return of the "Brain Show" on March 9th. Thanks to a previous grant from the Norton Trust, the PTO brought the Brain Show to Toffolon last year, and due to its popularity, will return once again this year. The Brain Show is a highly interactive event, which involves everyone in learning through a fun, TV game show format. Students and families compete against each other to answer questions based on academic subjects and pop culture. The contestants and audience members are also taught dance moves - - exercising their bodies as well as their minds. In addition, Toffolon received a grant to expand the school's "Maker Space" where students come to build, tinker, experiment, and create. The Maker Space, which incorporates STEAM initiatives and builds a culture of discovery and creativity, features a variety of stations for students to explore. These include computer coding, building circuits, knitting, crocheting, building with Legos, exploring engineering principles with structure blocks and K'NEX, creating stop motion animation videos, producing videos with the use of a green screen, folding origami, taking apart old electronics, and more.
At the Middle School of Plainville, School Counselor Jessica Pepin received a grant to support enrichment activities for at risk youth. The student group is intended to "plant seeds for student success." As such, students will use the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey and Don't Give It Away, by Iyanla Vanzant, as a springboard for discussions about what success "looks like" and how to achieve it. The student group will also visit a local college campus where they will see a dorm, take a tour of the campus, meet an admissions counselor, and more. In order to determine which local school to visit, the students will complete virtual college tours, conduct presentations for their peers, and vote for the school of their choice. "The goal for the group is to ensure that the students have as much information about college as possible, in hopes of inspiring them to develop detailed college bound goals," explained Pepin. The group will be a cross-grade collaboration that promotes peer support and mentoring to promote college bound attitudes and behaviors.
Grants were also received to support programs and initiatives at Frank T. Wheeler Elementary School. First Grade Teacher Jaqulyn Bartomioli received a grant to purchase several "Stability Balls" for the classroom. Stability balls are used to improve core strength as well as posture, balance, stability and focus. Bartomioli first looked into purchasing the stability balls when she learned of their benefit in assisting students with focusing in the classroom. In addition, Volunteer Coordinator Sue Bradley received a grant to support the new Reading Partners Program at Wheeler that pairs students with volunteers who serve as mentors and positive role models, with an overall program focus on reading and literacy. The Reading Partners program is also in place at both Toffolon and Linden elementary schools. Through a collaboration between Wheeler Art Instructor Linda Helming and the New Britain Museum of American Art, with funding from the Elizabeth Norton Trust, Plainville student artwork will be displayed at the museum in New Britain, Connecticut, as part of the "Art from the Plainville Community Schools" program. The 2015-16 school year marks the second installment, which will feature 200 student artworks to be displayed in the museum's Stanley Works Center.
Plainville Adult and Continuing Education also received a grant from the Elizabeth Norton Trust to support an interactive enrichment class featuring the art of documentary film making. By partnering with the Plainville Public Library as the hosting location, participants will gain information encouraging the use of the library's significant documentary collection. Attendees will enjoy an interactive lecture, view a full length documentary, Dolphins: Tribes of the Sea, and focus on how films actually get made--they will star in a documentary created on location during the event. Plainville Adult and Continuing Education Coordinator, Jill O'Brien commented, "We appreciate the generosity of the Elizabeth Norton Trust grant committee for funding this family-friendly community event. Registration will open with the release of the Spring 2016 Plainville Adult and Continuing Education Program Guide, mailed to all Plainville Residents mid-February."
"The support we receive from the Elizabeth Norton Trust is critical. Not only does it allow us to provide innovative programs for our students, it also helps reinforce the importance of working together as a community. Plainville Community Schools and the Norton Trust have developed a strong partnership, one we value very much," said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jeffrey Kitching.
-Posted on February 9, 2016 at 12:37 PM
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