Windsor Education Foundation Awards Grants to Windsor Public Schools to Fund Innovative Learning Programs
$7,775 in Grants Awarded to Fund 6 Projects Submitted by Teachers in the District
Windsor Education Foundation (WEF) has awarded a total of $7,775 grants to fund 6 projects proposed by teachers in Windsor Public Schools, including a $275 science grant from The Christine Gasparino Memorial Fund. All Windsor Public Schools certified staff was eligible to apply for grants.
“It’s vital for us to encourage teachers who develop creative projects and provide unique learning experiences for our Windsor students,” says Windsor Education Foundation president, Jane Garibay. “Our goal is to have a positive effect on as many students and grade levels as possible through the grants we fund.”
WEF is a non-profit organization, now in its 15th year, that was formed with the goal of supporting excellence in Windsor Public Schools. Since 2007, WEF has awarded $218,892 in grant awards to local public-school educators. The programs funded for 2023 will directly benefit nearly 2,000 students across all grades. Following is a synopsis of the 2023 Grants:
The Mental Health Awareness and Drug Use Prevention was proposed by Windsor High students. Overseen by teacher Monica Brase, students will create Wellness Afternoons for peers. On these days, students will participate in activities centered on mental health or drug use prevention. Possible activities include mentorships, speakers, theater performance, art therapy, team building activities, and more.
Poquonock Teacher Carrie Canoni will lead the Plant the Moon/ Plant Mars NASA Challenge for our First-Grade students. Students will compete to grow the best crops using lunar regolith simulants which will help astronauts grow their own food on the moon. This project incorporates their Science Curriculum that explores patterns of the Earth, Moon, Sun and Stars. Ms. Canoni received partial funding from the NASA CT Space Grant Consortium. Ms. Canoni is the recipient of the Christine Gasparino Memorial Science Grant.
To promote reading-at-home, Clover Street School teachers Lynne DeVito and Amanda Moyal are establishing the Clover Street School Book Project. This initiative creates opportunities for readers in all grades and reading levels to receive free books. Their mission is to help students build home libraries full of books they want to read. Accordingly, by enhancing reading opportunities leads to positive educational outcomes while creating a culture of partnerships among schools and families.
Windsor High School teacher, Monica Brase, will facilitate the LGBTQ+ Education and Awareness Project proposed by students in the Windsor High School Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA). The project includes Educator Professional Development, Workshops with Middle Schoolers, and a Multi-school LGBTQ+ Summit. All three components will be designed, implemented, and facilitated by students in the GSA.
Soft Start Mornings Project at Clover Street School was designed by teachers Stacey Michalic and Sarah Burnham as a way for students to ease into their school day. Students arrive to school and are able to warm up their bodies and minds by selecting a calming activity to start the day. Soft Starts are a few minutes of personal choice before starting the academic part of the day. Students’ social emotional learning (SEL) will increase as they learn to get along, make responsible choices and communicate with their peers. As a result, students will become more confident in themselves which will support their academic growth as well.
Ashley Nordone, Poquonock teacher, will establish a large Communication Board through the 1000 Words Project. A Communication Board in the playground at Poquonock School will support communication in all different forms while teaching students about inclusivity. This will provide students the opportunity to learn about alternate methods of communication and supports having a system of communication for special education students.
“We are pleased to provide funds for unique and innovative programs developed by passionate, creative and committed Windsor Educators,” said Cristina Santos, Grant Chair of Windsor Education Foundation. “The impact [of these programs] to our educational communities is thrilling, as through these initiatives we can develop curious minds, build students’ confidence, and engage students in irreplaceable learning opportunities. We thank the generous business and individual donors and those who participated in our fundraising programs for making these grants possible.” The grant application period is open each fall.