About WEF’s 2018 Grants

Windsor Public Schools teachers are starting exciting new hands-on learning programs with almost $16,000 in grants from WEF in 2018.  Read about the projects below:

Let’s Cook Culinary Experience for SPARK

Students in the WHS SPARK Program at L. P. Wilson will be engaged in the Let’s Cook  Culinary Experience. The program is designed to teach cooking as a life skill. Students will do their own meal planning, budgeting, and meal preparation. The program will reinforce practical money skills, independent living skills, cooperation, and self-confidence through the acquisition of cooking skills.

Windsor High to Create a Sexual Assault Awareness Program

WHS will use the middle/high school version of the film, The Hunting Ground, to anchor a program for members of the senior class on sexual assault awareness, student safety, and emotional well-being. Students will have discussions in their Advisory section, with trained guest facilitators, and a screening of the film will be offered to parents prior to the student showing.

The goal of this program is to increase awareness and reduce the incidence of sexual assaults, and other related issues, like sexting.

Enhanced Journal Writing at Sage Park Middle School

Journal writing is a long-practiced activity by many famous creative people, like Leonardo DaVinci and Virginia Woolf.  This program will encourage Sage Park Middle School students to utilize their full creativity in their journal writing.  It will expose students to the idea and practice of including drawings, cartoons, and lists, and not limit them to listing the assignments of the day.

College Exposure Project at Windsor High

Exposure to college through an on-campus visit can be a critical   step for high school students to gather information about what type of college environment makes a good fit for them.  This project will enable the WHS Counseling Department to take sophomore and juniors to different local colleges and universities.  The students participating in this project are often the first in their family to attend college and would otherwise not go on college visits.

The visits provide students the opportunity to understand first-hand the college admissions requirements, the financial aid process, and the college application process.  After the visits, students should be able to make more informed decisions about their high school course choices, as well as their future college choices.

Mindfulness in the Classroom at Clover Street School

Mindfulness is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”

A core group of staff at Clover Street School will be trained in Mindfulness Fundamentals.  This core team will develop and implement Mindfulness behaviors throughout the entire school population.  Students will be equipped to recognize and articulate their emotions, and the effect their emotions have on their bodies.  They will learn techniques to better self-regulate, and calm and focus themselves when the need arises.

Mindfulness in the Classroom supports the district goal to promote a Positive School Climate.

Windsor High Garden and Outdoor Classroom Funded

WEF and the Christine M. Gasparino Memorial Fund will fund the WHS Garden & Outdoor Classroom.  This project is collaboration between four departments: Science, Art, Culinary, and Tech Ed.  Students will be exposed to and learning about biology, botany, gardening, nutrition, food security, health and wellness, environmental conservation, design, and more.  Students will be planning and building raised beds to plant edibles.  The new garden will be located where the old playground was located.

Information about the Christine M. Gasparino Memorial Fund: http://www.christinegasparino.com

Social Interaction Materials Funded for CBTA

The Community Based Transition Program (CBTA) is located at L.P. Wilson and serves special education students aged 18-21. CBTA focuses on post-secondary education, employment goals, and daily living skills. The grant will fund the purchase of materials that promote social interaction and social communication among the young adults: books for a student-led Book Club, and a Wii for interactive sports games.

Students will invite young adults from similar programs to join them in the Book Club and to play the Wii. Through hosting these activities, students will practice and demonstrate effective communication and behaviors associated with good citizenship.

John F. Kennedy School to Engage Families in School Garden Tower Project

The JFK Garden Tower program will be focused on growing vegetables.  The program will start with a Family Engagement night in March, where parents will be invited to learn about the program, as well as a health and nutrition workshop.  Students will be the “farmer” for the family, and chart the growing progress, take water samples, attend farming and nutrition workshops, and harvest their family’s vegetables.

The project combines classroom science with hands-on growing experience, plus the link to the family table after harvesting.

Oliver Ellsworth School to Create a Mini Makerspace

OE will create a Mini Makerspace to expose all K-2 students in the building to grade-appropriate STEM concepts, technology and coding.  This new space will help level out any gaps in the digital divide that may exist in our community, where some students may not have access to technology.  This kind of early exposure will enable students to collaborate and use critical thinking skills to solve problems.  They will get the chance to use coding and robotics tools. These tools are unique in that they are designed especially for this younger age group.

WHS Involvement in CT Youth Forum Continues

WEF is thrilled to support WHS in ongoing participation in the CT Youth Forum http://ctforum.org/youth-forum .  CT Youth Forum is the teen-focused community outreach program of the CT Forum, whose mission is to “encourage the free and active exchange of ideas”. The CT Youth Forum has had significant impact on our students who have participated.  They describe learning how to speak about difficult topics, getting out of their comfort zone, and learning how to deal with stressful situations.

PRISM Club Funded at Sage Park Middle School

PRISM is the Gay/Straight Alliance club at Sage Park.  It is brand new, and will have three focus areas: safe space, advocacy, and education.

PRISM will provide a community where LGBTQ students can be themselves and accepting of themselves.  The group will learn how to effectively advocate on behalf of LGBTQ students and issues.  Involved staff members will learn ways to incorporate socially responsive lessons into curriculum. Students will organize seminars to educate others on issues of importance to them.

Oliver Ellsworth School to Plant Pollinator Garden

Oliver Ellsworth (OE) has been part of the Windsor First Town Downtown initiative called the Windsor Monarch Project.  OE will add plant pollinator gardens to further attract Monarch butterflies, and create a sustainable hands-on science experience for the entire school.

The pollinator garden integrates many of the science and social studies standards set forth by the CT Department of Education, and allows students to make connections from classroom theory to a real-world example.

Investors Club at John F. Kennedy School

Investors Club is an exciting project-based learning program for 4th and 5th graders at JFK. Students will work in teams and learn the basics of investing and money management.

Students will be engaged in a real-world entrepreneurial endeavor that complements their core subject matter and support curriculum standards.  They will learn how to research a company and make educated decisions about buying stocks, adding to their financial literacy.

Butterfly Garden and Breeding at L.P. Wilson

One of the 14 grants awarded this year is for the SPARK program to cleanup an enclosed courtyard at LP Wilson and turn it into a butterfly-friendly garden.

Prior to the hands-on construction of the garden, the adolescent students in SPARK will conduct an academic project covering conservation, climate change, world food supplies, and the role of the Monarch butterfly.

Students will gain awareness about a vulnerable species through the different aspects of the project: traditional research; nurturing the breeding kits; and planning, building, and maintaining the garden.

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