The Bristol Education Foundation held a ceremony on Jan 3, in which 17 mini grants were awarded, totaling $14,126 in funds to assist teachers and schools enrich their curriculum.
Sarah Mitchell, the community communications coordinator for the Board of Education, explained that the Mini Grant helps to cover costs that aren’t necessarily in the budget. That could include anything from virtual reality goggles, a 3D printer or even special puzzle boxes, all of which were grant awardees.
Jennifer Plourde and Matthew Boissonneult, teachers at Bristol Central High School, applied for a grant for “Virtual Reality in the English Classroom.” This project is designed to immerse students into the books they’re reading. As Plourde said while accepting the grant, “Students will be able to walk the streets of New York City, just as Holden Caulfield did, and they’ll be able to see what he saw.”
Marcy Deschaine, a third grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary received two grants, both of which will aid the STEM Lab. Her first grant, “Makerspace 2.0,” will allow for Mountain View to purchase a 3D printer.
“I’ve been working very hard to incorporate science into my classroom as well as into my school for the last few years,” said Deshaine. “This grant will give us the money to purchase a Makerbot 3D printer so that our children can problem solve using 21st century skills.”
By using lessons provided by Thingiverse Education, that allows students and teachers to search based on grade level, topic and standard, “students will be able to improve their research, problem solving and cooperation skills.”
“Breakout EDU and You!” was a grant request submitted by Bridget Gohla, an ACCESS (Accessing Courses and Credits for Special Students) program teacher. Gohla plans to use her grant to purchase two Breakout EDU kits. “Each kit has a series of locks that have to be opened through problem solving,” explained Gohla, “with the ultimate goal of opening the box the locks are attached to, revealing a prize or surprise.”
Gohla explained that the kits will be used collaboratively, with special education high school students working as mentors with special education elementary students. The high schoolers will oversee the elementary students, helping them to problem solve and work together to achieve a common goal.
Some of the other grants awarded went to “A Moment to Breathe,” which was submitted by Kathryn Roberts of Bristol Eastern High School, in hopes of integrating mindfulness into the classroom; “One Book, One Team,” awarded to four teachers from Chippens Hill Middle School, which allows all seventh grade students and teachers to read the same book at the same time; and “CHMS Helping Hands Program,” a grant awarded to Kathryn Krawiec and Mariliz Fitzpatrick of Chippens Hill, allowing their students that require special education services the ability to take field trips to the SBF Animal Rescue, compounded with a classroom component in order to foster social and emotional growth as well as to develop and build self-esteem.
Superintendent of Schools Susan Moreau introduced recipients and announced that they would be awarded their grant money that evening.
Also in attendance were Director of Special Education Services, Dr Michael Dietter, many members of the Board of Education, including David Scott, Tina Taylor, Jeff Caggiano, and Vice Chair Karen Vibert, and City Councilor Peter Kelley.