The Foundation's mission is to provide financial support for educational projects, programs, and initiatives that will enhance and enliven the classroom experience and promote excellence in West Hartford Public Schools.
The Foundation raises funds from individuals, businesses, and civic groups in the community as well as alumni nationwide. Gifts of $1,000 or more entitle the donor to honor an individual, business or civic group by having the Foundation name a grant. Once a year, certified teachers throughout the school district are invited to apply for grants ranging from $200 to $3,000 for a project that will enhance student experience, complement the curriculum and demonstrate educational merit. A Foundation committee reviews the applications with the teacher's name and school removed. After approval by the Foundation board, awards are presented in late spring of each year.
For more information or to apply for a grant, visit The Foundation's webpage HERE.
Click here to purchase notecards created by West Hartford Public School Students to support the Teacher Grant Program.
Grants Awarded to Smith STEM this year:
Bridgewater Chocolate Grant:Take Flight!! Kathy Hardesty, Lead Teacher & Ali Campagna (Norfeldt)
Student teams at Smith and Norfeldt Elementary Schools will design build and test balsa wood gliders and a high-flying tube rocket to maximize flight distance. They will learn about the principles of flight, glider design, and construction of hand-launched balsa wood gliders, and will learn the value of determination, careful planning and execution, teamwork and attention detail. Students will experience the entire engineering design process, from brainstorming to drafting, research and creating materials lists, constructing testing and evaluating.
Bringing History To Life Through Literature Circles Sabrina Santos, Lead Teacher
This grant will allow grade 3 students at Smith Elementary School the opportunity to explore historical time periods through different perspectives by collaborating with peers in different classes in literature circles. There will be 3-4 book club groups across 3rd grade classes and each group will be responsible for a specific time period in history, i.e., World War II, the Holocaust, the American revolution and Native American history. Groups will meet with circles form other classes reading texts from the same time period and discuss similarities and differences about the texts. Students will make personal connections and gain insight about how different groups of people living in the same time have different perspectives or beliefs about an event or conflict. Finally, they will work on a presentation describing the historical period. This can be shared with parents and other students.
Cantor Family Grant: We're Talking Books Ruth Luipold, Lead Teacher & Eileen Carlson, Angela Giliberto
Students in grades 3, 4 and 5 at Smith Elementary School will enjoy and benefit from this language arts grant. Students will participate in a book club; they will discuss with peers as they explore book themes, character traits and motives, plot, author's purpose, writer's craft and other literary elements. Students will have access to a variety of newly purchased literature for each grade, including different genres such as biographies, mysteries, folklore, realistic fiction and informational text. Book choices will be based on current unit of study in their classroom. Teachers will encourage students to track their thinking by providing journals, open-ended questions to facilitate discussions, and other direction as needed. Students will gain a better understanding of how to monitor their own understanding of literature, and apply learned comprehension strategies to construct meaning. Through the book club format, students will have an authentic reading experience they can enjoy with their peers.
Chiaw Eei Ng Gibson & Jonathan Gibson Grant: Bits and Bytes Partnership Alison Foley, Lead Teacher & Jackie Corricelli (Conard)
This grant will connect elementary and high school students through a mentorship program focusing on computer science and computer coding. 15 Conard High School students and 15 fourth grade students from Smith Elementary School will meet 6 times during the school year. The 4th grade students will learn Scratch and Pencil code coding, different ways to program, and discover the many science, technology and math options they can anticipate learning about in their high school years. The high school students from the computer science club will experience being a mentor to younger students and execute lessons.
Goldbeck Family Grant: Red, Clear to Brown... What's on the Ground? or in the Bucket? Randi Leopold, Lead Teacher (Webster Hill) & Martina Cravedi (Smith), Elizabeth Cannone (Charter Oak), Nichola Dustin (Charter Oak), Cindy Barron (Charter Oak)
The Red, Clear and Brown grant will take a large number of pre-kindergarten children to the 4-H Auer farm twice during the school year. 112 Pre-K children at Webster Hill, Smith, and Charter Oak Elementary Schools will travel once in the fall and once in the spring. The fall “Apples & Apple Trees” will show students the fall time in the environmental cycle and what happens to trees and leaves. In the spring the “Maple Sugaring” trip to the farm will give students hands-on learning of the sugaring process.
Papasavas Family Understanding and Respecting our Differences Grant: Learning Adventures on the Atlantic Sharon Zajack, Lead Teacher & Sarah Ayoub, Elizabeth Harty, Sabrina Santos This grant will provide funding for third grade students at Smith Elementary School to experience an authentic multi-disciplinary learning experience via a mini 5-foot sailboat. The non-profit organization, Educational Passages, will give students the opportunity to learn about ocean and wind patterns as well as improve their skills in map reading, geography, earth science, oceanography, international relations, meteorology, technology, mathematics and writing. Students will launch a mini boat many miles into the ocean and then track the vessel with GPS. Before launching the mini boat, students will place artifacts and correspondence into the vessel’s compartments with the hope to communicate with students from other countries such as Canada (Nova Scotia), Portugal, France and Ireland. This project integrates learning from social studies, mathematics, science, language arts, engineering and technology and promotes curiosity, risk taking, critical thinking and problem solving.
Teacher of the Year Finalist Grant Luis Ramirez Details to follow