NMEF Teacher Grants Paying Dividends
Funding to Improve Student Educational Experiences Meeting NMEF’s Goals.
When teachers can use their grants to add dynamic new possibilities in the classroom, everybody wins.
The New Milford Education Fund’s Teacher Grants are paying off in student educational experiences. As educators spend the funding they received from NMEF, students are being provided academic opportunities above and beyond the quality education already offered at the New Milford School District.
“New Milford high school and middle school are already learning in new ways,” NMEF President Christopher Ryan reported. “We are excited to see all the pedagogical platforms being scaled by teachers and students, thanks to the generosity of our extended New Milford community.”
One great example is NMHS’ Walter Pevny, who received $4,652.94 for a sound room/master recording studio. That studio is completed and available for use now, adding a new dimension to NMHS tech students’ career training.
“When teachers can use their grants to add dynamic new possibilities in the classroom, everybody wins,” Ryan said. “We are excited to celebrate each recipient’s efforts to enhance our kids’ educational experiences, and Mr. Pevny is a great teacher with whom to start.”
The David E. Owens Media Center is using another teacher grant to create a digital library that will include eBooks ranging from award-winning novels to curriculum aligned nonfiction. The eBooks provide text, audio, and video that can be shared and manipulated, based on the needs and wants of individual educators and students. Features that make this collection unique include single and multi-user capability, text-to-speech options, slideshows, keyword definitions, web links and more.
“The addition of reliable, readily accessible digital media will contribute to the innovative approach that is taken at D.E.O.,” Middle School Principal James DeLalla stated recently. “The generosity of the NMEF has assisted the Media Center’s mission to support student learning in an environment that embraces the possibilities that technology creates.”
DeLalla additionally reported that the middle school also used grant funding to purchase Google Expedition Kits that will provide teachers with the technology to take students on over 500 virtual reality field trips without leaving the classroom. He stated that Social Studies and Science classes will be able to make their curriculum come alive by using this learning tool to travel to outer space, underwater, back in time, as well as to different countries, and museums. Students will also be given the opportunity to explore their interests by using this technology in the Media Center.
“Students will use virtual reality viewers to travel to various destinations based on the curriculum” DeLalla explained. “Teachers will act as guides on these virtual field trips to immerse students in the content they are learning. This grant will allow students to explore places they may never actually get to travel to in their lifetimes and provide them with an engaging opportunity to complete a hands-on project utilizing futuristic technology.”
NMEF Gala Chairperson Jane Castronovo agreed. “The Education Foundation holds events to raise funds to give our kids an academic edge,” she said. “Here’s the proof of what concerned people can provide for kids when they open their hearts. The NMEF is forever grateful for those who have given, and we look forward to celebrating our kids with all of them again, and all of you, at our next gala on April 4th.”
Following last year’s successful Gala fundraiser, the NMEF awarded nine grants totaling $29,175.04 to eleven teachers and two schools throughout the district, Ryan reported, noting that the grants represented the final step in an application and review process that was open to all New Milford educational staff.
Ryan announced that the NMEF would launch the next round of Teacher Grant applications soon.
“One of the NMEF’s primary requirements is for each grant to finance a project that would directly and measurably enhance the educational experience of New Milford students,” Ryan confirmed. “We are excited by the projects currently being introduced into our students’ lives and look forward to discovering what the creative minds of New Milford educators come up with this year,” he said.
Last year’s grant recipients were:
- Lindsey Freedman, Ray Cottiers, and Eve Valente (DEOMS) – $9,499.00 for Google Expedition Kits for virtual reality field trips
- Walter Pevny (NMHS) – $4,652.94 for a sound room/master recording studio
- Eve Valente (DEOMS) – $3,345.00 for a digital library
- Dave Wilson (NMHS) – $3,299.00 for virtual reality equipment
- Castle Theater (NMHS) – $2,800.00 for Daytime Children’s Programming
- Justin Muratore (DEOMS) – $2,000.00 for Art in Motion, a science/art crossover project
- Berkley/Gibbs Elementary Schools – $1,500.00 for a GoNoodle Plus paid subscription
- Keith Devereaux (NMHS) – $1,428.10 for Trout in the Classroom
- Carla Urbaez and Laura Fleming (NMHS) – $651.00 for a TedEd Club
Ryan encouraged teachers to get their ideas ready. “As these classroom successes continue, we hope to use them to inspire more generosity because donations are the key to unlocking our children’s dreams,” he said.