Education Foundation supports innovative projects in Windsor

By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Fri., Sep. 6, 2013
Poquonock Elementary School designed a butterfly garden as part of a study to learn more about creatures and their habitats. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

With the help of Windsor's teachers and the Windsor Education Foundation, students in town have been keeping busy with innovative projects, according to WEF President Lori Hartmann. Last year, the organization issued nine grants to faculty throughout the district, and it is preparing for another successful year.

“I believe a lot in education and the creative opportunities that are out there,” said Hartmann. “Teachers should not have to spend their own money to do these projects or buy class materials.”

This year is expected to be an exciting year for Clover Street School, as physical education teacher Mike Farr is working on installing a 40-foot climbing wall. Farr was awarded a grant last year for the project and has been doing additional fundraising activities to gather funds for its installation, which he hopes will take place this year.

One of the smaller projects, which began last year and will continue, is the Junior First Lego League program at Oliver Ellsworth. Kathleen Furie, a teacher at the school, was awarded funds to purchase Legos designed specifically for elementary school children.

Hartmann said last year she had the opportunity to visit the classroom when the first Lego project was in progress, which was the building of an elderly hospital. She said the project was ongoing for about half the year, and in that time students were responsible for creating different amenities the elderly would need or want.

“It was very, very creative what these kids came up with and what they related to their own personal lives," said Hartmann. “I found it very interesting, and the kids were very engaged.”

One thing the children decided to add was a juice bar stocked with healthy foods, because while people were in the hospital, they would need to eat healthy, one child told her.  Another child created a bed custom-made for a senior citizen.

“It had rails on the side and steps at the end, and she said, 'Because my grandma always needs help going up the steps,'” said Hartmann.

Some of the other projects which received grants last year included a youth summer program where students worked in local businesses for four weeks, an engineering project for the Electrathon Competition, and a reading program called Building Connections with Kindles.

To help raise funds for more projects, the WEF encourages the community to save their Geissler's receipts. Hartmann said the grocery store donates 5 percent of every receipt totaling $35 or more.

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