GREENWICH — The Greenwich Alliance for Education has awarded 18 grants totaling $208,000 for the 2017-18 school year, bringing its contribution to Greenwich Public Schools students to more than $1 million since 2008.
“We are so proud of the money we raise and give out,” said Julie Faryniarz, executive director of the nonprofit group that gives money to teachers and organizations that benefit public school students in town. “We raise achievement for all students, we fund innovation in the Greenwich Public Schools and we provide enrichment and advancement opportunities for many of our underserved children.”
In a reception at Greenwich High School Thursday, the Alliance announced the grant recipients and recipients described how they will use the funds.
Across the district, Greenwich Alliance for Education funds will support “Dare to Care” social emotional learning lessons for students, a personalized learning math pilot at seven elementary schools — and the use of a “SmartMusic” app at Greenwich High, Central Middle and Old Greenwich School.
“This is an outstanding app that can be used to help students assess their own playing, do some recording and it provides feedback to the teacher on individual students,” said Laura White, Greenwich Public Schools art and music coordinator.
At Greenwich High, a grant will support the Innovation Lab program as it looks at expanding to ninth grade students. Innovation Lab uses interdisciplinary classes and project-based learning to teach students in grades 10 to 12 currently.
“There is interest in the lower grades for this kind of learning,” said Christina Shaw, program associate for Innovation Lab and a GHS teacher.
Alliance funds will help revamp the AVID program for first generation college students at Central Middle School through increased professional development. For the second year, a grant will support Eastern Middle School’s art program so students can visit local museums and artist studios and receive lessons from working artists. At Western, a STEM elective class will be funded for its second year.
Glenville School will receive two grants, the first aimed at reducing the loss of reading skills over the summer in rising first- and second-grade students, the second to fund a transition of the school’s media center into a “library learning commons.”
Julian Curtiss School will receive funds so students in third- through fifth-grade can take ballet classes from a Connecticut Ballet member for six weeks.
Hamilton Avenue, New Lebanon School and Central Middle School will add a “maker space,” “innovation space” or “tinkering studio,” where students can experiment with engineering and design skills.
“I want all 600 kids to have a VR experience this year,” said Brian Carstens, a Central Middle School teacher.
Grants were also given to achievement gap programs for public school students at the YMCA, Greenwich United Way and Horizons at Brunswick.
“Overall, we want to raise the achievement for all Greenwich Public Schools students,” said Faryniarz.
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