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Fall 2009


~Kelly Lane Intermediate School, at the request of Principal Bob Gilbert, has received $1500 to introduce a new
afterschool enrichment opportunity. “Destination ImagiNation”
is an innovative organization that teaches creativity,
teamwork, and problem solving to teams of students in more than 30 countries. The two teams will work to create
solutions to Team Challenges, which can have theatrical, structural, improvisational, scientific, or technical focuses.
Instant Challenges provide creative quick thinking exercises. Teams of seven students compete regionally with the goal
of advancing to the Global Finals. The GEF thanks fifth grade teacher Sarah Chapple, who will coordinate the teams and
parent volunteers in this unique experience.

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~The GEF was pleased to provide a grant of $1500 to benefit Granby fifth grade students who will integrate Language
Arts and Social Studies
during a week‐long in‐school theater and literacy residency with a teaching artist from
Hartford Stage. Taught by Cynthia Gordon for seven years, the Newbury Award winning novel My Brother Sam Is Dead
is a story of personal and political conflict in the American Revolution as witnessed by a young man who places freedom
before his family. Prior to reading the book, the students explore the central themes of the story through techniques
such as improvisation, role‐play, tableau, pantomime, and text analysis. The workshop engages students, tapping all
types of intelligence as the students work as an ensemble to consider character motivations, behavior and consequence.
Upon completion of the residency, students read the novel and complete response journals. Ms. Gordon stated that
“journal entries were detailed, thoughtful, and showed evidence of critical thinking and reasoning at a far more
sophisticated level than previous classes. The depth of understanding and connection to the novel following this
program was light years beyond anything witnessed in previous classes.”

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~In a separate focus of the fifth grade curriculum, students learn a basic understanding of a how a computer works and
how information is processed. Current methods of learning, such as viewing a movie, visiting websites, and looking at
computers, may not address the needs of students who learn best in a spatial or kinesthetic “hands‐on” manner. To
address this need, Wells Road Intermediate School teacher Kathy Waddington proposed a program through which
students will build a computer, then explain the process to their classmates. The GEF was pleased to grant $325
for
the equipment for this program, and to facilitate Ms. Waddington’s effort to provide a “new method of making learning
dynamic, challenging, and hopefully stimulating an interest in lifelong learning.”

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~“Loss is a life experience that can be very troubling, not only to adults but children as well.” So wrote Heidi MacDonald,
Ph.D., School Psychologist at Wells Road Intermediate School in her grant proposal. Dr. MacDonald organized the “Live
Strong Gang” three years ago as a way for students to find support in their peers who were experiencing grief. To date,
the group has had fifteen members who have lost a parent or sibling. It has become increasingly obvious, through the
requests of students and families, that more information is needed to better support all students who experience loss
and the adults who are in their lives. The GEF was pleased to grant $500 to establish a lending library which will assist
not only the existing group, but those who may not be comfortable in a group setting. It will also allow faculty access to
materials which will allow insight into grief and teach techniques that may help students and families on a day‐to‐day
basis.

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~In his grant proposal, Physical Education Teacher Karl Gates wrote that “kindergarten through second grade levels are
the most critical when it comes to physical and mental growth.” Bowling, enjoyed by 50 million players in the United
States alone, can greatly improve hand‐eye coordination, mental processing, and body movement through muscular
development and spatial and self awareness. For those reasons the GEF has granted $600 to F.M. Kearns Primary
School, for the purchase of carpet lanes, balls, pins, and related instructional materials
.

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~Since 2006, Granby Memorial High School (GMHS) has developed a partnership with Bloomfield High School through
the state of Connecticut’s Vanguard School Initiative. One facet of this relationship was participation in the Power of
Agriculture Lecture Series
, which consisted of monthly lectures and luncheons for students and community members.
The lectures, hosted by the two schools, focused on “how individuals, alone and in small groups, can take action on
seemingly intractable environmental issues” such as sustainability. These lectures were presented by professional
scientists, policy makers and journalists who are nationally recognized as experts in this field. The luncheons were
prepared by GMHS culinary students using locally grown produce. Small groups of students and community members
worked collaboratively on structured activities to explore each topic. To support the GMHS commitment to a learning
community committed to community involvement, and to further the Vanguard mission of promoting diversity and
awareness, the GEF is pleased to grant $735 for continued participation in the lecture series. The GEF would like to
recognize GMHS science teacher Baokhanh Paton for this grant proposal and both Mr. Paton and GMHS culinary
teacher Deborah Jacques for their continued involvement.

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~The newly formed First Robotics Club of Granby Memorial Middle and Granby Memorial High Schools has received a
grant of $3000
to help fund participation in the First Robotics Program and National Competition. Granby math
teachers Caron Kempf and Margaret Bastiaanse, science teacher Sue Alender, and technology teacher Tim Barnett see
Robotics Club as a “tremendous platform for interdisciplinary curriculum opportunities in the future between math,
science, and the unified/practical arts.” These four advisors have gathered students passionate about this endeavor and
partnered them with parent, past GMHS student, and community mentors with backgrounds in engineering,
programming, and finance. Together they will work with real life applications of math, science, technology, project
management, and team building to build a common kit robot in a six week timeframe which they will take to national
competition in April. For participation in the First Robotics program, schools receive licenses for more than $60,000
worth of application software which will be available to all students.

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