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District News 

The Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools at Charter Oak International Academy
Posted 10/05/2018 03:10PM

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.

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Grants Awarded to Charter Oak International Academy this year:

Atria Hamilton Heights Grant: Experiencing Science
Kirsten Sanderson, Lead Teacher

Known for his masterful approach to creating hands-on activities that help students understand abstract science concepts, science educator Mike Caouette returns to Charter Oak International Academy under this in-residence grant. All students in grades 2 through 5 will be engaged in instruction, experiments and projects that support and enhance the school’s IB science curriculum. In one-hour sessions with each individual classroom, Mike will focus his content and activities for Grade 2 on States of Matter, Grade 3 on Forces and Motion, and Grade 4 on Rocks and Minerals. Mike will conduct two separate one-hour sessions on Electricity/ Magnetism and Optics for each Grade 5 classroom. The overall program reinforces the importance of applying scientific inquiry with real word applications.


Carson Family Foundation Grant: Connecticut River Simulation/Exploration
Rebecca Behlman, Lead Teacher & Gina Navarra

4th graders at Charter Oak International Academy will take on the persona of an early explorer or settler (explorer, native american, conservationist, boater, engineer, industrialist, steamboater, shipbuilder, farmer, or settler). The class will view the orientation film “The River that Connects Us." Students will then take an excursion on a sailing schooner. The grant incorporates facets of the International Baccalaureate curriculum, the West Hartford 4th grade curriculum.


Dougie and Tom Trumble Grant: Building Cultural Appreciation for Indigenous Peoples
Lindsey Roberts, Lead Teacher & JoAnn Lizon, Kirsten Sanderson, Cristina Perriello

The Red Hawk troupe from Cape Cod, Massachusetts will visit the students at Charter Oak International Academy (COIA) and provide an in-depth look at Wampanoag culture. This grant will be executed in a variety of ways to reach learners of all levels such as assemblies and small-group learning. The Red Hawk troupe teaches about honoring the Wampanoag culture, sustainability, and giving thanks, which directly correlate to COIA school’s goals of peace, sustainability, and being internationally-minded. Exposure to the Red Hawk troupe and their stories and history will give the students at COIA a real-world example of how their learning connects to the larger world.


Dr. Scott and Cyndi Brown Family Grant: A Trip to the United Nations
Montserrat Rich, , Lead Teacher & Abigail Esposito (Conard High)

In this unique experience, 88 students in the 5th grade from Charter Oak International Academy along with a select group of students from the Human Rights high school class, will have an amazing experience visiting the United Nations in New York City. The students will be welcomed by a multilingual tour guide and taken on a journey through the corridors of international diplomacy, where they will learn about the history and structure of the UN. The students will learn how the United Nations deals with issues such as promotion of human rights, disarmament, peacekeeping and sustainable development. The students will see remnants of the nuclear explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and will also have an opportunity to view a briefing by a UN representative on a specific topic. These students will also participate in a human rights forum with high school students to extend their learning.


Founders Grant in honor of Dougie Trumble and Heather Congdon: Birds of Prey
Adrianne Giammatteo, Lead Teacher & Nora Brown, Michelle Florence

The immensely popular and impactful Wingmasters program is funded under this grant as a culminating activity for the third grade Animals Adaptations unit. Dedicated to increasing public awareness and appreciation of birds of prey, the program highlights the idea that living things go through a process of change to survive. After sharing her knowledge of birds of prey adaptations, Julie Ann Collier will show Charter Oak International Academy students approximately five birds of prey who are live examples of physical and behavioral adaptations. The program is a rich and unique experience that very directly engages students in first-hand experience and complements the academic material covered in the classroom.


Great by 8 Grant: Prolific Pollinator Paradise
Elizabeth Cannone, Lead Teacher & Nichola Dustin

Pre-K students at Charter Oak International Academy will participate in the Prolific Pollinator Paradise Grant, a unique experience creating and maintaining a natural habitat at school. Having a habitat to visit daily will provide students with the opportunity to observe and wonder about types of species, their needs, food sources, stages of development and the food chain. Students will also be making observations and developing their documentation skills during visits to the habitat. They will develop the ability to use evidence found during their observations to better understand the species in the habitat. Later in the year, students will be able to use the habitat to define a problem and investigate firsthand the possible solutions utilizing the space. They will keep a journal to document throughout the school year.


James M. Ellis Memorial Grant: Deepening our Understanding of Language and Culture
Cristina Perriello, Lead Teacher & Kris Plasse, Jo-Ann Lizon, Lindsey Roberts

This grant at Charter Oak International Academy will support a workshop for fifth graders and a school-wide assembly lead by The National Theater of the Deaf (NTD) to enhance students' understanding of American Sign Language (ASL). Fifth graders will participate in workshops where they will learn the history and components of ASL and history of the NTD. In addition, fifth grade students will learn the Peace Pledge in ASL and will go on to teach this to younger grades. All students will benefit and participate in a school-wide performance of “A Show of Hands” performed by the NTD.


Rob and Tiffany Grossman Grant: Roots of Government
Gina Navarra, Lead Teacher & Rebecca Behlman

This grant will allow 4th graders at Charter Oak International Academy to visit the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) followed by a visit to the State Capital to meet with local government representatives and a tour of the legislative offices at the State Capital. This aligns with the 4th grade social studies unit of study on Connecticut Government. The program at CHS involves the students electing a governor, a live demonstration of how courts work and learning the process of legislative debate. After the CHS program, the students will travel to the State Capital for a meeting with a  local legislative representative to discuss how government provides basic services to its constituents and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.


West Hartford Education Association Grant: Cider and Syrup-Learning how food goes from farm to table
Randi Leopold, Lead Teacher (Webster Hill), Martina Cravedi (Smith), Elizabeth Cannone (Charter Oak), Nichola Dustin (Charter Oak), Cindy Barron (Charter Oak)

Pre-K students from all schools will visit Auerfarm in Bloomfield during the fall and apple season and in the late winter during maple sugaring season. The farm-to-table connection will be made and the young students will be able to spend more time outside. This real world experience will be an invaluable lesson in understanding nature and the connection we have with it.

West Hartford Public Schools

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