NAUGATUCK — Borough educators received some financial assistance in bringing their program ideas to life.
The Naugatuck Education Foundation presented six grants totaling $19,000 to six groups of educators during a grants awards ceremony April 25. The grants are used to pay for education initiatives not funded in the school budget.
Naugatuck Education Foundation Chairman Matt Fortney said the money goes beyond helping just those involved with the schools.
“Having students and having members of our community that are better educated benefits everyone,” Fortney said. “It helps all the employers in town because you have a better educated workforce. It helps all the community organizations because when you have better folks they tend to be more involved in things. So it helps everyone.”
Hillside Intermediate School reading specialist Carolyn Mucci received $4,200 for the Moving Beyond Book Reports: Book Trailers program. The money will be used to purchase eight miniature iPads to create book trailers.
Lt. Col. Valerie Lofland and Master Sgt. Gary Morrone of the Naugatuck High School JROTC program received $2,280 to purchase a flight simulator program.
Lofland said the simulators will help students in the program better understand the mechanics of flight and prepare them to continue their aeronautical education.
Hillside teachers Maureen Greene and Karie Stango received a $1,405 grant to buy Chromebooks and iPads and install “technology math stations” in class.
“It’s like a dream come true because I always dreamed of having a technology station for my classroom,” Stango said.
Stango said the classroom currently has a variety of stations, such as a math through literature station, a hands-on station and a test review station.
“I always wanted a technology station. The kids are going to be so excited,” Stango said.
Stango said she would like to bring in students from Salem Elementary School to work with the technology stations so they can get familiar with them. She hopes to have the stations up and running during this school year.
Teacher Alison Stephens received $1,824 to start a Seaperch Robotics After School Club at City Hill Middle School.
According to the foundation, Seaperch Robotics is an engineering program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research. The aim of the club is to immerse students in science, technology, engineering and math while building an underwater remotely operated vehicle from scratch.
Teachers Roberta Buckmiller, Sean Dunn, Lisa Green and Tony Loomis got $5,561 to buy heart-rate monitors for Naugatuck High School physical education classes. The monitors will sync to iPads and provide same-time data on the time and quality of cardiovascular exercise.
“One of the most important concepts we teach in physical education is the target heart rate zone,” Loomis said. “What the heart rate monitors are going to enable us to do and our students to do is track that during physical education. Not only track it but download it and document what’s going on with our kid’s hearts. It’s a window into their hearts.”
Loomis said that as the students leave their physical education class they will receive a text message of what their heart did, how often they were in the target heart rate zone, and if they were ever below or above it during their exercise.
Salem teacher Deborah Wilson received a grant for $3,070 to expand her before school reading program at Salem. The program allows students to make video book reports about books they have read. The grant will allow her to purchase more iPads for the program.
This is the third year the foundation has awarded grants. The amount it has given has increased every year. The first year the foundation awarded $2,000 in grants and last year it gave $10,000 in grants. Fortney said the reason the foundation was able to award so much this year was due in part to the numerous community sponsors that donated.