Through the generosity of our donors, SEF has contributed over $348,863 dollars to enhance the educational quality of the children of Stonington.  The grants have been distributed in the areas of technology improvements, special projects, musical enrichment, science and nature.

In FaLL 2021 sef GRANTED $2,379.40 FOR 5 MINI-GRANTS

SMS Nutmeg Challenge- Stonington Middle School

Yoga Teacher Training- Stonington Middle School

RAYTv- Stonington Middle School

Movement and Math- West Vine Street School

Book Club Café- West Vine Street School

In Spring 2021 SEF granted $10,220 for 3 Apple Grants

$1,430 to Deans Mill School for Outdoor Classroom Supplies

Program description: Deans Mill Elementary is creating an outdoor classroom to facilitate more outdoor learning and exposure to and enjoyment of the natural world. In this space, students and teachers will be able to enjoy hands-on, authentic science lessons that would not be possible in a typical classroom. In addition, this space can be utilized for more traditional lessons that can be conducted out of doors in good weather (e.g. sustained silent reading, sketching, math games). 

$3,726 to Stonington High School for Step into Darwin's Shoes

Program description: Students will see and touch the evidence for evolution as we are learning it.  They will examine four different kinds of evidence for evolution. 1. microscope slides of embryos (pig, fish, chicken) 2. They will see and touch different limbs to visualize homologous structures  3. They will examine fossils 4. will observe and measure replicas of primate skulls.  Students will have a richer learning experience than previously when it was just photos.

$5,065 to Stonington Middle School for The Overlook

Program description: The Overlook, the first phase of a larger Stingray Harbor project, will create sustainable, inviting and flexible learning spaces in the underutilized mezzanine area of the library. Space is in high demand at SMS and purchasing a variety of multi-use, repositionable seating, and a portable power station, will transform a vacant and bare area into a welcoming learning spaces for a variety of activities.

In 2020 SEF granted $7,240 for 5 Grants

$3,340 to Deans Mill and West Vine Street Schools for Using Survival Skills and Treasure Maps to Engage Reluctant Readers

Program description- Reluctant readers often find books daunting and dry. To address this, students will learn survival and geocaching skills which will give them background knowledge for the survival texts in the ELA/SS unit. The high level of engagement will encourage students to read for both pleasure and knowledge. Students will learn to collaborate with their peers and showcase their new found skills by creating a podcast, a geo-caching treasure map, and completing a survival "obstacle course".

$2,400 to Deans Mill and West Vine Street Schools for Yellow Farmhouse Education Center, Community Connections to Our Sense of Place and Cultural Heritage

Program description- Students in 5th grade at both West Vine Street School and Deans Mill School will engage in a multidisciplinary, hands on examination of Community Connections to Our Sense of Place and Cultural Heritage at the Yellow Farmhouse Education Center in three seasons. During the fall, winter, and spring students will visit the Stone Acres Farm in Stonington for hands on learning and making connections to our social studies and language arts curriculums, their sense of place as a resident of Stonington both historically and today, and their cultural heritage. Opportunities exist for connections to our science and mathematics curriculums as well. Teaching teams will be allowed the flexibility to select activities based on expressed student interest, skill development needs, and time constraints.

$500 to Stonington Middle School for The SMS Family Antiracism Circle.

Program description- The SMS Family Antiracism Circle will begin as a book group for middle school students and their caregivers.  10 books will be introduced around the topics of race, racism, and antiracism. The group will discuss the issues raised in each book, questions that come to mind as a result of the readings, and how the topics relate to SMS and our community.  The goal of the group is to use the knowledge we gain to create an action plan.  As the meetings progress, the group will brainstorm and research ways that we can address an issue of equity and justice in our school or community.

$500 to Stonington Public Schools for VOICE.

Program description- VOICES is a district-wide program that impacts all students through the implementation of a student empowerment initiative to ensure every student in the district develops the skills and belief system to advocate for themselves and their peers. This comprehensive program will help develop student voices, foster social and emotional learning, and provide executive functioning skills to ensure all students are comfortable and capable of functioning in a virtual world. 

$500 to Stonington Public Schools for EASTCONN.

Programs description- SPS will partner with EASTCONN for teacher training on how to implement specific research-based strategies to improve student engagement in the classroom.  These strategies are referred to in the literature as "trauma sensitive practices". This year, the focus of the work is partnering with both district elementary schools for training on these practices and translating them into the hybrid and distance learning models.

In Spring 2019 SEF granted $9,930.98 for 5 Apple Grants

$500 to Stonington High School for Stammina Station

Program description: to create and implement a regular and equitable program that focuses on physical activity while simultaneously promoting healthy social/emotional development and increased academic success of the students in our self-contained Clinical Resource setting. The Stammina Station will encompass physical routines and strategies that will enhance the social/emotional supports currently in place. Through the purchase of 2 Exerpeutic 1000 Fully Adjustable Desk Folding Exercise Bikes with Pulse, the students will be able to engage in and reap the benefits of exercise while completing their assignments.

$400 to Stonington High School/ Stonington Middle School for Language and Culture Day.  

Program description: SHS members of French and Spanish Honor Societies present a variety of cultures to 6th grade students from PMS and MMS during Language and Culture Day.  SHS students create posters and activities that engage the 6th graders and give them insight into French and Spanish speaking countries around the world.  This event promotes excitement for learning languages and an understanding of the global society.  

$2,725 to Deans Mill School/West Vine Street School for We All Live Downstream.  

Program Description: This project supplies a unique, interactive model to implement authentic Environmental Earth Science problem-based experiences into the 5th grade classrooms (one is requested for each elementary school). The model, called a 3D Enviroscape® Watershed/Nonpoint Source Model, provides a hands-on interactive demonstration and exploration of multiple occurrences in a watershed, such as the sources and effects of water pollution, erosion and land management. After investigating with the model, students will comprehend the importance and requirements of a healthy watershed and how to prevent its demise.

$2,348.65 to Stonington Middle School for Book in a Day.  

Program description: 'Book In a Day' is a shared reading experience the whole school participates in on the same day. To kick off the year, build school spirit, and promote a love for books, we will hijack the whole day with reading! We will start the day with a whole school assembly to promote excitement and introduce the book, author, setting, and characters. Teachers will be given a pacing guide, so as students follow their normal schedule, they will end up reading the entire book in a day! Activities and discussions will follow each reading session.

$3,957.33 to Stonington Middle School for The Artistry of STEAM.  

Program description: Students will be exploring and applying the mathematical concepts of geometry in art and architecture as they relate to the content in the sixth grade curriculum. Project Goals: • To create a middle school unit of study that focuses on the geometry, ratio and proportion standards and the role of geometry in art and architecture that integrates all of the content areas with a relationship to our school theme: The Land and The Sea. • To motivate students to see the beauty in mathematics through works of art. • To inspire students to create their own original works of art using the knowledge gained in the units of study.

In Fall 2018 SEF granted $4,590 for 9 Mini-Grants 

A Study of Colonial America through Historical Dance -- Pawcatuck Middle School

Remembering Pawcatuck Middle School photojournalism project -- Pawcatuck Middle School

Star Lab, Earth, Moon and Sun -- Pawcatuck Middle School

Exploring Magnetic Levitation -- Mystic Middle School

CPR Training Kits -- Stonington High School

SHS Blooms after school flower arranging club -- Stonington High

Social and Emotional Learning Skills tests and resources -- Stonington High

Density Boxes -- Stonington High

Empty Bowls Community project to fight hunger -- Stonington High

In 2018 SEF granted $11,788 for 5 Apple Grant proposals

Awarded grants included:

$5,000 to Pawcatuck Middle School for Teaching Students to Create Boundaries and Choose Friends Wisely. Program description:  Often, toxic friendships or a student's inability to resolve peer issues calmly can negatively affect a student's social emotional health. This, in turn, affects their studies. By teaching students how to choose their friends wisely and how to confidently resolve peer conflicts, we can help middle school students become empowered. The lessons learned will connect with stories and novels read in 7th and 8th grade.

$3,003 to the district of Stonington for Google Expeditions (Part 2).  Program description: Google Expeditions transports students to various places around the world, outer space, underwater and inside the body. This grant would purchase an additional 10 sets of googles for our kit purchased last year by Stonington Education Fund.

$1,785 to Stonington High School for Increasing literature Access Using Audiobooks and E-books. Program description: In order to form a deeper understanding of some of the literature content for their classes, students need to be able to have the material read to them. While e-readers often provide text-to-speech, this method requires listening to a mechanical voice with no sense of tone or cadence. Having access to the high quality readings that professional narrators provide would greatly benefit these students.

$1,500 to Pawcatuck Middle School for We are Pawcatuck. Program Description: As Pawcatuck Middle School enters its final year, the photography club will gather stories from community members who have a connection to the school. Students will interview subjects, take portraits, and create poster-sized displays with images and quotes to display the memories and a piece of history of Pawcatuck Middle.

$500 to Stonington High School French and Spanish Honor Societies. Program description: SHS members of French and Spanish Honor Societies present a variety of cultures to sixth grade students from PMS and MMS. SHS students create posters and activities that engage the 6th graders and give them insight into French and Spanish speaking countries around the world. This event promotes excitement for learning languages and an understanding of the global society. 

In 2017 SEF granted $11,986 for 5 proposals

Awarded grants included:

$3,999 to the district of Stonington for Google Expeditions.  This project will bring places to life using virtual reality goggles and virtual field trips.  These places include:  underwater, space, inside the body, university campus visits, etc. Expeditions are collections of 360 panoramas and 3D images annotated with details, points of interest and questions to deepen the meaning of existing curriculum.

$3,394 to Stonington High School for Innovation Lab at the High School. For this project, the Mystic Middle School Innovation Lab will serve as a model for moving that concept up to the high school.  Students will be able to use the space to learn about unique technologies, explore interests or create things for a class.

$3,046 for Deans Mill Elementary for Building a Growth Mindset- One Month at a Time!  This project will help launch a yearlong school-wide study of having a Growth Mindset.  Each month, the administration will launch a book and topic to help students and staff examine their mindsets and to help build strong growth mindsets throughout the school.  Texts will be purchased and distributed to each grade level teacher and activities/resources will be shared to help teachers implement the text into the grade level classroom to promote understanding of growth mindset.

$867 to Stonington High School for Computer Club Startup.  This grant will provide the needed equipment to start a computer club at the high school.

$680 to West Broad Street School for Loving Solutions.  This funding will provide for the purchase of curriculum from The Parent Project which will be utilized to provide information to help parents apply behavioral interventions in the home. 

In 2016 SEF granted $4,505 for 5 proposals

Awarded grants included:

$2604.25 to Pawcatuck Middle School for Chemistry, Cats and Cetaceans- Oh My! This project supplies equipment and resources to implement authentic chemistry, biotechnology and genetic problem based experiences.  It begins with a unit on molecular polymers, focusing on the creation and decomposition of plastics and their effect on our environment, both local and worldwide. 

$714 to Stonington High School for Experiential Connections and Learning. This grant provided the opportunity for 15 students to participate in an experiential learning ropes course activity.  The participating group will be a collaboration of students with autism and students without autism.  The goal is to establish a level of understanding and trust amongst all students, thus empowering each student to increase their own level of peer leadership.

$492 to Pawcatuck Middle School for The Pequot Story: Celebrating Heritage- Indigenous Life in CT.  This will provide an interactive social studies experience to learn about Pequot Native American lives and culture before European exploration. 

$395 to Pawcatuck Middle School for Fantasy Adventure Monster Creation.  This project will bring Mike Squatrito, the author of The Overlords series, to the school to present a workshop for students focused on the basic concepts of creating a story, including characters, settings, plot points etc and is followed by a monster creation where the students split into groups to brainstorm, foster teamwork, and present their creations to the rest of the class.

$300 to Pawcatuck Middle School for Young Adult LGBT Books for the PMS Library.  This grant provided for the purchase of young adult fiction and nonfiction LGBT books for the PMS library.  This collection will support the recent staff professional development training on LGBT issues and will provide for LGBT resources for discussion in the classroom.

In 2015 SEF granted $8,223 for 4 proposals

Awarded grants included:

$5,000 to Deans Mill/West Broad for Media Mania- Listening and Learning.  The goal of this project was to incorporate electronic devices (iPad minis and Playaways) into the elementary school libraries to be used for whole class, small group and / or individual use with library and grade level content area curriculum.

$1,400 to Stonington High School for Scorsese, Spielberg, Stonington!  This grant provided for the purchase of two D-SLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that will provide students the technology and equipment needed in 2015 and forward. These cameras will give our more advanced students greater opportunities to create a truly cinematic style and help them to gain a deeper understanding of the technology used today. It will also help them keep pace with film-making technology that is advancing at a more rapid pace than ever.

$1,573 to Mystic Middle School for Innovation Lab:  A Makerspace in the Library.  Makerspaces allow for students to design, create, and build 3D objects. This award will fund a 3D printer, supplies and software students can utilize for the design process to solve problems, enhance their learning, and/or to create something completely new.

$250 for Middle School Financial Night Seminar.  This award will provide a financial aid seminar for middle school families to plan ahead for the college financial aid process.

In 2014 SEF granted $11,879 for 7 proposals

Awarded grants included:

$4,422 to Stonington High School for Equipping our Students and our Labs for the 21st Century.  The goal of this project is to update the technology available in the chemistry labs in order to provide every 11th grade student authentic, sophisticated, accurate lab experiences.  Modern university labs use sophisticated data collection equipment which Stonington students need exposure to.

$3,531 to Stonington High School for Steel Drum Band.  This grant will provide for the purchase of instruments to begin a steel drum band.

$1,636 to Mystic Middle School for Sea Perch. The goal of this program is to provide students with the opportunity to build a machine- an ROV.  They will learn to solder, cut, measure, troubleshoot, and learn that things are built and designed by people like them.

$746 to Pawcatuck Middle School for Outdoor Chess Anyone.  Middle school students, during the summer extended school year time will learn the complex game of chess and design and build an outdoor chessboard.  Students will also teach the game to younger students.

$669 to Stonington High School for Circles at Stonington High School- Building Relationships for Life.  Funding would be used to purchase the CIRCLES program- a set of DVDs, wall graphs, student and teacher materials to provide special needs students a visual understanding of social boundaries and relationships in their daily lives in school and in the community. Includes hosting an evening for parents to learn about the program.

$525 for Pawcatuck Middle School for Using Literature, Writing and Technology to Challenge Stereotypes. Funding would be used to purchase books and subscriptions for students to have the opportunity to read, write and carry out a project about other cultures while integrating a discussion of stereotypes. 

$350 for West Vine Street School for Classroom Book.  The goal of the project is to publish a story that the children would collectively write, about a sock monkey.  The sock monkey would go home with each student where they would write a page and draw a picture to complete the book.  Each child would then receive a copy of the book.

In Fall 2013 SEF granted $3,930 for 3 proposals

Awarded grants included:

$2800 was awarded to Pawcatuck Middle School for Hartford Stage Connections - Bringing Literature to Life.  Connections is an in-school program that uses theater techniques to strengthen reading comprehension and build excitement about reading.  For five consecutive days, a Hartford Stage teaching artist will visit a classroom to lead drama activities based on a work of literature chosen by the school.  Through improvisation, role-play, dialogue, and other theater techniques, students explore the context, plot and characters of the book.

$770 was awarded to Pawcatuck Middle and West Broad Street Schools for Circles of Safety and Support.  This grant will complement our existing social thinking curriculum and enable the team to explicitly teach social boundaries.  The grant will also teach students relationship boundaries and relationship specific behaviors. 

$360 was awarded to West Vine Street School for Garden Journals for Sensory Garden.  This grant will fund garden journals that students will use to record their observations and experiences in the West Vine Sensory Garden throughout their three years at West Vine Street School.  The project goal is to foster thoughtful contemplation and exploration of the various facets of the sensory garden. 

In Spring 2013 SEF granted $10,300 for 3 proposals

Awarded grants included:

$5000 to Pawcatuck Middle School for The New Pencil - Chromebook. The use of technology, in the form of a Chromebook, will give our students the opportunity to truly use technology as a tool for higher-level learning.  The goal of this project is to make integration of technology authentic, purposeful and meaningful while also encouraging higher level thinking skills through the teaching of the Common Core State Standards.  Students will use technology as a tool, just like a pencil or a piece of paper.  Students will also be able to reach a higher level of understanding by collaborating with each other through blogs and interactive learning.

$3800 was awarded to Mystic Middle School for Laptops for Special Education.  The goals of this grant are: To allow for consistent access to computers for special education student, increase participation and engagement in individualized programs for students with disabilities, increase math and/or reading levels by utilizing computer based programs with students as part of their individualized education plan, increase student engagement in learning and improve progress in monitoring of students with special needs 

$1500 to Deans Mill School for Making Track Connections. This grant will resurface the current grass/crushed stone track with asphalt.  Fixing the track surface will allow students the opportunity to achieve the best results they possibly can on the mile run test as part of the yearly CT Physical Fitness Assessment.  Evidence for the success of this goal will also be the increase in the number of students participating in walking clubs.  Having a better surface to work on will allow more laps to be completed during recess times.  The likelihood of injuries will be less if students can be given a smoother surface to walk/run on.  No longer will they have to run on uneven ground and around areas that have sunken in due to ground erosion.  In addition, use of the track by classroom teachers will increase as they utilize it to enhance math and science curricular concepts.