Westborough Education Foundation awards grants

Westborough – Videoconferencing in French with students from Haiti, robotics programs for elementary and high school students, a beetle ranching project designed to improve Westborough wetlands, and an interdisciplinary program to create an intricate evidence database to solve a “crime” are among the 10 innovative programs that the Westborough Education Foundation (WEF) has funded for the 2010-2011 school year. With a wide range of grant requests coming in from teachers and administrators from every school across all grade levels, WEF awarded a total of $17,026 for the year.

“We were delighted to have received such a wonderful array of requests from our schools,” said WEF President Judy Martin said. “The Grant Committee examined each carefully before recommending its selections to the board. We are thrilled about the many creative programs we can support in math and science, literacy, social studies and foreign languages.”

The foundation announced it will hold its Fourth Annual Trivia Bee Monday, Oct. 18, at the Doubletree Hotel at 6:30 p.m. The foundation’s largest fund-raiser each year, all proceeds support educational grants for the Westborough schools.

In addition, a Family Literacy Night designed around interactive events celebrating literacy will benefit the Pre K to grade three age group. The program will reinforce the home-school connection. Some workshops will be presented in Spanish and Portuguese.

Sixth-graders at Mill Pond School will continue to benefit from the wide-ranging Africa Day program that is being funded for its third year. Robotics Alive will be a new program for fifth- and sixth-graders included as part of their technology class. The program will give students an introduction to programming using Logo as its foundation. Students will learn about robots and robotics and will program ‘pro-bots’ to accomplish certain tasks.

Three grants went to the Sarah Gibbons Middle School this year. “CSI: Gibbons” gets its name from the popular television series. Teachers will design a program that combines math, science and literature to help students do their own investigation of a “crime” in the science lab that involves the destruction of valuable microscopes.

Gibbons ELL students will benefit from a grant supporting innovative approaches that reinforce the learning of history. For the second year, a grant will support after-school software design with Scratch Club. Scratch is a software program to teach complex programming concepts that was developed at MIT in conjunction with a National Science Foundation grant.

The Education Foundation made four grants to Westborough High School programs. Environmental science students are collaborating on a joint project with the Westborough Community Land Trust in a multiyear study that will raise beetles to help naturally control an invasive plant.

French students will connect via videoconference with students from Haiti in a cultural exchange that will include seven sessions. Another grant will enable students to visualize three-dimensional math concepts using computer programs through innovative audio-visual approaches. A second robotics club grant will continue to support students in learning how mechanics, velocity, acceleration and friction come into play in real-world situations. It will also enable the club to participate in a competition again this year.

Linda Townsend is the 2010 chair for the Trivia Bee team sponsorships. Any organization or group wishing to sponsor a team for the bee should contact Townsend at 508-366- 0625. Sponsoring teams from businesses, community groups and neighborhood teams can use their own trivialists or request a team of trivia buff s to represent them from the school administration and faculty, the student body or other community members.

WEF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial support for projects and programs that expand educational opportunities, foster and stimulate creativity, and enhance the academic experiences of local students. In addition, its purpose is to establish a permanent fund to support grant awards for innovation initiatives that are above and beyond the base curriculum requirements and outside the scope of the Westborough School Department’s budget.

For more information, contact Margot Walthall at the WEF at 781-507-6511 or mwalthall@charter.net.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=8206

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