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RSU22 Education Foundation Supports "One Book, One School Initiative"

Education Foundation Mini-Grants program is aiding inspired education.
Last fall the RSU22 Education Foundation was able to award seven mini grants to teachers throughout the school district. These grants, which are made possible by the generous support of businesses and members of the community enable the Education Foundation to supplement classroom budgets and promote inspired educational programming to the students of RSU22. One of the grants awarded during the fall grant cycle was to help fund the One School One Book program at the McGraw School.

We checked in with Ms. Kimberley Moran at the McGraw School to see how the initiative went.

What is the goal of One School One Book ?
One School One Book is a movement designed to get an entire school community involved in the joy of reading. Each teacher gets a copy of the selected book. The idea is that when everyone shares the same text, the community becomes closer as they have something in common to talk about. We chose Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate and the artist G. Brian Karas. We chose this book because children K-2 have a natural instinct to protect animals. This wonderful book presents the extraordinary real story of a special gorilla. We intentionally chose a nonfiction picture book because children have lots of questions and diverse interests. Texts that address these can increase motivation to read. For many students, this is actually the type of reading they prefer. Much of the reading students will encounter outside of school is informational, and adults who model reading read a great deal of non-fiction, including informational text. As students progress through the grades and on to college or work, they will be expected to do more informational reading, and the reading will increase in difficulty. Because informational text teaches about the natural and social world, an added benefit is that students who read this type of text will build background knowledge of the natural and social world. They will bring more prior knowledge to the page when encountering future texts. Much of this information about informational text can be found at the Teachers First website.

What was the reaction of students when you started this activity in your class?
Students were riveted by Ivan. They listened and asked more intuitive and inferential questions. They chose to read this book on their own for a close read.

How have you seen this activity benefit your students?
Their responses showed us overwhelmingly that kids can process much higher level information early on. We need to give them the right materials and time to process. Literacy teachers shared that their kids became more engaged with nonfiction, particularly books about gorillas, right after their study of this wonderful book.

What surprises came from initiating this program with the help of the grant from the Education Foundation?
Some of the more surprising things that occurred as a result of the One School One Book project is that teachers began to talk about the books (or Mentor Texts) that worked in their classrooms. Kristin Briggs, Principal at McGraw, said it best, “It is wonderful to have a common text among our staff. It enables us to have conversations together and share ideas on how to use this book and others with our students in creative, engaging ways. The funding for this is very much appreciated!”

 

District Teachers Earn Gold Star Awards

The following teachers received Gold Star Teacher Awards this winter as part of the RSU22 Education Foundation’s Gold Star Teacher Award Program. Mr. Matt Lindemann and Ms. Renita Downe from the Weatherbee school. Recipients also include Ms. Sharon DeBeck and Ms. Susan Ward from the McGraw school. The Gold Star awards provides student families with a way to honor their teachers, and support innovative projects in the coming years. In exchange for a $20 donation, each teacher received a Gold Star Award, and the money was dedicated to the Foundation’s Mini-Grant Program. Congratulations to these teachers and be sure to keep an eye out for nomination forms coming home with students this spring.

 

Hampden Family Dentistry Supports Innovative Education

Education Foundation Receives Donation

The RSU22 Education Foundation is pleased to announce that Hampden Family Dentistry has made a donation of two thousand dollars in support of efforts to encourage inspiring and innovative education. According to Hampden Family Dentistry’s Dr. Emily Gazitua, the donation was made in support of “a sound, yet varied education that can be the foundation for success of our children.” Peter Witt, Chairman of the Education Foundation lauded the financial support from Dr. Gazitua; “We are grateful for Hampden Family Dental’s commitment to Education in RSU22. Emily has been an advocate and supporter of the district in the past and we are pleases she is partnering with us again for the benefit of the children.”

If you would like to support the efforts of the RSU22 Education Foundation to provide alternative funding for innovative programs and educational opportunities please visit our website at rsu22educationfoundation.org.

 

Support the Reeds Brook Trail Project!

The RSU22 community is blessed to have many partnerships that not only enhance the education of our students, but also serve to bring the people of the community together. One such inspirational project that has grown dramatically within the last year is the Reeds Brook Trail System. Working as a team, the students, teachers and community members of RSU22 have recently completed a large section of “phase two” of the trail system. This trail system, located in the heart of Hampden, will be a multi-purpose network of paths that will be available for students and community members to access for both educational and recreational purposes.

The RSU22 Education Foundation supports this worthy endeavor because we believe that it is a working example of what makes our schools exciting for our students and academically rigorous as well. As part of our mission statement we place special emphasis on innovative projects and community partnerships. The Reeds Brook Trail System will provide future generations of our children a practical and hands-on learning environment for a variety of subjects. Teachers will be able to take their students out of the classroom and provide a high quality learning environment that is essential for student success. Our athletic teams will also be able to access the trails year round for training and competition so that they can continue to achieve the high level of success that they have become known for.

Innovative projects such as this are worthy our support and many in the community have already stepped forward to help establish the trail system. Troop 41 of the Boy Scouts of America and the Penobscot Valley Ski Club are among the groups that have provided much needed muscle power. In addition, Katahdin Trust Company recently donated five thousand dollars in financial support and going well beyond their contractual obligations, Ground Perfection Specialist Corporation has provided a forestry mower in order to clear trails for further development.

This worthy project is still in need of continued support from our community. The RSU22 Education Foundation has established a link to donate via credit card on our website at rsu22educationfoundation.org. In addition, the Reeds Brook Trail System has instituted a corporate donor program so that local businesses are able to support the trail system as well.

Simply access their website through the RSU22 Education Foundation page to find out more. See you on the trails!

 

Education Foundation Awards Garden Mini-Grant

Last fall the RSU22 Education Foundation was able to award seven mini grants to teachers throughout the school district. These grants, which are made possible by the generous support of businesses and members of the community enable the Education Foundation to supplement classroom budgets and promote inspired educational programming to the students of RSU22. One of the grants awarded during the fall grant cycle was to aid the garden and hoop house project at Reeds Brook Middle School. The Education Foundation recently checked in with Ms. Kerrilyn Marzullo and Ms. Cynthia Buzzini to see how the grants were helping bring inspiring education to the students of Reeds Brook.

RSU22 Education Foundation: "What was the inspiration for this program and how will the mini-grant help?"
Ms Buzzini and Ms. Marzullo: "Clare Cole has maintained the greenhouse for the past few years and has harvested close to 4lbs of salad greens (this season alone) for the Reeds Brook MS salad bar. . We are going to amend and replace some of the soil in the beds this summer and expect to produce a great deal more for the next school year."

RSU22 Education Foundation: "What is your future vision for this project and how will the mini-grant award help you achieve it?"
Ms Buzzini and Ms. Marzullo: "We also decided to enlarge the outside plot this year because we needed more space last summer and we will be providing some of the produce to the new RSU22 summer feeding program in Winterport, managed by Chris Greenier. We added about 550 square feet and the kids in the Hampden Recreation Kids Kamp will once again help us maintain the garden in the summer, as they have done the past few years. It's wonderful to see the kids excited about growing their food."

RSU22 Education Foundation: What were some of the difficulties in getting this project off the ground?"
Ms Buzzini and Ms. Marzullo: "Our biggest challenge the past few years has been the soil in the outside plot. Through a connection with a new garden group member, Pam Tremblay, Willow Drive Farm in Winterport is generously donating a truckload of much-needed aged manure and the RSU22 team (Rodney) has been a huge help ntilling the soil for us! We had a great harvest last year (see photo) and expect a great deal more this summer."

RSU22 Education Foundation: "What is the reaction of students when they are out working on the garden and in the hoop house?"
Ms Buzzini and Ms. Marzullo: "We have such an enthusiastic group of gardeners making our Farm to School project a reality. We have lots of laughs while working hard and would love to have more community members - of all ages - join our group. It's not hard labor - we all do whatever we can and there is no pressure. I'm in the process of updating the website with more photos and information. There is a link on the district' homepage http://www.rsu22.us/. Also, Rich Dudley, a RBMS teacher, has joined our group and is revitalizing our compost program, which we hope to greatly expand this summer."

Please consider supporting classroom programs such as this by making a contribution to the RSU22 Education Foundation. Visit our website at rsu22educationfoundation.org to learn more.

 

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