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.
Click here to purchase notecards created by West Hartford Public School Students to support the Teacher Grant Program.
Grants Awarded to Duffy this year:
Anne & Jim Carroll Grant: Magnets, Electricity and Optics in the World Around Us Kim Jackson, Lead Teacher & Rick Bassett (Norfeldt)
This in-residence grant with Experiential Educators of Connecticut, will provide 5th grade students an opportunity to engage in research, scientific discourse, and hands on science experiments that will promote a deeper understanding of magnets, electricity and optics in the world around us. Each class will experience the program for a total of twelve scheduled programs (six for electricity and magnetism and six for optics). The programs are designed to stimulate student interest in STEM through inquiry-based hands-on activities that concentrate on the scientific method and the 5E Model of Instruction (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend and Evaluate).
Books in Many Languages Kate Prigodich, Lead Teacher
This grant will provide funding for a bilingual section of Duffy Elementary School library (grades K-5). The bilingual section will feature books in languages other than English, including but not limited to Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Arabic, Tamil, Dutch and Burmese. The section will provide leveled monolingual books in foreign languages. These books will offer students the opportunity to increase their literacy in their first language while learning English. The books will expose students to text in multiple languages. This activity fosters growth in reading fluency and comprehension, vocabulary growth and development, parental involvement and cultural competence. ELL teacher and media specialist will collaborate on English language learners's access to appropriate books from this section. They will also contine to work to build the books collection. Teachers can bring these books into the classrooms or students can take them out and read them at home or during silent reading time in school. Reasearch shows that literacy skills in a first language will transfer when learning a second or even third language.
Carson Family Foundation Grant: Great Artist Unit- Art in Residency Laura Veilleux, Lead Teacher & Noreen Cavanaugh
Artist Kathleen Tracy, in this In Residence Grant, will introduce pieces of art and discuss the inspiration for each piece. Kathleen reviews the "artist tools" with the Duffy Elementary students and explains each material. She will then describe different techniques and materials she uses to get the desired effect. As she works, Kathleen does a think aloud to explain her choices and decisions as she works. Kathleen will spend an hour in each of the four kindergarten classrooms.
Falvey Linen & Uniform Supply Grant: Time to Rock and Roll! Rebecca Pauluk, Lead Teacher
Mike Couette will visit Duffy Elementary School with rock and mineral samples to instruct students on geological properties. 106 fourth grade students will meet with Mr. Couette for 2 one-hour sessions in which he will conduct experiments and lead discussions about the properties of minerals. Students will have the opportunity to use a magnifying glass, streak plate, plate glass, penny, nail and steel file to test and record the results of mineral hardness, streak, color, fracture, luster and specific gravity.
Hawkins Family Grant: Step Back Into Time~ Primary Sources in Action Sheila Levanti, Lead Teacher
To align with the primary source focus in the fourth-grade history curriculum, fourth-grade students at Duffy Elementary School will attend a field trip to either the Mark Twain House or Harriet Beecher Stowe House and be exposed to important local history. Students will be split into two groups and each group will study either Mark Twain or Harriet Beecher Stowe and complete a final project at the end of the unit, after the field trip is completed. The history curriculum provides exposure to first-hand documents, letters, pictures, and manuscripts, but often experiences and seeing in-person how our local hero and heroine lived are left out. This grant provides a unique opportunity for students to see up-close where Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe lived and what their surroundings actually looked like during important moments of their lives. Students visiting the Mark Twain House will have a 60-minute guided tour in addition to a 60-minute educational presentation where they will be exposed to actual artifacts and clothes from the early 20th century. The Harriet Beecher Stowe House experience will include a 45- minute tour that focuses on how Harriet Beecher Stowe created positive change and students will also be able to spend time with primary sources provided by the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. This field trip will be a memorable experience for all students involved and elevate their knowledge of our local heroes.
Heather Congdon Memorial Grant: Chariot of the Sun Rebecca Pauluk, Lead Teacher
Jeff Benoit will be an artist in residence for day at Duffy Elementary School. Fourth grade students will experience Chariot of the Sun, where Benoit will use a combination of poetry, masks, mime, and audience participation to learn the Greek myth of Phaethon. Afterward, students will create life-sized recreations of a Greek or Roman god or goddess filled with information about the subject they research. Poetry CSI Anna Capabianoc & Sheila Levanti (Duffy) This grant funds Poetry CSI, a program for ninth grade students at Hall High School that involves students blacking out text to uncover poems within larger works of fiction or nonfiction that express central themes. In the second week of the grant, ninth graders will be paired with fourth graders at Duffy Elementary School. The ninth graders will introduce themselves via Skype, explain what a blackout poem is, and read or show several examples. In the third week, the ninth graders will visit the fourth graders and work in small groups to find hidden poems within the texts the fourth graders are reading. This grant will help students analyze text, determine central themes and ideas, and determine the meanings of specific words or phrases, all using strong text-based evidence for support.
Seritage Growth Properties Grant: Mike the Science Guy for 3rd Grade Gayle Campbell, Lead Teacher
Mike Caouette, owner of Experiential Educators of Connecticut, will visit Duffy Elementary School and teach 66 third graders about force and motion and states of matter. This in-residence grant will instruct students through interactive experiments with rockets, race cars and force and motion apparatus. The experiments will stimulate student interest in STEM through hands-on activities that concentrate on the scientific method. Spelling? I'm Game for That! Stephen Lewis, Lead Teacher This grant funds 10-week simulation where fourth grade students at Duffy Elementary School will inherit a map from an elderly wizard, and will travel to a castle full of gold atop Treasure Mountain by working together in cooperative-learning teams. Students move along the trail by scoring well on spelling tests, displaying good behavior, and participation in activities involving creative writing, identifying parts of speech, and alphabetizing. Through this program, students will improve their spelling by writing poetry and reading aloud in an environment of teamwork and friendly competition.
These Little Lights of Mine: Rebecca Pauluk, Lead Teacher
Mike Couette of Experiential Educators of Connecticut will visit fourth graders at Duffy Elementary School to increase their knowledge of light as a form of energy. There will be four sessions set up across the school year to coincide with light instruction units in fourth grade. Additionally, each session will include a one-hour presentation from Experiential Educators of Connecticut. Students will conduct experiments in class to learn more about how light travels, as well as the many properties of light, and be exposed to prisms, lasers, and spectrometers. This grant will provide a unique opportunity for students to have experiences with equipment such as spectrometers, lasers, and color paddles, in addition to an expert in the field who can broaden perspectives already outlined in the curriculum.
West Hartford Education Association Grant: At the (Science) Center of it All Sheila Levanti, Lead Teacher
Fourth grade students at Duffy Elementary School will visit the Discovery labs at the Science Center where students will participate in hands-on activities related to both common core standards and the interests in students. They will be a part of "Sights and Sounds", an interactive exhibit where students can explore how sound is made and changed, how light travels, and how technology is used to bring both sounds and sight to those without.