Grant Spotlight

High School Robotics Club

posted 27 Dec 2016, 17:30 by Webmaster Foundation51   [ updated 27 Dec 2016, 17:54 ]

The Greely High School Robotics Club gives students a chance to apply lessons they’ve learned from a broad array 
of classes (e.g. general science, computer science, physics) in a practical situation. Andrew Baca, a former science teacher and current member of the science staff at Greely High School has prior exposure to robotics competitions and applied for a grant in the 2016 spring grant cycle. Foundation 51 was proud to award a grant substantial enough to fund the Robotics Club this fall.  The Club already has 14 students participating - enough to sponsor three teams working on one robot each. Club members meet twice a week at the high school.  The Robotics Club’s main activity is to design and build robots to bring to local competitions. Baca makes sure that the students have the materials, direction, and support to build and compete.

In addition to fostering interest in physics, computer science, and programming, the Club promotes teamwork and communication skills. Eacindividual contributes some range of leadership, project management, mechanical awareness, technological savvy, and, of course, problem solving skills to his or her team. The Club provides an opportunity to bring students together to explore and to practice these vital skills regularly.  Baca anticipates that participation will continue to grow over the next few years. As the Club grows, he hopes to extend not only the number of teams composed of high school students but also to expand the Club to include middle school students as well.

Foundation 51 is pleased to have been able to help enrich the intellectual and personal growth of a number of students at Greely High School outside the classroom with this fun and innovative project. We thank Andrew for his leadership and commitment.

Thanks to all who attended the Fall Fling!

posted 20 Sep 2016, 12:11 by Webmaster Foundation51   [ updated 23 Oct 2016, 11:46 ]

What a great turn out on the much fun had by all who attended!  More updates and photos from the night coming soon...


Special thanks to our Summa Cum Laude Sponsors:

Jennifer Wiessner, LCSW, CST of Raising Sexually Healthy Children Workshops, 

Jeffrey Pierce with Mulkerin Real Estate


And to these Generous Sponsors:

Captain Bangaroo

Fire & Co

The Hein Family

Heartwood Essentials

Lani Toscano Design

Matt Shipman & Erica Brown

Savvy Event Rental

Parent University

posted 23 May 2016, 15:37 by Webmaster Foundation51   [ updated 7 Jun 2016, 16:31 ]

Parent University brings parents together in our community to learn from experts and each other about key topics relevant to raising and educating kids in today’s world. The Greely PTO (Parent/Teacher Organization) has run a similar parent educational lecture series in the past. This fall, both the PTO and Foundation 51 had an interest in planning a parent lecture series, thus the collaboration was formed. Foundation 51 awarded a grant to support Parent University during the Fall grant cycle.

Parent University has been a successful partnership among PTO, Foundation 51, and school administrators. Each informational session has provided a forum that has attracted, not only parents, but teachers, administrators, and other members of the community to come together and learn about topics to help students succeed in and out of the classroom. These lectures have been thoughtful in connecting parents with local community experts and resources.

There was remarkable community participation in the inaugural year. A total of six sessions were held. “It was truly a collaborative effort. Sessions attracted anywhere from 15-65 attendees and we were delighted that hundreds of parents in our community were able to benefit from the program. Parents were relieved to learn that they have similar concerns and anxieties as other parents and that together we can find solutions and share useful ideas. We are excited as we plan for another year of valuable discussions within our community,” says Laura Singer, Greely PTO Board Member.

Some of the sessions held this year were: Prevention of Teenage Substance Use & Abuse, An Intro to Digital Citizenship, Raising Healthy Eaters, Building True Strength, Parenting Anxious Kids, and Hardy Girls Healthy Women. Feedback from the community surveys and post event feedback forms are utilized to gather information on what topics are of interest and used for planning future educational sessions.

Stay tuned for more FREE and informative sessions this fall! Foundation 51 has helped support this program for the 2016-2017 school year in our Spring grant cycle. 

Check out the Spring Newsletter.

RISE (research in STEM education) Grant Study

posted 1 Feb 2016, 13:20 by Webmaster Foundation51   [ updated 1 Feb 2016, 13:26 ]

In the summer of 2015, Foundation 51 awarded MSAD #51 an $11,500 grant to support the continuation of the RISE (research in STEM education) Grant Study
and fund the instructional resource kits used by students in Kindergarten through 5th grade, currently 558 students. The first year of the RISE grant study was a free program for the school district where the State funded grant covered both the digital curriculum as well as the instructional resource kits. In the second year (2015 - 16 school year), the program was expected to be funded entirely by the school district. The school administration and staff wanted to continue this program, funding for the resource kits portion was not accounted for in the budget. This is where Foundation 51 became involved and awarded the grant to the school district. 

Last year, most of the K-5 teachers voluntarily elected to participate in the RISE grant study that focuses on a new way of learning science; student learning through making connections that involve science and math together.

New science standards, NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), indicate that an integrated approach to instruction is the most effective way for students to learn science. The school administration agreed that the best approach for students in relation to helping them build a solid foundation in science and meet new standards was to use the STEMscopes curriculum for science. The instructional resource kits allow the students and teachers in MIW and the Middle School to do this. 

Mary Train, a Kindergarten teacher at MIW started using the STEM instructional kits this fall with her classroom. She says her students are highly engaged in science now that they are working with the STEMscopes and using the STEM resource kits. “They love seeing that science is on our schedule during the day. When the materials come out, they know they are going to be having fun learning with hands-on investigations and great discussions!” Mary said.

To date, most of the classrooms at MIW have been using the resource kits, and at the Middle School a few classrooms in 4th and 5th grades have begun using them.

The program thus far has been successful from a teaching perspective, reflects Mary. Although it is not without challenges as this program is new to not only
the students, but the staff as well. Teachers will be learning how to best organize and keep accurate inventory on supplies in the building.
Reception of this program has been positive across the board, from staff to students to parents. Mary said parents have commented on how impressed they are with their children’s learning and thinking in science and their excitement for STEM. Teachers and administrators are excited as well to see the engagement and learning in their students using the new curriculum and kits.

See the Fall Newsletter for more information on what is going on with Foundation 51!

Parent University

posted 4 Nov 2015, 12:53 by Webmaster Foundation51   [ updated 4 Nov 2015, 13:03 ]

Co-Sponsored by PTO and a Foundation 51 Grant...

Parent University is a new, free program that brings parents 
in our community together to learn
 from experts and each other about key topics relevant to raising and educating kids in today's 

Last winter, the PTO sent a survey out to all parents in the district to learn what topics were of most interest to them. Based on that feedback, we're so pleased to launch this new program in Fall 2015.

Come and check out these exciting and informative Parent University sessions:
  • Wed. October 7th - An Introduction to Digital Citizenship: Establishing a Positive Digital Environment at Home"  
  • Wed. October 21st - "Raising Healthy Eaters: Identifying and Preventing Disordered Eating Habits"

Snap Circuits

posted 3 Sep 2015, 12:27 by Webmaster Foundation51   [ updated 26 Oct 2015, 14:43 ]

Learning about electricity and magnetism may not sound too exciting to a group of fourth graders, however, Carrie Begley and Molly Russell certainly changed that for their students at Greely Middle School this winter. After applying for and receiving grant money from Foundation 51, the teachers purchased 24 snap circuit kits from ELENCO. The snap circuit kits were used by three classes, totaling about 70 students, to enrich and celebrate learning during the electricity unit. Students, excited by the hands on learning, have asked to use them again. So Carrie anticipates using them again before the school year ends. Another GMS teacher is starting to learn how to use the kits with her students and it is anticipated that next year the kits will rotate through the entire fourth grade as part of the electricity and magnetism unit. 

After attending a class at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics Carrie and Molly were introduced to snap circuits as a way to engage and excite kids about electricity and engineering. They were struck by the ease with which anyone can put together complex circuits. Snap circuit parts snap into one another, so there are no wire ends that break off or pieces that refuse to stay in contact with one another. It makes working with circuits a “snap” for teachers and students alike.

Carrie says, the biggest success with this learning tool has been the student engagement in building the circuits. The students studied the directions and used them to help build complex circuits. Students saw first-hand how resistors and switches work in real life. A fellow teacher at the school comments, “The kits gave kids an individual hands on experience that connected their learning to the real world.” And a parent of one of the students says, “Thanks for sharing this! My child loved the snap circuits and has asked for a set for his birthday!”

The effectiveness of this hands-on learning experiment is measured by the engagement of the students and how they were able to apply what they had learned in the unit to build and troubleshoot circuits. Carrie, along with some other staff at the school, developed a video to show the student’s excitement with using the snap circuits, which is currently on the MSAD #51 website. An impressive 60% of the students mentioned the snap circuits kits in their 3rd quarter reflection as something they enjoyed and wanted to use again.

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Webmaster Foundation51,
7 Jun 2016, 16:27