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LEEF provides funding for 28 school programs

Date: 10/18/2010

Oct. 18, 2010

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW -- The Longmeadow Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF) presented its grant award winners at a ceremony at the Longmeadow High School library on Oct. 14.

LEEF handed out a total of 28 grants for a combined $74,982. According to LEEF board member Joe Aberdale, the organization has distributed $755,982 in supplemental educational funds since its creation in 2001.

"All of us at LEEF are committed to providing you with as many opportunities as possible to foster and enhance your creative and innovative ideas and visions in the classroom," Aberdale said to grant recipients at the ceremony. "Our goal is to help make the realization of those ideas and visions become reality so that our children and you can thrive and prosper in a full and rich educational environment."

In addition to giving certificates to individual grant winners, Aberdale presented a giant facsimile check for the total amount of the grants to School Superintendent Marie Doyle, who said the grants are a vital part of the education of children in the town.

"We really depend on LEEF grants to really take us more into the visionary area of education," Doyle said. "I think these educational organizations are extremely important and, in particular, Longmeadow has a very strong program that brings a massive infusion into schools."

Several of the grants awarded were to be used for new technology in the classrooms, such as ELMO document readers and projectors. Renee Brown, a teacher at Glennbrook Middle School who received a grant for an ELMO, said it has been an invaluable tool in her classroom.

Doyle said that increased technology in schools is essential as the conveyance of information continues to evolve.

"First of all, knowledge doubles every four to five years, so we can't teach the way that we used to. That meant that students used to memorize all the information and give it back to us and that's no longer possible," Doyle said. "The second reason is because these students are growing up in a technological world and their learning style is completely different. They're used to quick text messages and going online to find information and I think it really behooves schools to keep up with the way they're learning and begin to teach in a way that addresses their learning styles."

Aberdale was sure to note that the majority of the funding for LEEF grants comes from its annual LEEF Gala. This year's event is schedule for Nov. 20 at the Colony Club in Springfield.

Among the grants were five awarded to Longmeadow High School: Scott Little, Advanced Mathematical Instructions Using the T1-Nspire, Mimeo and MS Office; Lori Robbins -- Kindle Sparks 21st Century Learning Skills; Lisa Alves -- Interactive Technology in the Classroom -- Phase 3; Lorraine Vassilopoulos -- Integrated Technology in the Alternative Classroom; Janice Pontacoloni -- Teaching English in the 21st Century Part 3.

Williams Middle School received seven grants: Anna Geninas -- Capture the Moment and Using Technology To Differentiate Instruction; Claire Metzner -- Firing Up Curriculum with Kiln; Elizabeth Scanlon -- The Elmo: Opening the Technology Door For All Students; Kathleen Lawson -- Williams Middle School Drama Club; Heather Wagner -- New Generation Science -- Spectrum Tube Systems; Sara Ferris -- Library Materials To Support the Elementary Science Curriculum.

Glennbrook Middle School received six grants: Renee Brown -- Bridging the Gap -- Reaching Every Student -- Phase 2 and Excelling in English; Lianne Lajoie -- Culture of World Research Project, John Wills -- A History of the U.S.: Eighth Grade Social Studies Enrichment Reading; Cheryle Haller -- Classroom Jeopardy; Michael Sullivan -- Bringing The Science Curriculum Into Focus -- Phase 2.

Daniel Albert, who works at both Glennbrook and Williams, was awarded a grant for Band Day.

Center Elementary School was awarded three grants: Donna Hutton -- 21st Century Community Space and More Books Please; Catherine Grant and Julia Richards -- Guided Reading Literacy Closet.

Blueberry Hill Elementary School received four grants: Aline Davis -- ELMO; Sara Brennan -- Sharing Literature and Images Through Advanced Technology and Book Closet 4; Beth Mengwasser -- Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces Math.

Wolf Swamp Road School was awarded two grants: Janet Aronson -- Freeze Frame -- Using Document Cameras in the Classroom; Kristina Gagne -- Guided Reading Closet -- Phase 2.

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