Celebrating

The call is on for Weston education grant applications

The Weston Education Foundation (WEF) is calling for applications for their Community Education Grants Program.

The purpose of these grants is to provide funds (generally up to $1,500) to Weston-based organizations or individuals to develop educational programs that benefit their constituents and/or Weston residents. Preference is given to organizations that can demonstrate sustainable funding for their project after the completion of the WEF grant.

Since its inception, WEF has disbursed more than $850,000 in community, technology and teacher grants. Previous Community Education Grants have helped fund computer classes at the Senior Center, the Sustainability Committee lecture series, a Girl Scouts anti-bullying campaign, and much more.

There are two grant cycles available for Community Education Grants: the first is from September 1-October 15; the second is from February 15-April 1. Community organizations must wait for 12 months to apply for another grant if they are a current grant recipient; additional grant requests are expected to cover new projects.

To learn more about the Weston Education Foundation’s Community Education Grants Program or to obtain an application, please contact the Grants Committee at grants@westoneducationfoundation.org, or visit the Grants page here.


Weston Education Foundation Honors WHS Math Teacher with David Trigaux Award

Janine Russo is the Weston Education Foundation’s (WEF) most recent recipient of the renowned David Trigaux Innovation Award. WEF gives this award to teachers who demonstrate a unique level of originality and dedication toward creative teaching. The $2,500 award may be used in any way that fosters educational innovation, including travel, studies, or work outside the classroom. “WEF’s objective is to enable recipients to pursue their work with increased vigor,” said Grant Chair, Sandy Hart.

Ms. Russo’s “flip classroom” initiative (wherein videos that she creates are watched by students at home and the work is done in the classroom) reduces the amount of time spent on homework. In addition, any questions students have are answered during class as they are working, making much more efficient use of class time. Students have found that the videos are an excellent study resource as well. Ms. Russo has also supported the use of Google Hangouts and the Canvas Platform for online review sessions. This allows students and teachers to schedule study groups at convenient times increasing work productivity and learning opportunities.

Another innovative tool Ms. Russo uses is “Breakout Boxes”, which lead to enhanced student collaboration and communication as they work to uncover a series of clues that come from correct problem solving.

“Ms. Russo makes learning fun and allows her students to learn and collaborate at a higher level. Her methods help students develop improved study habits that they apply in other classes. In her additional position as the Curriculum Instructional Leader in Mathematics, she also provides guidance and support to other teachers. We are grateful that teachers like Janine Russo continue to enrich our schools with their dedication and creativity,” said WEF President, Marcia Hamelin.

The Award is named for David Trigaux — teacher, principal, program administrator, and former superintendent of the Weston Schools — who was widely recognized for encouraging creativity in education and for his support of teachers who brought it to their classrooms. He also played a critical role in the creation and early evolution of Weston Education Foundation.


Weston Education Foundation calls for grant applications

The Weston Education Foundation (WEF) is calling for applications for their Community Education Grants Program.

The purpose of these grants is to provide funds [generally up to $1,500] to Weston-based organizations or individuals to develop educational programs that benefit their constituents and/or Weston residents. Preference is given to organizations that can demonstrate sustainable funding for their project after the completion of the WEF grant.

Since its inception, WEF has disbursed more than $800,000 in community, technology and teacher grants. Previous Community Education Grants have helped fund a journal writing program at our public library, computer classes at the Senior Center, the Sustainability Committee lecture series, a nursery school STEM grant and much more.

There are two grant cycles available for Community Education Grants: the first is from September 1-October 15; the second is from February 15-April 1. Community organizations must wait for 12 months to apply for another grant if they are a current grant recipient.

To learn more about the Weston Education Foundation’s Community Education Grants Program or to obtain an application, please contact the Grants Committee at grants@westoneducationfoundation.org, or visit the Grants page here.


Weston teachers honored with David Trigaux Award

In front, David Trigaux Innovation Award winners Marilyn Harasiuk and Michele Clark. Back row from left, Superintendent William McKersie, math curriculum instructional leader Janine Russo, WEF board members Tammy Roberts and Katia Colaprico, Weston Middle School Principal Dan Doak, and WEF board members Marlo Villepigue, Sandy Hart and Sara Spaulding.

Marilyn Harasiuk and Michele Clark, math teachers at the Weston Middle School, were honored as recipients of the Weston Education Foundation (WEF) David Trigaux Innovation Award in June.

WEF gives the award to teachers who demonstrate a unique level of originality and dedication to creative teaching. The $2,500 award may be used in any way that fosters educational innovation, including travel, studies, or work outside the classroom.

“Using close observation and data collection, Michele Clark and Marilynn Harasiuk came to the conclusion that there was only a very small difference in the pace and content between the grade 6-1 and grade 6-2 math classes and that given a little more preparation and time, many students in the 6-1 course could access the 6-2 curriculum,” said Janine Russo, curriculum instruction leader for grade 6-12 mathematics.

“The work of Ms. Harasiuk and Ms. Clark demonstrates that all students can succeed in math at any level,” said WEF grants chair Sandy Hart.

“Their efforts have opened doors for many students to move beyond what they imagined they could do in elementary or intermediate school. Those who want more challenge now have access to that challenge,” said WEF past President Alisa Trugerman. “We are proud to be able to support their work.”

In front, David Trigaux Innovation Award winners Marilyn Harasiuk and Michele Clark. Back row from left, Superintendent William McKersie, math curriculum instructional leader Janine Russo, WEF board members Tammy Roberts and Katia Colaprico, Weston Middle School Principal Dan Doak, and WEF board members Marlo Villepigue, Sandy Hart and Sara Spaulding.


Trivia Night a Win for the Weston Education Foundation

Members of the winning team, “Got Mock,” plus WEF President Alisa Trugerman gathered for a celebratory photo (L to R) Carly Maier, Peggy Jorgensen, Robyn Tas, John Seigenthaler, Alisa Trugerman, Andrew Marone, Kerry Brock, Laura Del Savio, Michael Del Savio, Robert Tas. Photo courtesy of Eileen Sawyer, WEF Board of Directors.

Members of the winning team, “Got Mock,” plus WEF President Alisa Trugerman gathered for a celebratory photo (L to R) Carly Maier, Peggy Jorgensen, Robyn Tas, John Seigenthaler, Alisa Trugerman, Andrew Marone, Kerry Brock, Laura Del Savio, Michael Del Savio, Robert Tas.
Photo courtesy of Eileen Sawyer, WEF Board of Directors.

By Britta Lerner, WEF Board of Directors

Ten teams and 75 players gathered at Norfield Church Parish Hall on November 5th for three rousing rounds of Trivial Pursuit.  All proceeds went directly to support the mission* of the Weston Education Foundation (WEF) with a particular focus to fund the school district’s new Maker Space initiative to transform our school libraries into Learning Commons that will serve as creative hubs for students and teachers.

“We raised more than $7,000 and everyone had an amazing time.   Emcee John Seigenthaler [former news anchor at Al Jazeera America, NBC and MSNBC] kept the evening fast paced and exciting and the food and table service by AMG Catering was lovely,” said WEF President, Alisa Trugerman.  “Dr. William McKersie, Superintendent of our Weston Schools, addressed the crowd.  Other school and community leaders were also on hand to meet, greet and answer questions,” Trugerman said.

*WEF is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to encourage and support initiatives that cultivate meaningful learning experiences for our schools and community. WEF promotes classroom innovation and empowers teachers and students to meet the growing challenges of the 21st century.  In addition, WEF provides community-based grants that enrich the lives of all residents. To learn more about WEF or to donate please go to www.westoneductionfoundation.org





Weston Education Foundation Presents 2015 David Trigaux Award

The Weston Education Foundation (WEF) recently honored Weston High School Art Educator, Gina Arena, with the esteemed David Trigaux Innovation Award. WEF gives this award to teachers who demonstrate an unusual level of originality and dedication toward creative teaching. The Award may be used in any way that fosters educational innovation, including travel, studies, or work outside the classroom.

Ms. Arena was recognized for her work with a broad array of students who she encourages to find creative solutions through visual problem solving. “I believe everyone has the ability to visually express him or herself and I strive to give students the confidence to do so,” she said.

Students in Ms. Arena’s class are directed to use various techniques learned throughout the semester to demonstrate their mastery of creative problem solving skills. At the end of a unit, students write artist’s statements to reflect on their work. “They also receive peer feedback during student led, formal class critiques where they are encouraged to highlight their peers’ successes and make concrete suggestions for areas that could be improved,” she explained.

WEF is honored to present this prestigious award in support of innovative educators such as Ms. Arena. We encourage other educators to celebrate her unique spirit and to pursue their own innovative paths. For more information on WEF and the David Trigaux Award, please visit www.westoneducationfoundation.org


Weston Education Foundation Grants Help Westonites Realize their Dreams

The Weston Education Foundation (WEF) is celebrating its 20th year of grants to our community since the Foundation launched in 1994.

“We have a great deal to be proud of,” said Lois Guberman, Chair, Grants Committee. “Our grants continue to grow in areas of excellence that are deeply beneficial to our students and other members of our Weston community.”

WEF’s most recent grant highlights include some of those made since September of 2013.

Circle Social Skills Curriculum Grant: Targeted to Weston Middle School and High School students with special needs, this grant provided a curriculum that focuses on social boundaries and behavioral relationships. The unique curriculum also supports the teachers who help these students.

Expert in Residence Music Composition Grant: The funds awarded allowed Weston Middle School students who participate in the band and chorus to work with renowned professional, Barbara Schottenfeld, to create an original piece of music. The composition was performed at the 8th grade concert on May 15th.

Weston Girl Scout Troop 50456 Bronze Award Project: This grant provided funds to a troop of 5th graders to create and air a public service announcement (PSA). The topic of the PSA is cyberbullying and will use animation to educate local 5th and 6th graders about its dangers and tools for standing up to this kind of bullying.

New Yorker Series: WEF was one of the groups that helped to fund our Public Library’s New Yorker speaker series. This series provides a unique platform for the discussion of interesting topics that the entire community can enjoy.

Expert in Residence Grant to Hurlbutt Elementary School Music Program: Music has long been recognized as a powerful educational tool. Funds from this grant support the use of music to encourage academic development. “The project started as a pilot to focus on students with special needs and may be expanded to the rest of the school,” Guberman explained. “It uses a variety of musical experiences to impact problem solving, social-emotional, self-awareness, confidence and cognitive skills.”

Community Education Grant: The Norfield Children’s Center was recently awarded grant monies to purchase materials to develop STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Math) problem solving skills.  The Norfield Children’s Center is an independent, non-profit organization that provides pre-school education and after school care that is available to all Weston residents.   In addition, they have three high school student interns who will utilize the materials as they work with the children.

“We continue to receive and fund additional grants,” Guberman noted. “A call for new Community Education Grants will go out in the fall.”