Bethel Education Foundation Awards $30,000 in 2016-2017 Grants to 11 Teachers and Administrators for Approved Projects in Bethel Public Schools

Report by Paula Antolini
January 6, 2017 6:18PM EDT


Bethel Education Foundation Awards $30,000 in 2016-2017 Grants to 11 Teachers and Administrators for Approved Projects in Bethel Public Schools

On Friday, January 6th, the Bethel Education Foundation (BEF) surprised 11 teachers and administrators with announcements that their grant proposals were approved as part of $30,000 in grants to the Bethel schools for this school year.  This brings the total grant awarded since the Foundation launched in 2007 to over $405,000 to more than 116 teacher-initiated projects.

The newly awarded grants will directly impact students throughout the school district and fund a range of teacher-inspired inquiry- and project-based learning designed to engage students.  This year’s requests focused on innovative technology and flexible classroom seating.

On the technology side, Bethel Middle and High Schools will receive HP sprout computers.  These cutting edge systems blur the line between physical and digital, and enable students to bring their creativity to life through applications that ignite creativity and curiosity in arts, music, science, technology, engineering, math and much more.   The High School will also receive 3D pens for the art program (allowing students to truly drawing a sculpture to life) and color graphing calculators for Algebra II students (improving their visualization of mathematical modeling and better preparing students for tests).  Advancing our students use in 21st Century learning, the High School Fitness Center will improve its Wellness program with a renovated room and modern equipment and Rockwell Elementary School will receive supplies and devices for its computer class Maker Space.

Building of the success of BEF’s 2015 grant for Johnson School’s Kinesthetic tables, this year the BEF funded over $16,000 flexible seating options that activate our children and support their learning.  These grants will impact all of the Bethel public schools with the Middle, Johnson, Rockwell, and Berry Schools receiving wobble chairs, fitness balls, and hand fidgets; and Bethel High School awarded a grant continue the advancement of small group seating options in the Library Learning Commons.

“Generous donations from Bethel residents and businesses – especially through the Barnum Ball – continue to make these grants possible,” said Heather Pontonio, president of the Foundation.  “We are blessed to have strong support from local business with our largest donors currently including Ingersoll Auto of Danbury, Capri’s Pizzeria, and Elmer’s Diner.”  The 11th Annual Barnum Ball will be held on Saturday, March 18th at Ethan Allen Hotel in Danbury.

“The Bethel Education Foundation grants allow our teachers to provide creative and innovative projects and programs. The grants provide opportunities to enhance our students 21st Century Learning skills as part of their educational experience within the Bethel Public Schools.” Said Dr. Christine Carver, Superintendent of Schools.




Bethel High School
Jessica Wismar – Library Learning Commons Innovation/ Collaboration/Presentation Center, $4,500
Marjorie Overmier – The Drawing Comes off the page… 3D pens, $1,700
Jennifer Variale – Graphing Calculator, $1,400
Mark Caron – Fitness Center Equipment, $5,000

Bethel High & Middle Schools
Dr. Michael Vose – Engaging Learners in Bethel Public School’s Global Competencies with Sprout HP computers, $4,000

Bethel Middle School
Caitlin Boles & Catherine Emerick – Moving for Motivation with Flexible Seating, $5,000

Middle, Johnson, Rockwell and Berry Schools
Lois Brockmann & Erica Herbert – Active Sitting with Core Wobble Chairs for Special Education Classrooms, $1,424

Johnson School
Jill Claridge & Jeff Moscowitz – School-wide Wobble Chair Flexible Seating, $2,480

Rockwell Elementary School
Casey Ragan – MakerSpace, $1,750

Berry Elementary School
Tara Beall-Gomes – Keep Calm and ROAR On with Flexible Seating and hand fidgets, $2,000
Stacey Bianco – Flexible Seating options in the classroom, $750