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Grants Support Fun Learning Experiences for PPS Students

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Grants Support Fun Learning Experiences for PPS Students
Posted on 09/01/2016
This is the image for the news article titled Grants Support Fun Learning Experiences for PPS Students

Two grants enabled Presumpscot and Reiche school students to participate this summer in a fun reading program this summer through which they received books by mail and read and rated the books, providing a written review.  Another grant – from fans of the band Phish – will pay for some new musical instruments for East End Community School students.

The extended-learning, mail-home summer book program was supported through a grant awarded through the state’s competitive Title IA Reallocation process and also with a grant from the Brick & Beam Society, an affinity group of United Way.

The Brick & Beam Society grant also helped the district to provide math programming in elementary summer programs through the use of the Dreambox online learning software. And the $24,000 grant awarded through the state’s Title IA Reallocation process also enabled the district to extend its learning reach by increasing the number of Kindergarten Jump Start – Early Literacy Initiative classrooms for incoming kindergarten students, and to offer a tutoring program with community partner LearningWorks to students in the upper elementary grades.

In the Summer Surprise – Books by Mail program, 40 students at Presumpscot Elementary School and 30 students at Reiche Community School received reading books targeted to their interest and reading level through the mail each week for eight weeks this summer. 

Presumpscot kicked off this summer reading program with a “Books and Bagels” event earlier in the summer, where Literacy Coach Emily Herlihy and reading support staff member Rosemarie LaVopa suggested strategies for meaningful summer reading.  Reiche Teacher Leader Christine Keegan and support staff member Ina Demers helped to make the program a success at Reiche.

Weekly book packages were prepared by staff at each school and at Central Office and included a letter to parents and a postcard for students to fill out and return to the schools.

On the postcards, students rated the book they received and offered a short review. Here are some examples: “I loved the book!  Also, why I gave it 4 and 4/5 stars is because it doesn’t have chapters!” “I rated this book with 4 stars because it has math and I like math.” “3.5 stars. It was a nice book with a really good ending, and I liked how they used different language.”

Not every book was a hit.  Here’s a review of one that earned only a .5 star rating so it might have to be taken out of next summer’s book packs: “I thought it was really boring!”

Also this summer, prior to Phish’s summer tour stop at the Cross Insurance Arena in July, East End Community School received a grant of $1,500 from The Mockingbird Foundation, a philanthropic group founded and supported by Phish fans. The gift will support music programming in the school’s Rise and Shine morning program that gives kids a choice of STEM, arts-related, academic and community-service learning experiences. Music teacher and program leader Dan Nogar plans to use the funds to purchase musical instruments for students. 

PHOTO CAPTIONS: (Above) Presumpscot Elementary School student Emanuella Nicholas participates in a grant-supported summer reading program in which students were mailed books to read at home and then rate them and write reviews of them.
(Below) Presumpscot student Cora Picher reads one of her mail-home summer books to an interested listener.

Cora Picher Summer Reading Presumpscot