BRUNSWICK COMMUNITY EDUCATION FOUNDATION has awarded more than $47,000 to 33 individual school projects within Brunswick School Department, bringing the total to more than $170,000 the non-profit organization has handed out since it was established four years ago.

BRUNSWICK COMMUNITY EDUCATION FOUNDATION has awarded more than $47,000 to 33 individual school projects within Brunswick School Department, bringing the total to more than $170,000 the non-profit organization has handed out since it was established four years ago.

BRUNSWICK

Brunswick Community Education Foundation recently announced it has awarded more than $47,000 to education initiatives across all six schools within Brunswick School Department.

Brunswick Community Education Foundation is an independent non-profit organization that funds initiatives in the town’s public schools. The all-volunteer organization was established four years ago with the goal of enabling Brunswick’s public-school educators to bring their own innovative and creative ideas to the schools in an effort to enhance the educational experience of its students while at the same time furthering the Brunswick School Department’s mission.

Each year the foundation solicits grant applications from Brunswick School Department employees, most which come from but aren’t limited to teachers. Some of the projects are short term, some are long term and other initiatives function as pilot projects that may become permanent programs.

The applications are evaluated by a committee established by, but separate from the foundation, comprised of local education professionals not affiliated with Brunswick schools. The committee scores the applications based on a variety of criteria including the innovative and creative aspects, reach, potential for positive impact, and applicability to curricular goals.

Additionally, the foundation looks to fund programs that fall outside the scope of items that should be funded through the school department budget.

This year, the organization is funding 33 initiatives, ranging from $200 to almost $4,000, and totaling more than $47,000. It is the most programs and highest level of funding the foundation has granted to date, bringing the four year total to more $170,000

This year’s initiatives include:

• A working genomics laboratory at Brunswick High School

• Hands-on workshops with native American artisans for Brunswick Junior High students to create their own replica of a Wabanaki artifact

• Funds to purchase materials and supplies to create the first annual Old Brunswick Day, a living history of colonial Brunswick and the American Revolution, at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary

• Tools and materials to expand the Coffin Elementary gardening program

• Film and set design equipment to allow students at the REAL school to learn the basics of film production and create their own short films

• Materials and equipment to create a learning lab for the Region Ten Technical High School’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, allowing them to receive certification as an official state of Maine CNA testing site.

In past years, the foundation has funded everything from musical instruments for functional life skills students and augmentative communication devices for non-verbal students to robotics clubs for the high school and junior high school and a shellfish aquaculture program at the high school.

For example, thanks to last year’s grant cycle, well-known children’s author Chris Van Dusen, who wrote “Down to the Sea with Mr. McGee,” will visit Coffin Elementary School May 2-3 to demonstrate how he writes and illustrates his stories.

Brunswick Community Education Foundation raises money through donations from individuals and local businesses. Former Bowdoin College President Barry Mills, and his wife, business leader and former U.S. cabinet member Karen Mills have been strong supporters, as well as Goodwin Chevrolet of Brunswick. The bulk of its funding comes from individual donations from Brunswick residents.

“With no paid staff, board members do everything, from running our fundraising campaign, establishing our grants committee, maintaining our own website and handling our own finances, we are truly a working board,” said the foundation board member Alex Pantaz an a press release. “We are a very committed group though, because, in my opinion, we are strong believers in public education and are seeing first-hand the value that the foundation is having for our students and community.”

The organization is holding its annual party, The SPARK, on April 7 at the new event space at Frontier. The event will help raise awareness and spark fundraising for next year’s initiatives. Tickets are available on the website at Brunswickcef.org.


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