Hospital gives $34K to schools

Cary Ashby • Feb 3, 2019 at 10:00 PM

Fisher-Titus Medical Center distributed slightly more than $34,800 in grants to nine area schools for health and science initiatives during an annual luncheon Friday.

These grants allow schools to do activities they wouldn’t get to do with its usual funds, said Dean Stanfield, Edison Local Schools curriculum director.

In the last 23 years, the hospital has awarded more than $900,000.

“This is an annual event we all enjoy very much,” said Matt Gross, Fisher-Titus Health CEO.

This year’s recipients included Norwalk City Schools and Norwalk Catholic. Willard, Western Reserve, Monroeville, Edison, New London, South Central and Wellington also received grants.

About 25 percent of the donations for the grants came from Fisher-Titus board members, senior leadership, physicians and other individuals.

Echoing the thoughts of many school administrators, New London Local Schools Superintendent Brad Romano said “Fisher-Titus has always been a gracious partner” with the local education community. He also said the grants have helped create Maker Space stations in the library and turned it into an area where students want to learn.

Norwalk City Schools Superintendent George Fisk said he “can’t say enough” about the generosity and support that the hospital has provided his district and Norwalk Catholic School over the years.

Applicants were required to submit a grant proposal to Fisher-Titus that included a detailed explanation of the project to be funded. The board of directors approved the grants. Schools were eligible to receive grants of up to $4,000.

During Friday’s luncheon, teachers and administrators shared how they have used their grants.

Admittedly being “big on technology,” Western Reserve eighth-grade science teacher Lee Rowlinson said he often shares videos and graphs with his students. Since his classroom is set up as lab tables and clustered instructional areas, he has requested a 65-inch, 4K ultra high-definition smart LED TV and sound equipment, which will be set up in the middle of his room. It will pivot 360 degrees and will complement the Smartboard in the front of the room. Rowlinson said this will allow his students to see the screens much easier.

Middle-school students are used to watching movies and playing video games on high-definition TVs. The more teachers “can entertain,” the greater the likelihood that technology will help their students learn while having fun.

In Edison, the grant money is earmarked for the purchase of two portable 65-inch Clevertouch Plus white boards. The interactive display boards will be located at the Edison Middle School library, so they can be signed out by teachers as needed for classroom instruction.

The Monroeville funds will go toward helping cover the initial expenses of training and equipment purchasing to jump-start its “Project Lead the Way Engineering” program, which begins next year in the high school.

In Norwalk City Schools, previous grant money has helped complete the 1:1 Chromebook program at League Elementary for in-classroom usage. This year the district has requested the purchase of a new CNC milling machine for the Norwalk High School engineering program and will replace the older model, which is no longer reliable or safe for students to use.

Norwalk Catholic School is seeking HP touch-screen Chromebooks to help the examination of abstract graphs and figures in two and three dimensions become more concrete for students.

South Central Local Schools has pooled its grant money for the last six or seven years to bring the COSI on Wheels program to kindergarten through fifth grade. Fifth-grade science teacher Matt Seasly said it’s a fun experience for the students whom he sees run to the break-out sessions.

“They talk about it for the next few days,” he added.

Willard City Schools is looking for materials to practice coding and team-building. The Dash robots will help students practice coding by using Blockly, a free app on both iPads and Android tablets.

“We thank you for giving (students) one more reason to come to school,” curriculum director Jenni Smith said.

Gross said he appreciates hearing how the schools use their grants.

“Whatever money we make, we give back to the community,” the Fisher-Titus Health CEO told the teachers and administrators. “That’s really our mission.”

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