Area Schools to Share One Million Dollars of Inter-District Grant Funds

In a highly competitive grant bidding process the Connecticut State Department of Education has awarded Talcott Mountain Science Center and Beacon Preservation Inc. more than one million dollars of funds to implement several inter-district educational grants.  Although not all districts are participating in all programs, the eight programs receiving funds  will serve students in grades two through eight and accommodate approximately two thousand students from Ansonia, Bethany, Hamden, Meriden, Milford, New Haven, Seymour, Southington, Wallingford, Waterbury, and West Haven.  All of these programs will begin shortly in the participating schools. A number of these programs additionally offer school vacation and summer camp experiences for participating students. Each program is staffed by certified teachers and offered at NO COST to school districts or parents.  Students will be recruited through direct mailings, school websites, principals' newsletters, news releases, and the ctscience4kids.org website. Additionally, the directors of these programs will contact local PTO Councils to acquaint them with these educational and cultural opportunities  and enlist their support in recruiting students. Information detailing the particulars of each program will be included in the letters sent home, and also be available on our website and in schools. This information will include program overview, grade level,  tentative calendar of events, field trips, special presentations, and registration forms. A very brief overview of these programs follows.

The goals of these programs include:

Building positive meaningful friendships/relationships with peers from diverse communities

Enhance interpersonal, communication, and problem solving skills

Promote cultural awareness/appreciation while building mutual and self respect

Acquaint students with effective tools and strategies in thinking about career choices

Provide activities to improve academic skills in an relaxed enjoyable and engaging atmosphere 

The Ecosystem Exchange and ECO-Saturdays programs are designed for elementary grade levels and focus on children's understanding of ecosystems, plants, animals and their habitats. Considerable time is spent meeting and making new friends through games, team building activities, and conducting nature studies. Both of these programs are highlighted by trips to nature centers, zoos, and aquarium facilities. Additionally, the Ecosystem Exchange program offers an extensive summer camp at no cost to parents.

Cosmic Cultures I and II target students in grade six and are designed to acquaint students with Man's intellectual and cultural development as it focuses on astronomy and the contributions of ancient cultures including their music, art, song, dance, clothing, and beliefs. Students design, build and test rockets, construct musical instruments from an ancient culture, and attend evening programs to view the night sky. A trip to the Museum of Natural History and evening Schooner trips on Long Island Sound are additional highlights of these programs. Numerous task oriented team building activities from Project Adventure challenge students to work together, understand their role as a team member, and work cooperatively to accomplish the task at hand. These programs also offer extensive summer camp experiences  and a school vacation mini-camp at no cost to parents.

Connecticut Kids Fueling the Future is designed for 7th and 8th graders. Its major theme is to acquaint students with the nature of the global energy crisis and investigate various forms of sustainable energy as possible solutions to this crisis. Numerous activities presented by local universities and private companies also introduce the myriad of career opportunities within this rapidly expanding field.  Students visit a  high and low ropes challenge course  to establish friendships and build communication skills necessary for successful completion of  the program's task oriented activities that include solar ovens, solar cars, and hydrogen fuel cells. This program also offers an extensive summer camp experience and a school vacation mini-camp at no cost to parents. Trips to the Boston Museum of Science and UCONN's Global Fuel Cell Center, a "social" evening with a DJ, and a picnic at Lake McDonough are highlights.

Dynamic Careers in Aquaculture is designed for 7th and 8th graders with the rapidly evolving field of aquaculture as its central theme. Students learn the basics of shellfish aquaculture, raise trout and exotic species of fish from Africa, and raise herbs, lettuce and other veggies aquaponically. This program also offers school vacation mini-camps and an extensive summer camp at no cost to parents. Highlights of the camps include trips to oyster farms and the New England Aquarium.

CAPT-ivating Kids I and II target students in 8th and possibly 9th grade. It focuses on current issues involving science, technology and society. These topics may include stem cell research and genetically engineered foods so that students come to realize the role of science and technology in their lives. Students will build a framework for scientific investigations through numerous engaging and enjoyable icebreaker, team challenges, and other  activities designed to build friendships and positive interpersonal skills. They will learn to work together effectively, communicate, and problem solve as they investigate questions of their own design in a scientific manner. They will also learn the fundamentals of forensic science as they are provided crime scene "Who Done It" activities to solve with team members. This program is a school year program with two school vacation mini-camps and a culminating picnic.

Letters will be sent to all parents in participating schools within the next few weeks to provide all pertinent information.  These letters will contain registration forms and instructions for returning them. Please be advised that these programs have proven very popular in recent years and therefore enrollment is on a "first come first served basis".

Parents and students may visit ctscience4kids.org for further information.