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December 23, 2009 > Santa gives teachers money for students

Santa gives teachers money for students

Submitted By Rick La Plante

Santa Claus visited teachers throughout the New Haven Unified School District, sharing nearly $6,000 worth of classroom grants awarded through the New Haven Schools Foundation's 'Innovations in Education' program, for special projects that promote learning.

The Foundation, in the fifth year of its classroom grant program, received applications this year for 38 projects representing the efforts of 51 teachers, from kindergarten through high school. Teachers could apply for up to $500 per project. In addition, the District's Health Education and Resource Team (HEART) accepted applications for $200 grants, for projects promoting a healthy lifestyle.

A total of 13 projects were selected, involving 22 teachers. They received their awards today when Santa and his "elves" - New Haven Superintendent Kari McVeigh, Foundation Executive Director Barbara Aro-Valle and HEART representatives Lorrene Ritchie and Angelia Nava, toured the schools to surprise the teachers in front of their students. The Foundation funded 10 projects, HEART funded two and Tri-CED Community Recycling funded the other.

With today's awards, a total of 78 New Haven teachers have received more than $29,000 for projects that directly impact instruction since the program was started during the 2005-06 school year.

This year's recipients and their schools and projects:

_ Foundation awards: Cindy Brewer (James Logan High School) Coffee Cart Work Experience for Special Education Students; Elaine Cant/Kelsey Moran (Emanuele Elementary School) Creating Classroom Partnership (Online) Through Literacy & Technology; Lisa Childers (James Logan High School) Reinforcing Biology Concepts (Online) With Quia; Jennifer Faria (Eastin Elementary School) The Daily Five (Reading & Writing); Cheryl Fobbs (Hillview Crest Elementary School) Let's Read, Read Read!; Wini Mendoza (Eastin Elementary School) Good Fit Books for Classroom Library; Gail Olivo (Pioneer Elementary School) Mobile Listening Center; Linda Taing (Pioneer Elementary School) Books & CDs for Listening Center; Maureen Tecson/Sonia Wong (Alvarado Elementary School) Building Hearts & Minds of Independent Readers; Alisha Valine (Alvarado Elementary School) It's Okay That We're Different (General Education/Special Education Integration).

_ HEART awards: Lynn DeForest (Pioneer Elementary School) Nutrition Is Science); Heather Thorner (Conley-Caraballo High School) 30-Minute Healthy No-Bake Recipes for Teens.

_ Tri-CED Community Recycling award: Vicki Baker/Dawn Estrella/Elaine Fong/Melinda Morse/Jennifer Nemecek/Tracey Liebig/Thomas Torrea/Scott Wagner (Alvarado Middle School) "Science Now" Festival.

Anyone interested in sponsoring classroom grants or contributing to any of the Foundation's other programs - including college scholarships and co-curricular and extra-curricular support - can contact Executive Director Barbara Aro-Valle by phone (510) 471-3850 or e-mail ( New Haven employees can contribute to the Foundation through payroll deductions by contacting Rick La Plante (510) 476-2610 or

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