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Grants Funded

Technology Initiatives


REF and the Easton Learning Foundation partnered to raise $40,000 for interactive whiteboards and related equipment, warrantees and professional training for Joel Barlow classrooms. Together, we have raised and given over $40,000 jointly to improve the learning opportunity for JBHS students. SMART Technology enables learning with impact. It is better learning, visually, kinesthetically, auditory, and emotionally.  Currently, there are 28 classrooms and two Media Resource seminar rooms across all disciplines and grades outfitted with SMART technology permitting every student at JBHS to access the SMART benefits to learning. 


Mobile Computer Lab /Cart Funded for JRMS

REF marshaled the resources to completely outfit two mobile computer labs currently in full use at John Read Middle School. The computers on carts travel from classroom to classroom for project oriented lessons. Fully booked, the labs have enabled programs such as the Writing Practice Program, a subscription based internet writing program to personalize student writing development, also initially funded by REF. The Labs are equipped with 30 IBM R50 ThinkPad computers, 5 compatible Gateway computers, 2 Lexmark laser printers, 2 Gateway carts with wireless LCD projectors, and wireless equipment. 

Professional Development Grants

“Change Leadership” Group training at the Harvard Graduate School of Education during the 2010-11 school year: “Systemic Change for Student Success”

This training is designed to provide leaders with an overview of a comprehensive approach to systemic school and district change to improve learning for all students. To give the system-wide focus, it is important that all administrators attend the training. As such, the new learning from the training will be used to revise and refine school and district continuous improvement plans in a format standardized for all ER9 schools. The most direct outcome from the training will be the ability for administrators to revise and/or redesign their school, department, or district continuous improvement plans. Teams of teachers will work collaboratively to establish measurable student performance goals and design implementation action plans to support achievement of those goals. The targeting of specific performance areas such as literacy and mathematics - coupled with the ongoing monitoring of individual and group performance - will result in improved teaching and learning for all students. The strategies gleaned from the conference will be shared with the larger ER9 Community. It is a great opportunity to express the philosophy of the ER9 learning community and how students and parents could expect to see that philosophy implemented in each classroom.


JBHS: Conference “Living Literate Lives” (2010)

Each fall, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) holds one of the most significant teaching conferences in the United States, bringing together thousands of English language arts educators committed to developing English education to best meet the needs of the learners in our changing world. 2010's Conference, “Teachers and Students Together: Living Literate Lives,” focuses on learning environments and literacy experiences that inspire and empower students and teachers, parents /guardians, and those in the wider community. How can English teachers foster more open and democratic teaching practices that engage students in critical investigations with purpose and joy? Jonathan Budd, Janice Garvey and Thomas Kilbourn have been selected by NCTE to conduct a 75-minute workshop at this Conference…it is both a learning experience and an honor!


JBHS: Participation at the AP Institute at St. Johnsbury Academy in the Summer 2010

(Recipient: Lori Estes). Participation will help JBHS to continue to expand and enrich the AP Statistics course.





JBHS: “Smart Ed Tech: Strategies for Tough Times” (2009)

Attended by John D. Crowley, Director, Learning Resources and Information Technology at JBHS. Noted technology experts elaborated the conversation as to why we need to prepare ourselves for a “technology tsunami”. An article for Edutopia.org best expresses this paradigm called “Disrupting Class:Student-Centric Education Is the Future; How radical innovation will change the way we teach and kids learn” by Clayton Christensen. Visit: http://www.edutopia.org/student-centric-education-technology.



JBHS: Systemic Change for Student Success & School, Family & Community Partnerships (2008-09)

Two grants for Professional Development. “Systematic Change for Student Success” and “School, Family & Community Partnerships: Leadership Development Conference” were directed to JBHS . Each supports the ongoing mission to evolve both the overall Strategic Plan developed by Region 9 as well as the personal mission of the Joel Barlow High School Administration. Both the Redding Education Foundation and the Easton Learning Foundation together support these initiatives.



Cultural Arts Grants

John Read Middle School Players Grants

In 2008, John Read Middle School Players received a $500 cultural arts grant this year for their Spring production of “Seven Angry Little Men” by Diana Canova. This is the fifth grant REF funded for the innovative programming in the Players spring productions totaling over $5,700. Other grants enabled Peter Pan to fly and funded an innovative musical score.


Digital Piano for JRMS Music and Theater Program/Tom Cruciani

In partnership with the JRMS PTA, a $3000 digital piano was given to the JRMS Music Department. Immediately following, a second digital piano was anonymously donated to complete the replacement of badly depreciated pianos. The digital pianos are a significant enhancement over regular pianos offering advanced instruction in composition and music theory as well as mobility. They have taken them on the road to community coffee house performances by students and teachers.


Wire Mill Arts Foundation Goes Independent

Through funding and organizational initiatives, the Redding Education Foundation has spawned the new Wire Mill Arts Foundation, a group that is working with the developers of the Georgetown revitalization project to bring community theater to Redding.  For more information or to participate in this effort, email us.


“A Georgetown Story”/John Maher

REF funded the 3-minute trailer used to apply for grants for a full-length documentary about Georgetown's factory legacy. The film completed and REF helped fund a preview of the movie in the spring of 2008.


Georgetown History Project Film Viewing Grant

The Georgetown History Project undertook a three year project to document the history of Georgetown in a film produced and directed by John Maher of JEM Films. REF funded a $2,000 grant to for the production of the three minute trailer from which the organization raised the remaining $70,000 to produce the documentary. REF funded another $500 to underwrite the costs of the screening. “A Georgetown Story” is an iconic American tale of a company town during the industrial revolution and beyond. Copies of the DVD may be purchased from by following this link www.historyofredding.com/JPC/ghp.htm.


JBHS Chorus Performs at Carnegie Hall

REF funded a portion of the costs for the high school chorus to participate with many other high schools in a performance at Carnegie Hall. The largest hall at Carnegie Hall has been the premier classical music performance space in the United States since its opening in 1891, showcasing the world's greatest soloists, conductors, and ensembles. Designed by architect and cellist William Burnett Tuthill, the auditorium's striking curvilinear design allows the stage to become a focal point embraced by five levels of seating, which accommodates up to 2,804.


iPod iDream Team, Joel Barlow High School

Six iPods were given to a team of teachers to experiment with the learning enhancement potential of podcasting. The iDream Team represents the breadth of disciplines at JBHS. Numerous podcasts have been made and teaching practices are modifying to develop a 24/7 access to lectures and notes.


Jennifer Desmarais: Columbia American History Online is a learning resource designed for students and teachers of American history. For example, our students are able to access seminars taught by world-renowned Columbia University professors Casey Blake, Alan Brinkley, Eric Foner, and Kenneth T. Jackson. Our teachers and students have found it invaluable as they access interactive learning tools, a large library of primary documents, classroom simulations and document-based questions.

Chris Angell: Although many grade schools seem to be involved in podcasting, there don't seem to be many high schools involved to any great depth. I believe that as those younger students start entering high schools, podcasting will explode in the secondary classroom. I am far ahead of my students when it comes to using iPods for all forms of media (except music, of course). Students still react with surprise when they listen to a podcast (informative, creative, or educational) in my classroom. Better yet, when they create podcasts and hear their work they get charged up!

Fred Barna: I use the Smartboard everyday and find the use of the notes by my students from at home transformational. My students will come in the next day and ask me specific questions which helps to improve student understanding. All my students from freshmen to seniors access my notes from home. For example, I can share notes between classes and special needs students can access the eboard notes from home or the resource room. Using Smartboard with my eBoard helps everyone keep up!


Celestron Telescope for New Pond Farm Astronomy program and Astronomy elective for JBHS

New Pond Farm (NPF) has a new telescope! Funded together with the Merserve Memorial Fund, New Pond Farm was able to purchase a Celestron 14”, CCD camera and mounting equipment, and perform the necessary carpentry to house the scope. JBHS has a new Astronomy course! Students will use the new scope at NPF for evening viewing, and will be able to program the telescope to take photos and post them on our website where they can be downloaded for future use. We agree with NPF Director Ann Taylor who said, “I think it is terribly exciting that students will be able to come to the farm and take photos of the rings of Saturn for a school report…or possibly watch parts of the lunar eclipse as seen from New Pond Farm in Redding.”


Lakota Jewelry Project, JBHS Grant

REF awarded JBHS Art teacher, Lee Skalkos $600 to supply students with materials to create jewelry. The students then sold their work and donated proceeds to the Lakota Indian Tribe Red Cloud School, one of the poorest in the nation. This cultural arts grant was matched by Easton Learning Foundation.
Both the REF and the Easton Learning Foundation partnered once again to support this both festive and generous event. JBHS students worked with Lakota Indians to design and make jewelry that was auctioned to raise money for the Lakota Indians. It also allows for amazing creations by budding jewelry artists to shine. It's always a fabulous evening.



Clearly not banned in our community, Redding celebrates the centennial of the Mark Twain Library in a year-long line up of events including a community wide discussion of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” authored by one of Redding's favorite son, Mark Twain. REF funded $2,000 for the purchase and initiation of this community wide book discussion and exploration of one of America's classic gems. Join in the adventure! Link to the calendar of events at www.marktwainlibrary.org/homeport/homeport_frm.html.

JRMS Music Department,”High Notes Music Festival”, Tom Cruciani

In 2009, Tom Cruciani of John Read Middle School applied for the “High Notes Music Festival” in order for the junior musicians to compete---and each performance earned them superior recognition! Something we can all be very proud of.




Grants for the Enhancement of Educational Practice

Software for Announcement Delivery at John Read Middle School (JRMS): 2009-2010

The software was purchased in collaboration with the JRMS PTA, providing an improved delivery method of morning announcements and all other school wide announcements. It also enables a live broadcast to be recorded and saved to the JRMS server, allowing teachers to access the broadcast at any time during the day.

Child Centered Water Garden; Redding Elementary School

The purpose of this grant is to teach children about pond habitats while creating a peaceful place to respect nature. This project will provide students with an opportunity to learn about real world mathematics and science using a habitat that is not currently available at the school. The target beneficiaries include the entire school population, from Pre-school to Grade 4.


Redesign of the American High School, Joel Barlow High

The Redding Education Foundation and the Easton Learning Foundation are committed to supporting the professional development of JBHS teachers in their pursuit to transform learning and classroom pedagogy by teaching 21st century skills. Teachers from all disciplines attend ongoing Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) seminars and workshops to meet other educators from around the country, HGSE faculty and researchers. Together they work to identify the problems within existing structures and practices, learn applications for improved learning experience, and authentic assessment and accountability. This past year Dr. Richard Elmore, Chair of the Redesign Institute at HGSE spent a day in JBHS classrooms and in a workshop with faculty to facilitate the implementation of the JBHS Redesign Plan.


Writing Practice Program for JRMS

The Writing Practice Program is a personalized interactive software that provides practice in narrative, informative, expository, persuasive and critical thinking modes of writing. Each student has a personal account that gives instant feedback on completed work, 24/7 access, tracts improvement and enables teachers to monitor and provided personalized instruction.


Interdisciplinary Art/ ILA Project to JRMS

An interdisciplinary team of teachers purchased famous art prints and had the students interpret the works artistically as well as in written form. Art history is the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, i.e. genre, design, format, and look. Moreover, art history generally is the research of artists and their cultural and social contributions. The project is undertaken annually.


Snow shoes for Redding Elementary School

During the winter months, cross-country skiing is part of the physical education curriculum. For certain classes it is logistically difficult thus the substitution of snow shoes enables the curriculum to stress outdoor winter activities.


Comparator Microscope to Joel Barlow High School

REF funded a comparator microscope to enable JBHS to offer an elective course in Forensic Science. Increasing electives at Joel Barlow are critical to the student's learning opportunities. This course highlights the significance and relevance of microbiology in a very hands on way to the students.


Interactive Classroom through Distance Learning
Judith Garamella and Jennifer Desmarais, Joel Barlow High School

This grant funds a subscription to "The Columbia American History On-Line (CAHO) Project" which will provide a variety of resources for the high school history teacher. This aligns with a New England Association of Schools and Colleges recommendation, coming out of the recent accreditation process, that JBHS increase the diversity of teaching strategies within the building. It is hoped that the CAHO program will help foster a more student-centered learning environment and will facilitate differentiation in the classroom.


SMART Boards Redding Elementary School

The goal of this grant is to use SMART Board technology to adapt instruction to students' various learning styles and comes out of an exploration of student learning styles recently undertaken by Mrs. Welp. (See www.smarttech.com/education/impact.html for a description of this technology's impact on learning). The grant funds the purchase of SMART Boards and related equipment in both Mrs. Welp's classroom and the Computer Lab. The project includes a professional development component, through which all RES teachers will be trained in the use and application of this technology. The SMART Board in the Computer Lab will be available for use by all RES staff throughout the school year.


USA Playground Map for the Children of RES

The purpose of this grant is to provide a venue for interactive learning related to the USA map by painting a map of the United States on the asphalt portion of the student playground. Mrs. Feld hopes to paint the map while school is in session so that students can feel a part of the process right from the start. She is compiling a list of lessons that will utilize the map and will align with elementary school curriculum. She will share those lessons with RES classroom teachers though a professional development component.


Art History Elective Course, Joel Barlow High School

This grant, awarded to encourage the development of new elective courses at Joel Barlow High School, funded the purchase of a projector for use in the newly created elective Art History course. In the teaching of art history the presentation of images in as dramatic a manner as possible is essential to the promotion of an immersion of the student in the subject. Mere words are not an adequate conveyance of knowledge and understanding of the subject and its times. The image of the work of art and the visual metaphor must be present for interactive discussion and debate. A high quality projector constantly available makes this expansion of the course exposition realizable.


Film Study to Explore Conflict Resolution; Redding Elementary School

The purpose of this grant is to encourage students in the upper elementary grades to recognize and approach conflicts from a number of perspectives via short films and discussion. This project targets both Special Education and typical children and encourages participants to explore alternative ways to resolve conflict.


An Inter-district Exploration of Children's Literature; Joel Barlow High School

The purpose of this grant is to allow Children's Literature students to further their language arts skills and their content knowledge by engaging in experiential reading and writing activities with urban elementary school students at a variety of grade levels. This program benefits approximately 120 JBHS junior and senior students as well as the elementary school students with whom they interact.



Roots and Shoots, John Read Middle School

This grant will help defray the costs of establishing a new club that is based on the Jane Goodall Institute's environmental and humanitarian program for youth. The mission is to foster respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for animals, the environment and the human community.


French Interactive Conversation Software, John Read Middle School

The purpose of this grant is to permit students to practice speaking and listening to French with interactive conversation software not currently available at JRMS. The grant funds the purchase of 30 CD-ROMs developed by the publisher of the current textbook.



Moving Beyond the Textbook, Joel Barlow High School

The purpose of this grant is to move away from traditional textbooks in the classroom and use primary documents and other secondary sources to enhance student learning. In the long term, the program initiator hopes not only to improve student learning, but also to reduce the amount of budgeted funds designated for textbooks.


Project D.R.E.A.M. - Danbury and Redding Educational Adventures in Multiculturalism, John Read Middle School

This grant helps subsidize the costs associated with Project D.R.E.A.M., an experiential, multicultural program that seeks to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of our diverse society. Selected Danbury and Redding fifth-graders will be brought together for two days of Fine and Practical Arts activities, including Project Adventure, music, art, woodworking and health education. The objective is for students to exhibit an understanding of and respect for differences, in both physical and artistic activity settings.


JRMS Smart Board Training Grant

To support the installation of SMARTboards in all K-8 classrooms, REF funded the Smart Academy a $2,500 grant to train JRMS teachers how to use SMARTboard technology in the classroom.



Audio Books for the JBHS Library Grant

Redding Education Foundation and Eastern Learning Foundation partnered to grant JBHS $1,000 for the purchase of 24 audio books for the Media Center's collection. Audio books are important resources for students with certain learning and processing challenges.




Partnership Grants

“Fare for Education”

On August 30th, 2009 at the Concert on the Green, the community enjoyed music, mingled, shared ideas and discussed the upcoming school year. Tom McMorran, principal of Joel Barlow High School (JBHS) interviewed with the Foundation for posting on the REF website where he elaborated very important concepts and challenges we face now and in the future in education.“We don't know much about 2020 other than that we are certain that what we THINK it is going to be like AND what it's ACTUALLY going to be like, we know is different. We are a working institution organized more than 100 years ago. It's greatest strength, as so often the case, is its greatest flaw... The graduate today will need to have the skills, the knowledge and the ability to compete with people all over the world.” (For complete interview and transcript, visit our website: http://www.reddingeducationfoundation.org/newsletters.html, hosted on Youtube.)


350.org” event at the Redding Town Green (2010)

REF collaborated with other groups in town, sharing information about how to keep our planet healthy, vibrant and livable.

http://www.reddingeducationfoundation.org/newsletters.html, hosted on Youtube.)



“Barlow Palooza” at JBHS, Christina Rao & Tom McMorran (2010)

“Barlow Palooza” is the end of year student project event showcasing student projects done throughout the year. Barlow welcomes the the community-at-large to celebrate student accomplishments at this event each year.



One Book, One Community: Grant for the Mark Twain Library, Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” (2010)

The Director and the Board of the Mark Twain Library, the Hartford Public Library, the Center for the Book and other libraries across CT, joined together in a venture to encourage the reading and understanding of America's foremost novelist and humorist, Mark Twain beginning April, 2010. Through the grant by REF, paperback editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (considered the perfect story for young and old) were purchased to ensure that everyone had access to a copy making the book made easily available and free of charge. Throughout the program numerous discussions, lectures and events were held in honor of Twain and his legacy.


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