District Awards Five Project-Based Learning Grants to Seven Teachers

     Dear Community Members: 

     It is my pleasure to announce that five 'Most Likely To Succeed" Grant applications have been approved to implement project-based initiatives within the Hatfield School District this year. The grant recipients include; Patty Benson, Preschool Teacher; Laura Hoey and Kim Robinson, Second Grade Teachers; Kevin Wall and Karen Guiel, Middle School History and English Teachers; Casey Pescitelli, Guidance Counselor, and Julie LeGrand, Smith Academy Math Teacher.  Each teacher applied for a grant under a district-wide initiative to promote project-based learning.  The initiative was introduced with a community showing of the award-winning documentary "Most Likely to Succeed' on September 27 at the Hatfield Elementary School. Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge that culminates in the completion of a project which is used as one measurement of student achievement. 

     While the grants extend from a preschool classroom to a high school statistics class, they all share some similar characteristics. The grants all focus on developing 21st century skills. These skills may include:  Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Collaborating across Networks and Leading by Influence,  Agility and Adaptability,   Initiative and Entrepreneurialism, Effective Oral and Written Communications, Accessing and Analyzing Information, Curiosity and Imagination, and Multi-Subject Integration/ Cross Curricular Learning. Each teacher will receive up to $1,000 to implement the initiative along with a $500 stipend. At the conclusion of each project-based activity, the teacher will be asked to report out to their peers on the success of the activity. Each of the mini grants are funded through a grant from the  Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. 

     Some of the project-based activities that are planned include:  Hosting a forum to show off Smith Academy to area business in order to create future student-internships;  Creating an assessment that measures student engagement; The creation of a large world map that incorporates folk-tales from several countries; A exploration of local business and government agencies throughout Hatfield and how they impact pur community; and having a naturalist work with the preschool students to learn about how we interact with nature.  

   Congratulations to the seven teachers. I am looking forward to sharing the success of these initiatives with the community in the coming months.



John F. Robert