SacoSTEAM, Saco’s K-8 educational foundation is funding 5 projects totaling $6050.00 in the Saco school system for the 2020-2021 school year.  

The SacoSTEAM funded projects will occur at C.K Burns and Saco Middle School and all have been adopted for the Covid-19 pandemic.  The projects include activities focusing on ecology and the environmental sciences – including building trails behind the middle school, understanding the life cycle of atlantic salmon, a project teaching literacy and publishing skills and several projects enabling computer coding and engineering.

Foundation Board member and grant committee chair, Michael Burman, stated: “What has really amazed me is the resiliency of our teachers.  They’ve shown incredible adaptability and flexibility in adjusting their project to account for the current social distancing requirements.  We’re really pleased that we’re able to help in this way as none of these projects could happen without this support.”

Although the pandemic disrupted the normal review process, all applications were reviewed by a small committee, prior to discussion and voting by the SacoSTEAM Board.  SacoSTEAM was able to offer at least partial funding for almost all the projects that submitted applications.  However, 3 of the project proposals that would have been funded are unable to continue due to the pandemic.  These projects will be reconsidered later in the year, if the situation changes.  The other projects were able to adapt in creative ways.   

Saco Middle School teachers Melissa Gosselin, Rebecca Anderson, and Andrew Fersch lead one such project.  “Our SacoSTEAM grants have helped make it possible to truly be a project and place based team. Without hands on experience, we learn theory, but with opportunities to go into the field and work with a wide variety of people, we are able to practice theory. Our ecological study of locally conserved land last year would have been only a fraction of the project it was if not for SacoSTEAM, and our trail making, mapping, and stream studies this year wouldn’t have been possible either. We’re incredibly grateful for the support of the students and the authentic work being done”

Foundation President, Tony Palleschi, adds: “We are extremely grateful for everyone who has been willing and able to provide support for Saco’s students, especially during these unsure times. It is obvious that others share our hope for the best school system that we can provide, and programs like these will help significantly.”

These grants are made possible through the incredible generosity of community donors.  2019-2020 corporate donors include Fiber Materials Incorporated (FMI), Biddeford Saco Dental Associates, the Rotary Club of Biddeford-Saco, Saco & Biddeford Savings Charitable Foundation, Peoples Choice Credit Union, JOH Kids 360, and the General Dynamics Employee Community Action Fund.  SacoSTEAM would also like to acknowledge generous gifts from The Collins Family, and Stephen and Rita Shiman.  Potential donors can contact Tony Palleschi at 603.781.5891 or via https://www.sacosteam.org/donate/

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