SacoSTEAM, Saco’s new K-8 educational foundation has awarded grants totaling $9,887.00 during its inaugural year in support of teacher-led projects to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education in Saco.   SacoSTEAM received 7 grant applications from 3 different schools during the 2018/2019 grant review cycle.  Projects funded include “Engineering is Elementary”, submitted by Holly Trottier which will purchase kits allowing C.K. Burns students to learn engineering skills, including how to utilize solar and wind energy by building solar ovens and windmills. Danielle Bogardus will teach Fairfield School students rudimentary coding skills using BeeBot robots and the “Let’s Go Code!” curriculum.  Amy Ashe, Lindsay Wirsing and Adrienne Hanson will take 6th grade students to the Ecology School for overnight hands-on learning.  Kathleen Wirth will take Saco Middle Schools students to present hands-on science projects at the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) conference at UMaine in Orono, while the 7th grade class taught by Andrew Fersch will learn about climate change through the lens of Camp Ellis.  An innovative proposal to install an interactive music wall in Saco by SMS STEM Instructor,  Adam Nye, is pending additional community partners before we can provide funding.   A Lego Robotics curriculum was funded earlier in the year at CK Burns.

Foundation Board member and grant committee chair, Michael Burman, stated: “We are really proud of the work we’ve done in our first year.  We had an incredibly strong set of proposals that underwent a rigorous review process.  These projects are certain to make a meaningful impact on Saco students’ education.  We are really appreciative of the community support, including the hard work of our grant review committee.  It’s definitely a team effort”.

All applications were reviewed by a 5-person review committee consisting of Saco parents and retirees, teachers and administrators from neighboring districts and business leaders.  Applications were scored for quality and impact.  Applications were then sent to the board of directors for prioritization against available funds.  Five projects were funded immediately, while a 6th is pending finding additional community support.

Foundation President, Tony Palleschi, adds: “We are extremely grateful for everyone who has been willing and able to give to SacoSTEAM in our first full year of activity. It is obvious that others share our hope for the best school system that we can provide, and everyone’s support is critical to the success of this endeavor.”

These grants were made possible through the incredible generosity of community donors.  We’d like to especially thank our Founder’s Circle donor Saco & Biddeford Savings Charitable Foundation, who donated along with P&C insurance.  Innovator’s Corner donors include Godbout Plumbing and Heating/Provencher Fuels and BBK investments.  Other donors include People’s Choice Bank, Stephen & Rita Shiman, Tony & Debby Palleschi, Tracey Collins, and Michael and Margaret Burman.  Potential donors should reach out to Tony Palleschi at donations@sacosteam.org or via https://www.sacosteam.org/donate/.

Read Biddeford-Saco-OOb Courier article.

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