GIEF Update for the Tide
by Catrina Damrell
The Georgetown Island Education Foundation’s (GIEF) mission is to support and enhance the educational experience of all students in Georgetown. This past year, GIEF hosted two community-engaging events to raise money for the Foundation, and ultimately our island’s students. In January, community members converged in the Community Center for a Hawaiian themed Trivia Night. In July we hosted the 2nd annual Bodacious Spelling Bee at the Community Center. A fair amount of money was raised at both events. All of the proceeds will be distributed between the Foundation’s endowment and the established Grant fund for Georgetown teachers.
This past year, GCS 6th grade teacher, Evan James, was awarded the 2013 GIEF Grant to help support and kick-start a new extensive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum at the School. Mr. James used the money to purchase probeware, robotics materials, and wireless data collection interfaces to give students access to professional investigative and research tools. “The grant opened up so many doors for the students with this technology,” Mr. James explained.
The technology will be able to support numerous research projects initiated by Mr. James’ students. The projects range from Project Canopy, which is a collaboration between the Maine Forest Service and GrowSmart Maine where students are actively monitoring forest plots around Georgetown; to students building and programming LEGO robotics kits, and computer coding opportunities through MIT.. These meaningful initiatives not only boost student enthusiasm ten-fold (as witnessed by Mr. James), but also have a huge impact on the community and beyond, drawing attention from all over the state.
In September, the Times Record stopped by the school to do an interest piece on the Project Canopy initiative. Mr. James’ class was also recently asked by the Maine Association of Middle Level Education (MAMLE) to contribute to the association’s blog on their Project Canopy research, as well as present their findings at MAMLE’s conference in early 2014.
“It’s documented that exposing kids to STEM, inquiry-based learning can boost standardized test scores,” Mr. James stated, elaborating on the importance of STEM-based curriculums. “We need to provide students the opportunity to develop fundamental problem-solving skills not just in STEM disciplines, but for any application in life. I think it’s really important to give these kids real world research opportunities rather than take angular approaches that have little application.” By providing students a platform to utilize probeware in science and engineering practices, these technologies naturally deepen understanding of concepts through data collection, analysis, and visualization.
GIEF is proud to be able to contribute to innovative and creative curriculum ideas, and is very grateful for all of the continued support to strengthen these funds for our island’s school. Anyone who is interested in helping GIEF as a volunteer, committee or board member can please contact Michele Melanson at her email email@example.com. If you would like to make a financial contribution to GIEF, please send a check to PO Box 352 or visit the get involved webpage.
GIEF is finalizing dates and venues for upcoming 2014 community based fundraising events, and for an up-to-date calendar, please visit our website.
Additionally, we encourage all Georgetown educators to apply for the 2014 GIEF Grant, and the application can be found on our website. The Grant application deadline is March 15, 2014.
To follow the Georgetown Central School Grade 5 & 6 STEM blog, please visit :