The Maranacook Education Foundation is very pleased to announce that it will be awarding 3 additional grants this year. Previously, we awarded 8 grants to district staff in December. The following grants will allow for additional learning opportunities for our students and we are excited to see the outcomes of the projects.
Heather Chalmers, elementary school librarian, has been awarded funds for her grant, “Seating for Reading Areas for Elementary School Libraries.” A school library has always been the heart of a school. Our elementary libraries needed to be updated to encourage students' reading and love of books. We have worked hard to weed and organize our libraries, bought new curtains and decorations, and some libraries have been painted to brighten up the space. We have received compliments on how welcoming the libraries are. We are continuing to improve them each year.
The issue for us now is creating cozy reading areas. The libraries were set up for adults and did not have child size furniture in them. We changed the layouts of the library so that we could add reading areas for students. We have exchanged what we could with furniture that was not being used in the schools. We are limited with what we can have for furniture due to health and safety guidelines and must have furniture that can be wiped down. The old furniture that we had was not in good shape structurally and was covered in upholstery that had seen better days. We need to replace the furniture with good quality, cleanable pieces which are not currently affordable for us.
The excitement we have seen in the children since we have made changes has encouraged us to keep working on this overwhelming task with four libraries. This year has been hard on the students because our libraries are being used by other staff who needed space that met the guidelines for Covid to see students. We would like to create the reading areas so that they are ready for the fall with hopes that students will be able to return to the libraries instead of having library instruction in their classrooms.
Paul Sveum, Director of the Kennebec Valley YMCA’s Camp KV in Readfield, has been awarded a grant entitled, “Environmental Sustainability at Camp KV.” This popular summer camp, which has provided opportunities for hundreds of Maranacook Area Schools youngsters through the years, will be using the funds provided for with this grant to focus on improving their environmental sustainability through waste reduction, food composting and establishing staff and camper run organic agriculture.
Kerry Welch, Pre-K teacher at Readfield Elementary School, will receive funding for her grant entitled, “RES Kids' Activity Trail Improvement.” The Kids' Athletic Trail Improvement project’s purpose is to update the signs and benches of the nature trail at Readfield Elementary School. The wooded trail features bridges, streams, vernal pools, ponds, stonewalls and stone foundations. The grant would cover the purchase of custom trail signs, a sign for the 1808 foundation (which has no marker), sign posts and hardware, trail marker signs and benches. The benches would sit in a clearing along the trail to provide an outdoor learning space. The half mile trail can be used for exercise, hands-on science and history lessons for teachers, students and community members.