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Newtown Education Foundation Planning A Big Year



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Newtown Education Foundation (NEF) President and Board Chair Allyson Story said the 2016-17 academic year is going to be "big" for the group, which held its first meeting of new school year on Monday, September 19.People and businesses interested in partnering or volunteering with NEF can e-mail NewtownEducationFoundation@gmail.com. More information about the foundation is available at its website, .newtowneducationfoundation.org

Following the meeting, Ms Story said the foundation has a number of plans and goals for the year.

"Our big goal this year is basically to get money into the hands of our teachers so they can continue to provide educational opportunities for our students," said Ms Story.

NEF promotes and supports innovative education programs for the benefit of students in the Newtown Public Schools system, according to the foundation.

Ms Story said the foundation will continue raising funds to be able to continue supporting teachers who apply for grants throughout the year, instead of at specific times.

"I think we are going to have a pretty amazing year. It is a great new board, made up of not only parents but also community members," said Ms Story.

In addition to Ms Story, board members include Vice Chair Karyn Holden, Treasurer Stephanie O'Leary, Secretary Keira Kowalczyk, Eva Bermudez, Frank Caico, Mike O'Connor, Corina Place, Casey Ragan, David Rosvally, and Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr.

The next board meeting is open to the public and is set for Thursday, October 6, at 7 pm, at Reed Intermediate School's library.

"We are always looking for volunteers to get involved," said Ms Story.

NEF is now a tax-deductible charity, so it can accept donations, according to Ms Story.

Plans for the year include hosting events for the community, forming a Newtown alumni group, continuing to build connections with corporate sponsors and local partnerships, a community concert with the band The Alternate Routes, and hosting a weeklong celebration of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) in local schools later in the school year, according to both Ms Story and Ms Ragan.

Ms Story said the STEAM week will bring different presenters and learning opportunities into the schools. With five letters in STEAM, Ms Story said each day of the school week will focus on one of the words in the acronym.

"We want to really do this week on a large scale," said Ms Story.

Ms Ragan is organizing the STEAM week, and said the foundation will be looking for community members to help provide the different activities that week.

"We are going to be looking for community members to get involved in that," said Ms Ragan.

The foundation is focusing on bridging connections between local resources and expertise and the classrooms.

Another event in the works is a "teacher auction," which Ms Ragan said will have volunteers auctioned off to provide different services for a period of time, like tutoring or lessons.

NEF is also looking for more members of the community to become involved in running events or participating on subcommittees, Ms Ragan said. Some of the volunteer options are focused on one event, so they do not involve a full-time commitment. The NEF is different from local PTAs, which are school-centered, Ms Ragan said, adding the foundation focuses on big programs and innovative ideas that can be brought into Newtown classrooms to be piloted.

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