Did you know, during this school year, GCEF committed $29,000 to support 16 programs! Half of these grants brought new and innovative programs and hands on learning opportunities to all GUFS students for the first time. New programs included:
Maker Space: This grant, with a matching grant from the Tormey family for an additional $2,400, was used to introduce a Maker Space at school. GUFS Art Teacher Coulter Young implemented a six-week STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Mathematics) unit into his curriculum for grades K-8 with the purchase of Little Bits Workshops Sets, Goldie Blox, Quibits, and Legos. Maker Spaces provide the foundation of a STEAM curriculum by presenting students with hands-on, creative ways to design, experiment, build and invent and will continue to be used at GUFS for many years.
Modern Band Ensemble: This grant provided a new outlet for all GUFS students to express themselves musically by purchasing new acoustic guitars, ukuleles, keyboard, drum set, as well as providing professional development opportunities for Mr. Torres. The funding of new instruments helped to form Modern Band ensembles, which are non-traditional musical groups that incorporate instrumentation normally found in today’s pop/rock/hip-hop groups.
Healthy Choices: GCEF and PTA partnered to bring the Healthy Choices program to the GUFS middle school. This multi-layered program offered by a licensed clinical social worker provided parents, students, and GUFS faculty support and comprehensive education on sexual health and sexuality, including information on topics such a pregnancy and HIV prevention. The program included a workshop for parents of 6th-8th graders, eight 45-minute sessions for 8th grade students, and support for Garrison faculty and staff to help integrate the Healthy Choices program into the school health curriculum.
5th Grade Newspaper: This grant gave fifth grade students the challenge to develop, write, and publish a 21st century newspaper. Students spent time skimming and scanning media sources for story ideas, generated questions and applied strategies for gathering, compiling, and recording the news.
NYC Historical Immigration Experience: The NYC Immigration Experience program provided 8th grade students with a day-long experience which enhanced their depth of knowledge with regards to the American immigration movements of the 1800s and early 1900s and was a culmination of their unit of study on immigration.
New York Hall of Science: To enhance the studies of the third, fourth, and fifth grade students in math, science, and technology, the grade 3-5 teachers scheduled a joint trip to the NYSCI-New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York. Students were given the opportunity to participate in the Design Lab Activity, Daily Demonstration, Simple Machines Workshop and a 3D movie.
Courtyard Stage Eagle Scout Project: Former GUFS student Colin Waldron used GCEF funds to build a stage in the school courtyard, currently an under-used space. The stage will be used for plays and performances as well as concerts, award ceremonies and even 8th grade graduations.
Soccer Goals and Balls: GCEF and PTA co-funded the purchase of new soccer goals and balls, which are a popular spot for all grades during recess. These are being used during recess as well as within the Physical Education program.
In addition to these new programs, GCEF also funded highly regarded returning programs such as Hudson Valley Seed’s educational school gardens, a multi-disciplinary art program with the Garrison Art Center, a Revolutionary War/Colonial Day Living History Reenactment, a Clearwater Sloop Sail, and visits to the Challenger Space Center and Constitution Marsh.
And we are not done yet! To date, we’ve raised $4,325 for Audio/Visual Upgrades for the school stage from personal donations at Spring Thaw and a $1,000 donation from our business sponsor, Lydia and Matt McMahon of the Redoubt Café and Wine Bar. Our goal is to raise $10,000 so all size donations continue to be warmly accepted and we are excited to update the GUFS community as we fund stage enhancements in the near future.
A sincere thank you to all the families and individuals who have contributed to our children's education and continued the long legacy of GCEF in our community. Established in 1998, GCEF has distributed over $680,000 in grants to benefit children of the Garrison School district.