BRISTOL - When the teachers gathered for their annual convocation, they were sitting on refurbished seats in the Bristol Central High School auditorium.
That was thanks to the efforts of Gina Gallo, a Spanish/Italian teacher who has gotten many people in the school and community to support her efforts to win online grants over the years, said Superintendent of Schools Susan Moreau.
“All 800-plus seats have been restored,” Gallo said. “We are now looking to replace the curtains and make other improvements.”
“It’s pretty amazing to look in there now and see all those seats looking spectacular,” Moreau said.
“It’s a testament to Gina’s amazing charisma in talking everybody into making sure that they did that,” Moreau continued. “She actually just won another $2,500 grant from Farmers (Insurance) under the same process and now will be applying for another $100,000 grant.”
Gallo’s most recent $2,500 grant from Farmers’ “Thank America’s Teachers” program is for her proposal to use art as a vehicle “to improve literacy fluency, vocabulary development, listening skills and knowledge retention in both English and Italian.” She got people to vote for it by email last spring.
“The Italian/Art Departments propose to teach cultural art units as a team,” she wrote. “We believe in order to really understand the intricacies of Michelangelo, we should put a chisel and piece of rock into the hands of the students!”
“The funds from this grant will be used to purchase material for hands on art lessons. The students will then be asked to create an art gallery with their artistic representations of the classics. We will then open this gallery up to the school and community to help promote cross discipline learning and expand our learning beyond the walls of the classroom. This process is 100 percent student centered and will allow students to develop a project from the beginning research stages to the final product of an art gallery,” her proposal continued.
Now she has applied for a $100,000 Farmers grant. “This is also a voting grant so we will need the help of the entire city to make this happen. The entire city can vote from as many emails as possible for the entire month of October,” she said.
The new project is called R.A.M.S. (Raising Academically Minded Students), in honor of BCHS’s Ram mascot. The goal is to create a partnership program between BCHS and its feeder middle and elementary schools, according to the project description.
“This initiative is designed to partner younger, underrepresented learners with high school students to improve all areas of social and emotional learning; focusing on literacy, math, science, and physical education skills. This community endeavor will plant the seed of excitement in the learning process in the hopes that it will flower into greater academic achievement and community involvement,” the description reads.
“We have been quite successful with our grant endeavors over the last few years,” Gallo said. “We hope to build off our past successes to continue to service our students by out of the box thinking and teamwork!”
Moreau said Gallo recently gave a workshop for BCHS teachers to encourage them to apply for $300 grants for classroom materials through the website DonorsChoose.org.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or email@example.com.