J.F. Kennedy Middle School Earns Two Grants From The Southington Education Foundation

J.F. Kennedy Middle School Earns Two Grants From The Southington Education Foundation

Video Equipment for Remote Learning and 21 st Century Literacy Skills

The Southington Education Foundation has awarded a $498 mini-gran to Ryan Hartt, John F. Kennedy Middle School teacher, for his project, Video Equipment for Remote Learning and 21 st Century Literacy Skills. The application states that technology has always been an integral approach to Hartt’s teaching social studies. He further states, “Timeless skills such as analyzing primary sources and geography are blended seamlessly with 21 st century literacy skills to create projects like podcasts, public service announcements, videos and movie trailers.”

What was the inspiration? Since the pandemic, teachers have come to using remote learning and thus relying on technology. Unable to take field trips to a museum or a historical site, Mr. Hartt shared with the SEF his belief that the creation of virtual field trips and other immersive videos for classroom use was the answer to this challenge. Working at the Connecticut River Museum and the Mystic Seaport Museum during the summer provided him an opportunity for such a project.

How will the project work? Not only will Hartt be able to create meaningful videos, but he will also be able to teach students how to use the equipment to create high quality projects and use real word skills in audio and video production. The equipment he requested will provide for higher quality videos than what can be achieved with an iPhone.

What do the classroom assignments look like? Hartt states that technology skills will prepare students for future careers. They will develop real world skills that are applicable to virtually any job. Students will learn about technology by creating blogs, news reports of historical events, debates, or speeches through videography.

Other opportunities are historical narratives, public service announcements, dramatic interpretations, or music videos.

Who will be impacted? The grant funding supports digital needs. The project serves students whether in the classroom or in distance learning environments. Mr. Hartt’s project will impact nearly 100 students this year and years to come. He expects to share his expertise and equipment with his colleagues. It is a win-win for students!

More than technology, a preparation for the future: This proposal combines all the components of the Vision of a Graduate, as well as 21st century literacy skills. In addition to academic content, it includes building skills in collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and creativity.


Illuminating the Essential Power of Diversity, Amy Perry, JFK Middle School - $498

The Southington Education Foundation has awarded funding to Amy Perry, John F. Kennedy Middle School curriculum specialist, for her project, Illuminating the Essential Power of Diversity. Perry’s project will enhance the social studies curriculum by providing students opportunities to read fascinating stories about people of color who were American trailblazers.

Who will benefit? The award provides all JFK students in grades six through eight access to a variety of carefully-chosen books related to four units taught throughout the school year: Black History Month, Asian-Pacific American Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Women’s History month. During each unit students will choose a book to read about a hero they would like to learn about. The reading materials are at varying levels and will be available to students to explore throughout the year. The teachers of the JFK social studies department are committed for they see this project as valuable for many reasons.

Why is this project valuable? In the grant application Perry emphasized the value for students to understand the story of those who do not look like them. Perry pointed out that the national reckoning on race was occurring as she wrote this application. She emphasized the importance of students having books that will tell the story of the people of color, not only about their struggle for equality but also about the impact they personally had on America.

What is the broad reach of this project? As Perry’s application indicated this project impacts JFK students in many ways. The project supports the Southington Public Schools’ goals for diversity and inclusion. The district strives to prepare students to become productive members of society, teaching them to respect diversity while creating a sense of community. Enriching conversations will allow students to develop cultural competence and a positive racial consciousness, essential aspects of Southington’s Vision of a Graduate.

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