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The Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation has approved nearly $93,000 in Innovative Learning Grants for teachers and staff in the Hatboro-Horsham School District for the 2010-11 school year and earmarked funds for an elementary level science literacy program and for the Jarrett Nature Center, the district’s “outdoor classroom.”

The grants provide for projects that enrich the district’s curriculum and expand the students’ learning experiences. Following an application and review process, the HHEF board of directors approved 13 projects. Among them are:

• A visit to Hallowell Elementary School by author/nature photographer Stephen Swinburn during which teachers will learn his techniques for using nature to inspire creativity writing and other means of expression such as poetry and photography.  Students will create digital displays of their work in the lobby and library.

• With inspiration from the book, “The Leader in Me” by Stephen Covey and “7 Habits of Happy Kids” by his son, Sean, who visited the district last October through an HHEF-funded initiative, students at Pennypack and Blair Mill elementary schools each will select their “leadership quality” and create a design that best illustrates it. The designs will be turned into ceramic tiles to be assembled into permanent murals at the schools, serving as a reminder that everyone has a special role to play and is important to the community.

• Videoconferencing technology and programs that will allow students at Hallowell and Blair Mill elementary schools to interact with their counterparts from diverse communities and backgrounds across the nation and the world.

• A visit to Simmons Elementary School by Dr. Karen Reivich, a leading researcher and author in the field of resilience in children, to present information to students, staff and parents on how to develop resilience – defined by Dr. Reivich as “the ability to bounce back from setbacks, to learn from failure, to be motivated by challenges and to believe in your own abilities to deal with the stress and difficulties in life.”

• An expansion of Hatboro-Horsham High School’s HHTV, A district-based television network, to include audio production and radio production technology. Audio editing lab equipment, including console, furniture, hardware and software, will allow students to become DJs, talk show hosts and audio technicians and editors,

The Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance and enrich the learning opportunities of the students in the Hatboro-Horsham School District, also will provide $25,000 toward the district’s cost for the third and final year of an elementary level science literacy program  developed in conjunction with the National Science Foundation. The program includes curriculum development, hands-on resources, materials and supplies to teach science concepts through hands-on inquiry, investigation and analysis.

In addition, HHEF will award $20,000 to support the programs at the Jarrett Nature Center, the district’s “outdoor classroom” located off Babylon Road in Horsham between the high school and Simmons Elementary School.

HHEF has, since it was founded in 1987, funded classroom-based projects and school programs, and has brought cultural and entertainment events to the community through the support of individual and business contributions. In the past three years alone, it has awarded more than $250,000 in grants. The dramatic growth in funding is due to corporate partnerships made possible through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. However, the commonwealth recently cut back the EITC program, making “donations from individuals and businesses in our community even more critical,” said HHEF Executive Director Laurie Rosard.

For additional information about HHEF and its programs, visit www.hhef.org, call 215-420-5261 or send an e-mail to hhef@hatboro-horsham.org.   A complete list of the Innovative Learning Grants that were awarded for 2010-2011 will be available on the HHEF website by the end of June 2010.

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HHEF grants supports robotics programs in the district’s elementary, middle and high schools. Here, students on the Keith Valley Middle School Robotics Team show their projects to Keith Valley technology education teacher Diane Heitzenrater.