Classroom Grant Winners

WORKSHOP – Updates and Highlights


By Stefanie Malinoski 


Fall has been a busy time for UConn Early College Experience. This semester we held almost 20 different UConn ECE Professional Development Workshops for almost 500 UConn ECE Instructors. Many thanks to our UConn ECE Faculty Coordinators for their partnership and primary role in planning excellent professional development opportunities that support course instruction!


Fall 2019 Professional Development



6 Philosophy

12 Sustainable Plant and Soil Science

13 United States History

25 Natural Resources and the Environment, English

30 Physics


14 American Studies & Maritime Studies

20 Sociology

21 Music




3 Library Media Specialists

15 Political Science

16 European History

21 Human Rights & Educational Leadership

23 Marine Sciences



17 Math





Three of our workshops that were noted for their high quality and interest were our Political Science, Marine Sciences and American Studies and Maritime Studies Workshops.

Political Science

Prof. Sanford Levinson, a notable legal scholar from the University of Texas spoke to UConn ECE Instructors about his area of expertise—Constitutional Law. Instructors were able to hear from him and enjoy a lively conversation about current affairs. Special thanks to UConn ECE Instructor Aaron Hull (Greenwich High School), UConn’s Political Science Department, and UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator, Fred Turner for inviting Prof. Levinson to campus.


Marine Sciences

The UConn ECE Marine Science Instructors held their professional development day in New London at the Credabel Coral Laboratory where they heard from Michael Gerdes about the research conducted at the laboratory. Later the group discussed high school students’ projects. We are thankful that UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator Claudia Koerting established this partnership with the Credabel Coral Laboratory and look forward to future collaborations.


American Studies and Maritime Studies
Certified American Studies Instructors and Maritime Studies Instructors enjoyed a visit to UConn’s Benton Museum of Art as a part of their professional development day. The theme for the workshop was learning how to integrate visual arts into the interdisciplinary classroom. Instructors and UConn Faculty and staff discussed Winslow Homer’s paintings and wood engravings and were able to view a painting by Martin Johnson Heade, Rye Beach (1863), which is apart of the Benton Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Many thanks to UConn ECE Faculty Coordinators for American Studies and Maritime Studies, Laurie Wolfley and Matthew McKenzie, Jeanne Ciravolo (adjunct faculty), Betsy Athens (Assistant Professor Art and Art History), and Amanda Douberley (Art Museum Registrar, Benton Museum of Art).

Details about all of our fall events can be referenced on the UConn ECE website under the “Instructor Benefits” section where our new “Professional Development Blog” is located. Information and pictures from each event are posted here regularly.


Looking ahead to the Spring, we will be planning another series of professional development events. They include events for Instructors who teach Italian, Allied Health, Biology, Classics, Chinese, Spanish, English, Medieval History, Animal Science, Art, French, Human Development and Family Sciences, Chemistry, Digital Media, Engineering, German, Latino and Latin American Studies, and Statistics. Please look to the UConn ECE website “Events” section to view upcoming dates.

Congratulations to our 2019-2020 Course Enhancement Grant Winners!


By Nella Quasnitschka


UConn Early College Experience continues to offer Course Enhancement Grants for courses taught in partner high schools. The purpose of these grants is to create opportunities for classroom and community development for UConn ECE courses. Instructors currently teaching courses at their high school are able to submit proposals for books, technology, equipment, or other materials that enhance the subject matter taught in the classroom. Community development applications solicit funds for projects that have a large impact on the surrounding community, including plans to eliminate an eyesore, make communities healthier, or to foster creativity and research. See below for our list of this year’s winners.


Bais Yaakov of Waterbury High School
Instructor: Davita Rosenbloom
Course: AH 4092, ENGL 1010, ENGL 1011
Description: Books and equipment will help ensure that students receive the most out of their UConn ECE courses. Supplies such as medical equipment and textbooks to supplement the instructor’s teaching will benefit the students in these courses.
Franklin Academy
Instructor: Amy Bigelow
Course: STAT 1100Q
Description: With the purchase of TI-84 graphing calculators all students will have access to a calculator. Having a standard calculator for all students throughout the class allow for efficient instruction as well as time allows to focus on the important concepts and analyses found in these courses.
Central High School
Instructor: Jill Vital
Course: CHEM 1127Q, CHEM 1128Q
Description: Funds will be used to acquire equipment and needed glassware such as hot plates, pipets, Buchner funnel kits, etc. This will greatly impact the effectiveness in both the accuracy of the experiments being run in the course as well as teach students the most efficient and foundational methods of using this equipment.
Jonathan Law High School
Instructor: Tracy Turcotte
Course: CHEM 1127Q, CHEM 1128Q
Description: Vernier digital probes will allow students to work in smaller groups when conducting experiments which allows more hands-on experience for each student. Additional hardware will allow this equipment to connect to student’s Chromebooks allowing students to integrate their technology into learning.
Central High School
Instructor: Ann Trapasso
Course: ENGL 1010
Description: Funds will be used towards art supplies and transportation to fully engaged with the second text they study, “Untitled 2009,” a painting of a painter by Kerry James Marshall, which is exhibited at the Yale University Art Gallery.
Miss Porter’s School
Instructor: Lisa-Brit Wahlberg
Course: HRTS 1007, POLS 1402
Description: Students will use statistics from UNICEF along with other sources to learn about child marriage in Mexico and methods used to end it. They will examine current methods and how cultural understanding effects these efforts. They will then look at how ending poverty could address the issue of child marriage. Ultimately, the students will organize an awareness campaign, create an online petition, and design a fundraising venture to contribute to the eradication of child marriage in Mexico.
Cromwell High School
Instructor: Christina Williams
Course: SPAN 3179
Description: Purchase of the Voice Thread program will be used to enhance the learning environment. The program will help students gain proficiency and confidence in both auditory and verbal aspects of the Spanish language.
New Fairfield High School
Instructor: Karon McGovern
Course: AMST 1201
Description: A trip to New York City will allow students who have learned about 20th Century issues for five units to walk in the footsteps of those who experienced them first hand. Students will visit places such as Ellis Island, the African Burial Ground & Memorial and more to immerse themselves in the events of that time.
E.O. Smith High School
Instructor: Suzanne DasJarlais
Course: HRTS 1007
Description: A performance from Looking In Theatre will be available to students from multiple courses such as UConn ECE Human Rights, Creative Writing, Social Studies, etc. This performance will illustrate local and global social issues. Students will be exposed to this in hopes that it opens dialogue about the issues students face.
Waterford High School
Instructor: Diane Herr
Course: NRE 1000
Description: To gather authentic data, camera traps will be used to capture images of wildlife. Students will have to use these images to quantify and sort the animals to draw meaningful conclusions from their data. This data will also be used over the span of multiple years to look for trends over the years.
E.O. Smith High School
Instructor: Amy Nocton
Course: SPAN 3178, SPAN 3179
Description: Students will produce a monthly podcast about equity and social justice issues. The podcast will consist of stories from community members and students. This podcast will connect students with adults who have expertise in areas of interest as well as give a creative connection with others through storytelling.
Westbrook High School
Instructor: Nancy Malafronte
Course: ENGL 1011
Description: Books as well as author visits will be arranged through the bookstore RJ Julia to enhance student learning about diverse cultures. With the implementation of Literature Circles students will learn about cultures including Cuba, the Middle East, and the South Pacific.
Frank Scott Bunnell High School
Instructor: Kristen Record
Course: PHYS 1201Q, PHYS 1202Q
Description: To enhance teaching of wave phenomena, PASCO Ripple Generators and Light Sources will be purchased. This equipment will allow for better demonstration of phenomena across many inquiry labs. This equipment will also allow for small group work leading to more interactive labs.

Congratulations to our 2017-2018 Classroom Grant Winners!


By Nella Quasnitschka


UConn Early College Experience (ECE) continues to offer Small Classroom and Community Development Grants to courses taught in partner high schools. Faculty currently teaching courses at their high school were able to submit proposals for books, technology, equipment or other materials that enhance the subject matter taught in the classroom. Community Development applications solicit funds for projects that have a large impact on the surrounding community, including plans to eliminate an eyesore, make communities healthier, or to foster creativity and research. This year the office received sixteen competitive applications for innovative enhancement and projects from schools all over Connecticut.


The Office of Early College Programs >will award ECE Classroom Grants again next year. The deadline to apply will be October 19, 2018. We encourage all schools to apply. To be eligible for a grant, applicants must be instructors of an ECE Course running during the 2018-2019 academic year. Please see our website
for more details on Classroom Grant Applications.


Enfield High School
ECE Instructors: David Lenn &amp Melanie Finn-Scofield
ECE Course: BIOL 1107 & 1108

Description: Students at Enfield High School demonstrated a strong interest in dissections while in their biology courses. As an extension of this topic, Professor Lenn and Professor Finn-Scofield would like to organize a dissection club to expand the number of species the students dissect and continue their engagement in the subject. They will receive funding for different types of species along with equipment needed for dissection.


Franklin Academy
ECE Instructor: Amy Bigelow
ECE Course: MATH 1030Q

Description: Franklin Academy serves students on the autism spectrum and with non-verbal learning disabilities. Individuals carrying these diagnoses tend to have slower processing speeds, difficulty with planning and organization, and frequently struggle to interpret information presented visually. Much of the analytical reasoning taught in MATH 1030Q is based on analyzing presented data. In order to provide students with an easier way to read and follow data associated calculations in class, Professor Bigelow requested to purchase an LCD projector and document camera to aid instruction and visual transfer of large data sets, graphs, and tables.


Lewis Mills High School
ECE Instructor: Laura Faga
ECE Course: FREN 3250

Description: In collaboration with the Crosby Fund for Haitian education, students will create French language science activities for students in Haiti. Students will better understand the Haitian culture, use the French language in authentic ways, and provide Haitian students with needed learning resources. Professor Faga has requested funding to cover the cost of materials for educational activities and her initial travel to Haiti to personally deliver materials and provide professional development. With the approval of the Board of Education, Professor Faga plans to take students to Haiti during the 2018-2019 academic year to allow them the opportunity to implement >the educational activities they create.


Plainfield High School
ECE Instructors: Laura Maher
& Kevin Mariano
ECE Course: AMST 1201

Description: As they study the history and evolution of the American Experience, Professor Maher and Professor Mariano believe it is important for students to be engaged with the diversity of the nation. To do this in meaningful ways, they would like to expose their students to individuals different from themselves and challenge students to discuss the issues our country has faced and their implications to today’s world. This grant will fund student transportation to work in collaboration with ECE professors and students at Kennedy High School. The project will expand students diversity and create an authentic learning experience outside of their usual classroom.


Ridgefield High School
ECE Instructor: Christopher Tait
ECE Course: NRE 1000

Description: Ridgefield High School is working on a project called “Barcode Ridgefield.” Barcode Ridgefield will teach students about biodiversity in their local area through the process of DNA barcoding. Students will be trained on how to DNA barcode, collect field specimen, develop relationships with park managers, and develop a database platform to share information to the public. The funding they receive will go directly to the materials needed for students to perform DNA barcoding. This project will enhance the NRE 1000 students understanding of biodiversity, which is one of the essential understandings of the course.


Robert E. Fitch Senior High School
ECE Instructor: Amy Turo McKenna
ECE Course: ENGL 1010 & ENGL 1011

Description: Professor McKenna willreceive funding to support a new reading initiative in ECE ENGL 1010 & 1011. She has redesigned her course syllabi to support student choice in the course reading selection in order to encourage more authentic lifelong reading and writing experiences. The money received will go directly to the purchase of various books to back the choice of text selection for her students.


Rocky Hill High School
ECE Instructor: Karen Redanz
ECE Course: HDFS 1070

Description: Rocky Hill High School students in HDFS 1070 will travel to Heifer International in Rutland, MA, which is an organization working to end world hunger and poverty. Students will experience the Global Village representing countries around the world, and will partake in a service project. Once the students return to school, they will create projects showcasing what they have learned and developed. The money received will go directly to the field study materials, transportation, post-activity materials, and the purchase of a goat for a Heifer family.


Stratford High School
ECE Instructor: George Marrash
ECE Course: PHYS 1201Q

Description: To enhance the accuracy of measurements taken in physics labs, Professor Marrash will receive funding to purchase PASCO Computer Data Collec tion 550 Interfaces. The new technology will improve students’ laboratory skills and expose them to real-world physics lab techniques. Students will be confident about their data collection and more engaged with topics they are studying.


University High School of Science
and Engineering
ECE Instructor: Michael Fromerth
ECE Course: CHEM 1127Q & CHEM 1128Q

Description: University High School is in need of equipment and supplies to run the ECE Chemistry course. Materials needed include burets, separatory funnels, non-graphing calculators, and paper towels. The money will go directly to the purchase of these supplies.


Wilbur Cross High School
ECE Instructor: Kristin O’ Lynnger
ECE Course: ENGL 1004

Description: Professor O’Lynnger will take her students to the Newport Mansions where they will look at the opulence seen in The Great Gatsby and then volunteer at a local organization to demonstrate the experiences of people with different economic status. These visits will correspond to literature about the American Dream. Students will reflect on these experiences with journal entries and ultimately with a book of pictures and essays. The final product will be sold and proceeds will go to the local organization with which they work.


Wilcox Technical High School
ECE Instructors: Kara Papa
& Leslie Czerwinski
ECE Course: BIOL 1107 & PHYS 1201Q

Description: Wilcox High School is starting a project based on the summer reading of The Martian where student groups will have to problem solve using different techniques from their biology and physics courses. Professor Papa and Professor Czerwinski have requested equipment that will help students solve the problems one would encounter if trapped on Mars. Once the project is completed, the results will be showcased in a “Martian Day” that will be open to students and the com munity. They will continue to use the equipment purchased for their biology and physics problems after this project is complete.


Xavier High School
ECE Instructors: Linda Charpentier
& David Applegate
ECE Course: NRE 1000 & STAT 1100Q

Description: In an effort to be more< conservation minded and environmental friendly, students in the Environmental Science course will place recycling bins in all classrooms and offices then work with the entire student body to increase recycling efforts at the school. Teams of students will collect and weigh the contents for students in STAT 1100Q to analyze and determine the success of this program.