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Norwalk Foundation's mini grants fund classroom projects

Culinary students at Norwalk High School are opening a student-run snack bar.

Briggs High School students will study how to lift and analyze fingerprints in a forensic science class.

And special education students at Brien McMahon High School will use iPads to learn sight words, take pictures and learn communication skills.

All of these projects have received funding through mini grants from the Norwalk Education Foundation.

Each year, the foundation awards mini-grants of up to $500 to teachers for projects that will inspire, engage and excite their students, according to Gloria Tenofsky, the foundation's executive director.

"We received a variety of thoughtful projects," Tenofsky said. "From publishing to science proposals, teachers demonstrated their creativity and dedication to truly engaging students across grades and learning styles,"

The students running the sustainable snack bar at Norwalk High School will be responsible for all aspects of food management including cooking, planting, harvesting and recipe development in addition to managing sales and revenue, according to culinary teacher Margaret Dolan. The Norwalk Education Foundation is providing funding for the digital scales needed to measure recipes, weigh produce and reduce waste.

At Briggs High School, the foundation provided funds for forensic analysis tools including a kit of skeletal remains to help students learn how forensic scientists can identify the gender, race and approximate age of a skeleton.

"We always receive more proposals than we have funding for, so the need for this program is great," Tenofsky said. "We are hoping to grow this fund to allow for two rounds of mini grants annually."

This year's mini grants were funded by a $3,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation.

For more information, visit www.norwalkeducation.org, or call 203-854-4068.