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Danbury Schools Partner With WestConn To Teach Kids About Watersheds

The principal investigators responsible for implementation of the NOAA grant program are Dr. Theodora Pinou, professor of biology at WCSU, and Anne Mead, administrator of early childhood education for the Danbury Public Schools.
The principal investigators responsible for implementation of the NOAA grant program are Dr. Theodora Pinou, professor of biology at WCSU, and Anne Mead, administrator of early childhood education for the Danbury Public Schools. Photo Credit: Facebook

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will partner with the Danbury Public Schools and area environmental and energy agencies to educate middle school students and their families about the importance of preserving and protecting local watersheds and the clean water resources that they provide.

WCSU has received a $194,323 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to begin a three-year project in April that will bring students from Danbury middle schools to the university campus for summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs designed to provide a wide-ranging educational experience in the field and the classroom focusing on stewardship of water resources and the biodiversity of watershed ecosystems.

The project, titled “Finding Our Way,” also will engage the families of middle school students in a series of Saturday programs about water resource conservation during the academic year. Another important element of the NOAA grant will enable Western to provide professional development workshops for nine science teachers in the Danbury Public Schools who will explore ways to incorporate innovative STEM instructional practices based on Next Generation Science Standards in their middle school classrooms.

Gabrielle Jazwiecki, director of the WCSU Office of Sponsored Research Administrative Services, said the grant award will enable Western to continue to develop its strong partnership with the Danbury school system, anchored in the success of the “Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success” program in English and math preparedness over the past decade as well as previous programs for collaboration in STEM instruction.

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