Author: Anne Roberts

Neag School of Education Honors Project SPARK Volunteers

The Neag School of Education presented a number of scholarships and awards during its annual scholarship awards ceremony Wednesday, April 12th, 2017.  Many award recipients have volunteered for Project SPARK during the summer, including:

  • Kelsey Iwanicki, who received the following awards:
    • Daniel Thomas Perley Scholarship
    • Babbidge Scholars
  • Alexandra Jabick, who received the following award:
    • UConn Honors Scholars
  • Efthimia Kutrubis, who received the following award:
    • New England Scholars
  • Jessica Liu, who received the following award:
    • UConn Honors Scholars
  • Kennedy Martin, who received the following award:
    • Andrews International Education Award
  • Jennifer O’Brien, who received the following award:
    • New England Scholars
  • Hannah Ragonese, who received the following award:
    • UConn Honors Scholars
  • Kevin Smaglis, who received the following award:
    • Sidney Skolnick Scholarship
  • Heather Vasquez, who received the following awards:
    • Lodewick Teachers for a New Era Alumni Scholarship
    • Marjory C. Gelfenbien Scholarship
    • New England Scholars
  • Brett Wojtkowski, who received the following award:
    • New England Scholars

Congratulations to all of our Project SPARK volunteers on their awards!

To read more about the award ceremony, click here.

Related talent development model in Charleston, SC

Springfield Elementary tries out gifted-and-talented teaching for all students
By Paul Bowers,, Nov 27, 2016

Graylon Nell wasn’t giving a lot of hints to her third-grade math class at Springfield Elementary. During a lesson on place values one recent Tuesday morning, she challenged students to suss out the meaning of the digit 1 in the number 1,389.

“That one costs one thousand,” said a boy sitting nearby on the floor.

“It costs 1,000, so I have to pay 1,000 to put that there?” Nell responded.

“No …”

“Can someone add on?” Nell said to the class.

For five minutes the students hashed it out. They spoke in turns, refining each other’s ideas and building a working definition of numerical place values. The conversation took longer than a traditional lecture might have, but, Nell hoped, the students would not soon forget a lesson they taught themselves.

Nell hasn’t always conducted her classroom this way. For the past two years, her school has been trying a new approach.

Using part of a multimillion-dollar grant for Title I schools in the area from the U.S. Department of Education’s Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program, Springfield has sent all of its teachers for training in gifted-and-talented education strategies developed at the College of William and Mary. They attended summer classes at the College of Charleston and will have opportunities for continuing education.

Continue reading…

Project SPARK highlighted in The Hour, Norwalk

NORWALK — Maybe you wouldn’t have thought she was smart.

A lanky girl with big brown eyes and dark skin, Mackenzie Jackson was not necessarily picked for this summer program for displaying conventional academic achievement. She was picked, though, for her leadership and out-of-the-box perspective — smarts of a different kind.

“I like when we get to play outside and get smarter, too,” Mackenzie, 6, said in a kindergarten classroom at Brookside Elementary this week.

She had just come back from outside, where her class jumped like bunnies, waddled like penguins and crawled like inch worms for the class’s measurement unit.

The classroom is one of four in Brookside for a summer program called Supporting and Promoting Advanced Readiness in Kids, or SPARK, a statewide project out of the University of Connecticut to include more underserved populations in academically talented tracks. The idea is that by giving students a jump-start through summer programming, they will be more likely to follow advanced programs later on in their academic career. Continue reading…