SEF awards $11K in education grants


The Southington Education Foundation (SEF) awarded more than $11,000 in grants to three local teachers. The grants were presented at a reception held at the Southington Community Cultural Arts Center (SoCCA).

Southington High School teacher Keagan Radziwon received $3,626 for the project, “Building the Next Generation of Scientists with the Next Generation Science Standards.”

This project turns a biology classroom into a science lab through probeware, a new generation of high-tech instruments for collecting and analyzing data from the physical world. These tools can include digital scientific probes or sensors that collect data on temperature, motion, gas pressure, light, and other characteristics.

Students are guided to use probeware to gather real world data on a variety of life science topics including but not limited to: photosynthesis, bacteria, genetics, ecology, environmental science, and biochemistry.

Students not only design their own investigations using this technology, but also are able to see it to completion and share their findings with their classmates and beyond.


Alta at the Pyne Center teacher Jess Levin and Bread for Life administrator director, Missy Cipriano partnered to earn a grant of $1,780 for the project Culinary Foundations.

The project provided a six-week program for Alta students who were interested in employment in the culinary field after high school. The course taught cooking skills and techniques that will prepare students for employment in the food service industry. Students were also educated about food safety as well as applicable state and federal regulations.

Students who participated in the program were taught to plan, budget, schedule, cook, and serve a meal. In addition Ryan Lucas, owner of the Southington Outback, invited students to work with the restaurant chef to create a full meal.

The clients at Bread for Life enjoyed a meal prepared by the future chefs.

Amy Zappone, Southington public school’s math coordinator, was awarded $5,890 for a project titled, “Greg Tang Family Math Night.”

In November, students, parents and community members took part in innovative instructional presentations.

About 175 K-5 students practiced math skills while engaged in an hour-long series of games lead by volunteers from the high school and the community.

SEF partners with LEAF

At the reception, SEF recognized its most recent program partnership with the Lewis Educational Agricultural Farm (LEAF).

Mark Ramsay, advocating for community support of LEAF, has welcomed support from the town’s Heritage Committee and from nonprofits.  He continues to seek financial support from state and federal grants.

Ramsay highlighted LEAF’s core values: education, inclusion and community, through which all farm activities run. LEAF also touches on all aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The partnership is a natural fit since SEF has been a STEM advocate for many years.

LEAF supports the planting, maintenance, and cultivation of school gardens at each of the town’s 12 schools. Through the modeling of organic farming practices students are provided with real-life learning opportunities of curriculum standards.

SEF was established in 2009. In 2010 it began to award $500 mini-grants. To date SEF has awarded almost $250,000 in grants, scholarships and programs in support of enriching and innovative experiences for students.  To donate or learn about membership in the organization visit