Catholic School Educators and Staff Recognized for Innovation and Leadership

February 8, 2021 | Foundations in Education | General News

Foundations in Education, Inc (FIE) is pleased to announce the 2021 Innovation and Leadership Grants awards totaling nearly $140,000 to benefit Catholic schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport. 

FIE awarded $56,683.56 to educators for their transformative grant projects. In light of the heroic innovative contributions of faculty and staff, FIE for the first time awarded $82,600 to ALL faculty and staff within Diocesan Catholic schools and the Office of the Superintendent. The Foundation Board took the extraordinary step of recognizing the frontline workers for their demonstration of innovation and leadership amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since its inception, Foundations in Education has awarded more than $500,000 in grant funding.

FIE’s Executive Director Holly Doherty-Lemoine shared, “In addition to the annual grant program, this year our committee recognized in a special way the heroic innovation and leadership exhibited by all faculty, staff, and administrators of the Diocesan Catholic schools during this tumultuous year of the coronavirus. In appreciation for their personal sacrifices and perseverance in providing students the excellent education which they deserve, whether in person or virtually, we awarded an Amazon gift card to each permanent employee of our Diocesan Catholic schools.”

The annual competitive Innovative and Leadership grant cycle takes place from September 15-October 31.

Each year, a Grants committee of the Board of Trustees reviews and evaluates each grant proposal and submits recommendations to the FIE Board for approval. Projects must align with the Foundation’s mission to strengthen and transform Catholic education and include unique and innovative approaches to teaching that will maximize impact on student learning.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Cheeseman, commented, “We are extremely grateful to Foundations in Education for continuing to make valuable investments in our schools, teachers and students. Across the diocese, educators are working hard to provide robust learning with limited resources. This latest round of grant funding will help support students with both online learning and in-person instruction.”

Foundations’ Executive Director, Holly Doherty-Lemoine, remarked, “We are happy we can bring so many of these innovative projects to life and provide an initiative that gives teachers something to look forward to in the midst of all the uncertainty of COVID-19. This initiative is an opportunity for us to celebrate teachers, who are among the unsung heroes of this pandemic.”

This year the awards reception took place virtually. In addition to awardees and their principals, attendees included Most Revered Frank J. Caggiano, Foundations’ Board of Trustees, Grants Committee, and donors.

Each awardee had the opportunity to acknowledge their award and explain their project and vision.

After listening to each presentation, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano shared his reflections with awardees.

“The creativity is extraordinary! The fact that this is happening when we are constricted in so many other ways portrays heroic leadership. I am deeply impressed that these challenges have not prevented, but inspired such imagination and creative proposals. This is Catholic education as it has always been imagined!”

For more information or to learn how you can donate to support innovation and leadership in the Diocese of Bridgeport Catholic Schools, please visit www.foundationsineducation.org.

2021 INNOVATION AND LEADERSHIP GRANT AWARDS

  • St. Catherine Academy for Special Needs, Fairfield: Classroom Robot for Students with Autism by Helen Burland $4,550    
  • Kolbe Cathedral High School, Bridgeport: Kolbe Urban Vegetable Garden by Andrew DeCoster $4,000
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Academy, Shelton: Distance Learning – Owl Labs by Kristina DeSimone $11,000; and World Language Lab by Lisa Lanni $9,765
  • St. Gregory the Great School, Danbury: Together at the Heart: Creating Art Six Feet Apart by Jennifer Sullivan $3,500 
  • St. Mark School, Stratford: Document Cameras to Reach, Teach and Engage Students by Amanda Di Costanzo and Stacey Zenowich $1,278.56        
  • Catholic Academy of Bridgeport-St. Ann Academy: Lights, Camera, Action! by Kathy McNeiece $3,500 
  • Notre Dame High School, Fairfield: Social and Emotional Learning at Notre Dame High School by Chris Cipriano $12,090; Virtual Dance in the Community by Kristen McAfee $6,000; and Real Estate 101 Enrichment Course by Joshua St. Onge $1,000
  • All Diocesan and Diocesan-Sponsored Catholic Schools in Fairfield County: Demonstration of Innovation and Leadership Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic by all faculty and staff (full-time and part-time) and the Office of the Superintendent $82,600