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Chappaqua Schools Pilot MacBook, E-Reader Programs

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Innovative technological programs involving MacBook labs and e-readers will be piloted throughout Chappaqua's six schools in 2012-13 as a result of grants donated by the Chappaqua School Foundation.

Throughout the year, the non-profit organization takes requests from Chappaqua teachers about programs they would like to see implemented with money the foundation has raised. The 14 grants donated to the district in 2012-13 total $104,044.

"Each year we’re looking to fund programs that are truly impacting learning," said CSF board member Jane Shepardson. "What you’ll see this year is really a continuation of what we’ve been doing through the years, which is funding grants that really enhance learning throughout all the grades and throughout all the curricular areas."

The largest approved grant this year is $40,830 for the creation of MacBook Labs at Robert E. Bell Middle School and Seven Bridges Middle School.

"It will be run through the libraries at both schools and it will give kids access to all the wonders of the Mac," said Shepardson. "Everything from film-making, editing, documents, all that sort of stuff."

Shepardson said the majority of requests the foundation received this year were for technology-related grants, as tight budget times have limited the amount of pilot programs the district can afford.

Fellow board member Susan Schwartz said when pilot programs are successful, the foundation has the opportunity to extend the impact to other schools and other curriculum in subsequent years. One program that will be expanded in 2012-13 is the use of e-readers.

"We funded e-readers for struggling readers in ninth grade last year and the same teachers came to us this year to extend that grant to also cover the 10th graders in our high school," Schwartz said.

The technology has also been expanded to include students who speak English as a second language.

"They found the technology especially helpful, given that the e-readers have a built-in dictionary and when they find a word that they’re not familiar with they can quickly look it up and then continue reading," Schwartz said.

The $104,044 raised by the foundation in 2012 adds to its donation total of $1.5 million to the district since its inception in 1993, Shepardson said. The complete list of grants can be viewed on the foundation's website.

The foundation's next major event, Spring Benefit , is its largest fundraiser every year. The event will be held on April 27 at the Trump National Golf Club.

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