Connecting Classrooms Grants

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Connecting Classrooms Grants

    Connecting Classrooms Grants fund large-scale projects that enhance student engagement and support learning consistent with school and district goals. Our intent is to be the catalyst for Ithaca City School District (ICSD) staff to seek and develop collaborative partnerships between teachers within a school, across grade levels and/or between schools.

    IPEI has committed funds to encourage innovative thinking, further engage students, and increase the sense of community between groups of teachers and students. Successful projects must have a plan for sustainability and a method for evaluation.


    Connecting Classrooms Grant proposals for the 2023-24 school year will be accepted and approved on a rolling basis, and Letters of Interest may be submitted at any time


    Contact the Grants Committee at or by calling (607)256-­4734.


  • Round 1

    Belle Sherman: Outdoor Learning Space & Nature Trail Development – PHASE II

    Lead ICSD Applicant: Dan Breiman

    With ICSD teachers: Randi Beckmann, Allison Trdan, Monica Lang, Sheila Bowman, Viviana Sitz, and Deb Sidhu; Caroline Elementary School teachers

    This is a project that continues to encourage high-level energy and engaging, authentic, and local curriculum work. The timing is optimal to build on the already existing excitement and curiosity around the Belle Sherman outdoor learning space begun in 2015-16. This will help to create deep and meaningful learning opportunities.


    Communicating Science through Exhibits and Demonstrations

    Lead ICSD Applicants: Elizabeth Quadrozzi and Yvette DeBoer, DeWitt Middle School
    With teachers: Rob Arena, Anne Bechert, and Carol Hoffman

    In order to teach students about effective design of, and communication through an exhibit, we will expose our students to a variety of exhibits. A wide range of community organizations will be invited to present an exhibit to students, and then explain how the components of the exhibit were chosen. Through this process students will learn to critique what they see, determining what they considered engaging, which facets of the exhibits they thought did and didn’t work, and any components they might like to include in their own exhibit or demonstrations. Students will then research, design, build and facilitate an interactive demonstration or exhibit that explores a topic in science. The topic will be of their choosing, from something covered in class, or an outside interest the student may have.

  • Round 2

    All Elementary Schools: Turning Trash into Treasure with author Brian Yanish *****

    Lead ICSD Applicant : Sarah Jones, Librarian South Hill Elementary with Maureen Gilroy, Enfield Librarian; Kaitlin Bryant, Belle Sherman Librarian; Megan Hulburt, Northeast Librarian; Paula Long, BJM Librarian; Joe Sherrill, Cayuga Heights Librarian; Milly Stephenson, Caroline Librarian; Alexandra Spencer, Fall Creek Librarian

    Brian Yanish recently wrote a recycled art activity book, ScrapKins: Junk Re-thunk, that helps students imagine the possibilities of making things with everyday recyclable objects.  The eight librarians’ intention was that the program will inspire students in a universally accessible way, and support the Makerspaces introduced or planned in ICSD elementary school libraries. The applicants believe that all students need opportunities to problem solve, create and revise.

    ***** Selected to be funded in part by the Charles W. and Phyllis B. Brodhead Memorial Fund