Many of the 10 recipients will use funds for technological projects and programs

The Petaluma Educational Foundation has awarded 10 Major Impact Grants, totaling more than $112,000, to city schools for 2011.

These grants are awarded annually by PEF's Board of Directors, and this year, many of them were given for technological programs and projects.

"So much of the curriculum at any grade level now is Web-based because it has a component of learning related to accessing the Internet" said Janet Ramatici, PEF's director. "The Internet accommodates all types of learning styles and learning proficiencies.

"Really, it turns out that for programs to be successful, they need to have access to the Internet, so they need the technology to make it effective."

This year, some 25 applicants requested a total of $289,000 for programs and projects.

Petaluma High School received $8,251 to purchase three ceramic potter's wheels and an electric kiln for fine arts and special day class students and Casa Grande High School was given $9,947 to purchase LCD projectors, laptops and speakers for its world languages classrooms.

"Clay makes it easy to find immediate results and gratifying expressive three-dimensional arts," said Jae Tillinghast, fine arts department chair at PHS. "Students learn best when given opportunities and guidance through and exploratory, hands-on process."

Petaluma Junior High School was given a $10,514 grant to support its goal of promoting lifelong fitness by improving students' upper-body strength and $6,000 to help fund a sustainable, outdoor learning garden and amphitheater.

Kenilworth Junior High School received $15,000 to fund 16 laptop computers and a portable laptop cart to augment its English-language curriculum and McNear Elementary School was awarded more than $14,000 to purchase devices that will allow each student to answer questions as software integrates with white boards.

"We are now seeing the booming potential of internet-connected computers in classrooms," said Laura Bradley, eighth grade English language arts teacher at Kenilworth. "Literacy is perhaps the most vital skill for our students," said Bradley, "but in addition to print literacy, today's students must also be literate in media and technology."

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