The Groton Dunstable Education Foundation is pleased to announce it has awarded 20 new enrichment grants totaling $8,959.08 to district schools in its nineteenth grant cycle. This cycle includes mini-grants for up to $500 each.

Thanks to the community's ongoing support of fundraising events like this fall's Octoberfest 5K Road Race and donations to its Annual Giving Campaign, GDEF is proud to fund the following important initiatives to enhance the education of our students:

-- Newton in a Nutshell - program in physical sciences of force and motion for Swallow Union 2nd graders

-- Music Together - developmentally appropriate music program for Boutwell pre-school students and classroom teachers, using song, movement and instrumental activities

-- Fitness for YOU - Middle School Wellness teachers will work with a local professional to engage students in a Personal Wellness program using circuit training, kickboxing, yoga and meditation, with a focus on developing personal responsibility for one's health, body awareness and mindfulness, and tools for stress reduction

-- Podcasting and other Multimedia - digital cameras and accessories for high school students, allowing them to capture photos and videos for school projects, working individually or in small groups.

-- Lessons in Developmental Guidance - proactive multi-media guidance lessons for Florence Roche students, covering social competence, compassion/empathy, coping skills and assertiveness

-- National Audubon Field Guides for N.E. - 30 guides for the Middle School library, allowing students to learn about natural ecosystems and how scientists classify and identify

Other GDEF grants fund professional development through attendance at a regional Reading conference for three elementary special education teachers and at a College Art Association Conference for a high school art teacher, a subscription to the TumbleBook Library online collection of talking books for elementary students, Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning books and CD's for high school Biology and Chemistry students, updated almanacs and geography reference materials for the middle school library, and recess playground equipment to encourage cooperative play during elementary recess.

GDEF also funded several grants for critical pieces of technology equipment to enhance classroom learning, including iPods for Swallow Union students to listen to free downloadable audio books, document cameras and LCD projectors to foster an interactive, hands-on learning environment, Smartpens for high school faculty to create short instructional web-based demonstrations for their students, and portable projection equipment for live training demonstrations in new software and technologies for high school staff.

If you wish to contribute to next year's grants, GDEF invites you to donate to its Annual Giving Campaign, or you can thank a special teacher this holiday season by making a donation in his or her honor to GDEF's "Teaching Stars" program. Spring grants in any amount are due at the end of March. Donations can be made online with a credit card at www.gdefinc.org or by printing off a form to mail in.

GDEF's popular Trivia Night fundraisers will be returning this winter on three nights in January, February and March, at the Main Street Café, Groton. . Sign up for GDEF's email list at www.gdefinc.org .