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MEDIA WALL: AEF, Belmont Savings partnership aims to enliven project-based learning

aef logo 2018“It’s ... motivating for students to know that their work will be presented in this larger way for others to see."
-- Gibbs Principal Kristin DeFrancisco
Ann Pirone, AEF president, with Faisal Azim, BSB assistant VP and one of their branch managers.Ann Pirone, AEF president, with Faisal Azim, Belmont bank assistant VP and one of their branch managers.

Project-based learning is more than just making a collage about a novel, constructing a model of the pyramids or analyzing water samples from a lake. While these artifacts and activities could be part of a project, they are not the whole project.

True project-based learning leads students through a subject area with a meaningful intent to explore and engage in solving a real-life problem. No matter the content, students experience a consistent method with which to approach a project and they understand the need to focus, research, plan, reflect, revise and finally present.

The new sixth-grade Gibbs School has a "project block" built into the school schedule -- one that incorporates innovative, multidiscipline, project-based learning into the daily routine. It is designed to encourage and nurture social-emotional growth and to prepare students for successful careers in the 21st century.

A key component of project-based learning is nurturing the ability for students to present their work to an audience wider than their classmates. This final, crucial component is made possible with the installation of the Gibbs Media Wall, which has been made possible through a partnership between the Arlington Education Foundation, Belmont Savings Bank, and the Arlington Public Schools.

Seeking a deeper relationship

Last spring, the Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) and one of its sponsoring business partners, Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, discussed forming a deeper, more strategic relationship, one that would focus on supporting a specific initiative within the Arlington public schools.

The result is a three-way partnership among AEF, the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation and the Arlington public schools. A $10,000 donation from the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation and $20,000 from the Arlington public schools funded the new Gibbs Media Wall featured in the lobby. To ensure successful implementation of the project-based learning curriculum, AEF has committed to supporting up to $10,000 of teacher professional development.

Gibbs Principal Kristin DeFrancisco said in an Oct. 31 AEF news release: “I am so grateful to both AEF and the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation for this exciting contribution to our new school. It’s engaging and motivating for students to know that their work will be presented in this larger way for others to see; they approach their product with determination and they view their work as important.”

Aims of Media Wall

The Media Wall aims to bring project-based learning to life by:

* Demonstrating various project-based learning projects in different phases: Bringing student work to life in an innovative way;

* Greatly enhancing essential, real-life communication skills: answering a question or solving a problem and communicating answers or solutions to an audience;

* Delivering maximum content and giving visitors a personalized experience and the ability to select and watch different projects on four 55-inch touch screens Increasing students’ computer science skills by learning how to program and manipulate the touch screen software for presentations to the public; and

* Enhancing school culture and the school’s ties to the community through presentations of school activities.

The Arlington Education Foundation awards more than $100,000 in grants to the Arlington public schools each year. Funding programs, professional development and projects that support and enrich the teaching and learning that occur in all of our schools, AEF relies solely on community contributions and business sponsorships. For more information, visit www.aefma.org

The Belmont Savings Bank Foundation’s main goal is to financially support nonprofit groups and organizations in the areas of education, health and human services, youth programs and affordable housing. They are dedicated to promoting community activities and charitable organizations. For more information, visit www.belmontsavingsfoundation.com


This news announcement was published Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018.

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