Shelton's Holy Trinity Catholic Academy awarded two educational grants

Holy Trinity Catholic Academy recently received two innovation grants for the 2021-22 school year. Pictured are grant winners third grade teacher Kristina DeSimone, left, and Head of School Lisa Lanni.

Holy Trinity Catholic Academy recently received two innovation grants for the 2021-22 school year. Pictured are grant winners third grade teacher Kristina DeSimone, left, and Head of School Lisa Lanni.

Holy Trinity Catholic Academy / Contributed photo

SHELTON — Holy Trinity Catholic Academy has received two grant awards from Foundations in Education.

Third grade teacher Kristina DeSimone has been awarded $11,000 for Distance Learning-Owl Labs; Head of School Lisa Lanni has been awarded $9,765 for a world language lab.

Foundations in Education Inc. is an independent non-profit initiative created to assist the Diocese of Bridgeport’s support of Catholic education in Fairfield County.

Lanni said the grant program, now in its fourth year, invests in teachers’ creative projects and professional development. Grants are intended for initiatives that benefit multiple grade levels and have a long-term impact on student learning, she said.

A virtual awards reception was held Feb. 4 where grant honorees shared their vision with the Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, grant committee members and donors.

The Owl Labs grant will be used to purchase a 360-degree camera that autofocuses on whomever is speaking in the classroom and helps create an immersive learning experience for students at home, Lanni said.

“I am looking forward to our remote learners feeling that they are truly a part of the classroom through the use of the Owl Labs camera,” DeSimone said.

The world language lab grant will provide students in grades 5-8 with multiple world language choices while advancing their use of technology.

“It will allow students to have an in-depth study of a world language and be better prepared for the challenges of high school,” Lanni said.

In all, 10 Innovation and Leadership Grants Awards were awarded this year.

“We are happy we can bring so many of these innovative projects to life and provide an initiative that gives teachers something to look forward to in the midst of all the uncertainty of COVID-19,” Holly Doherty-Lemoine, the Foundation’s executive director, said. “This initiative is an opportunity for us to celebrate teachers who are among the unsung heroes of this pandemic.”

Submitted proposals are reviewed by the grants committee, and recommendations are submitted to Foundations in Education’s Board of Trustees for approval. The committee is led by Julie McNamara, president emerita of Albertus Magnus College and Foundation board member.

“Holy Trinity Catholic Academy is grateful to the Innovation Grants Program sponsored by Foundations in Education for being awarded these grants,” Lanni said. “These offerings will allow HTCA to enrich our remote-learning environment and expose our students to language immersion.”