Creating Possible
November 2016  



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Join SEF on #GivingTuesday!
Tuesday, November 29th is the nationwide "Giving Tuesday" event. In this season of giving, please remember to include SEF, or a favorite charity of your choice, in your year-end giving plans! Watch for our email and Facebook posts.
SEF Will Be Gift Wrapping
 at the "Summit Snowflake Stroll" on Friday, December 2nd from 7-9 p.m.

Let SEF volunteers help you kick off your holiday shopping season with complimentary gift wrapping during this downtown-wide shopping night. Stop by the Hospitality Center at 408 Springfield Avenue, next door to lululemon.  Click here for more information.
Grant Spotlight:  No Hiding in the Oval
Mary Pat Colicchio knows "the middle" can be full of surprises, as the national election recently demonstrated. The Summit High School history teacher, armed with an SEF grant, is determined to make sure her students who perform in the middle of the academic spectrum get the spotlight they need to make them shine. To this end, Colicchio spent a couple years researching a teaching/learning concept known as the Harkness Discussion Method, which emphasizes thinking over memorization and regurgitation of material.

The mechanics of the Harkness Method require students to sit at an oval conference table, with the teacher, acting as moderator and observer, circling the perimeter. No one seated in the oval can "hide" during a Harkness-style discussion, as students sift through new material by talking, listening and formulating conclusions together. Since oval conference tables are not readily available or practical at SHS, Colicchio penned a grant seeking funds to retrofit her classroom with movable desk systems that would allow students to quickly get into a Harkness oval, break apart for smaller group discussions, and then return to an eyes-front formation for traditional lecture format.
Sophomore Devon Degen said,  "We do a lot more group stuff with desks like this." During one of Colicchio's recent sophomore history classes, students, configured in several small ovals, engaged in spirited discussion of whether George Washington really was a great military leader.
Colicchio is thrilled with the ideas and confidence she's seen emerging in her classes. "The kid who would normally have blossomed as a senior is blossoming earlier!  He or she can't be a wallflower anymore. I'm indebted to the SEF. This has just been a great experience."
Article by Nicolette Chin
Ms. Colicchio's students work in small groups with classmates, thanks to new flexible seating.
Partners Night Update
Over 150 "Partners level" donors and friends gathered at the home of Heather and Stephen Thomas in October to celebrate SEF's grants to the Summit Public Schools. We heard from the several recent grant recipients including Loren McTaggert and Cynthia Vitale on behalf of the SHS Virtual High School program, Anne Poyner and senior Matt Colon on behalf of the Forensics & Debate team, and Justin Toomey, the LCJSMS Band Director. SHS Jazz Band students  Scott Greenblatt, Chris Heckleman, Zach Olson, and Diego Pinzon provided entertainment throughout the evening. Thank you to all who were in attendance.

Left to right: Jennifer Anderson (SEF Events Chair), Heather & Stephen Thomas (Partners Night hosts), and Irene Murdock (SEF President).
SHS Senior Matt Colon (left) gave a riveting Forensics performance at the Partners event.
Together, we can make possible a reality.