How We Work
LEF awards educators in the Litchfield area with grants for after-school enrichment, classroom projects and innovative technology, resources, and experiences that deepen the educational experience. Hourly compensation and professional development costs can be included as part of a larger program. If you would like to apply for a grant or start a conversation about the LEF grant process, please click below for the grant guidelines and application.
LEForward Thinking Subsidized Programs
LEF wants to encourage third-party vendors to bring interesting and in-depth programming to Litchfield area youth. A LEForward Thinking Subsidy allows for vendors to avoid common risks of entering a new market by guaranteeing attendance and reimbursing travel costs. We also help with sourcing meeting space and marketing so that all educators need to worry about is teaching.
Mentoring & Team Leadership
LEF seeks to connect students with experienced community members in all disciplines who are willing to share their expertise. Whether you are a business owner, retired professional or technical expert, there are many opportunities to mentor an individual student for a special project or lead a team of students for a competition. Click below to inquire.
Thought Leadership & Need Awareness
LEF is not a political organization. We do seek to provide our community with access to recent articles and information on issues that concern students. Three times per year we publish a newsletter, The LEF Report, that highlights a thought leadership topic. We also provide links to other publishers of relevant education and parenting content in our Insights section.
Examples of LEF-Funded Programs
After-School Engineering and Design
Litchfield Community Center
Robotics & Beyond of New Milford leads this 5-week series which enables students to explore a variety of topics in STEM and design. Each week includes an engineering design challenge or topic in physics, mechanics or energy. This is a screen-free program; all topics are hands-on and focused on problem solving, learning new skills, concepts and vocabulary, and interaction with peers.
LEF has provided a 50% subsidy to defer costs. Transportation provided by bus from Litchfield Public Schools (except 10/10) but open to all area students. Financial aid also available.
Litchfield Intermediate School
Litchfield Public Schools and the Litchfield Education Foundation have partnered with Connecticut Kids Play Chess, Inc., (CKPCI) one of the largest chess teaching organizations in Connecticut, to run the program. The program is open to all students at the Litchfield Intermediate School, Grades 4 through 6.
Girls Robotics Team
Litchfield Middle School
The idea behind competitive robotics is to bring the excitement and energy our culture has for sports and bring it to STEM. The competitive aspect motivates students to learn about engineering design and computer programming. But like in sports, it’s not really whether they win or lose. The program is really about team building along with learning some very valuable tech skills.
The middle school girls robotics team will compete in the VEX Robotics Challenge. VEX Robotics is a world-wide competitive robotics event. The students on the team will design, build, and program a robot that will accomplish the various tasks within the competition game
1/2 Day Cursive Club
Litchfield Historical Society
Reading and writing in cursive is a valuable fundamental skill for students. Recent studies reported in the Washington Post and New York Times have highlighted the benefits of proficiency in cursive writing. According to the studies, the ability to join letters in a continuous flow improves retention and comprehension because of it requires student to process information and reform it in their own words as they put pen to paper.
The Litchfield Historical Society’s Cursive Club program will support literacy by instructing students in both reading and writing in cursive. Using the Society’s extensive collection of handwritten historical documents, the Cursive Club program will utilize games and activities that develop fine motor skills, observational skills, and research skills.
1/2 Day Animals Explorer's Club
Oliver Wolcott Library
The Animal Explorer’s Club will present a variety of experts throughout the state including Riverside Reptiles, Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation and Education, White Memorial, Christine’s Critters, the Children’s Museum, and Animal Embassy. These enriching and engaging programs for students support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which encourages students to “be inspired and enabled to continue to learn about science outside school” by offering them an opportunity to learn new life science concepts and skills and the chance to see wild animals up close.
Celebrate Litchfield! Composer Project
Band and chorus students from Litchfield Middle/High School worked directly with Grammy-winning saxophonist and bandleader, Paul Winter, to compose an original piece of music that celebrates Litchfield's 300th Anniversary. Mr. Winter believes that all instrumentalists and singers, regardless of experience, can awaken their own creative potential through adventures in spontaneous, collective sound-play.
With the support of Litchfield Historical Society, students researched the town’s archives for revealing stories, inspirational prose and important historical elements to be included as lyrics.
Spelling Club and Bee
An ambitious group of students enjoyed an exciting Spelling Bee at the Litchfield Community Center. The Bee was the culmination of the Spelling Bee Club held at Oliver Wolcott Library. As part of the Club, participants are given study lists provided by Scripps, as well as an opportunity to enjoy spelling games and compete in mock bees in preparation for the official LIS Bee.
Students ultimately faced off in an exciting Bee. All the kids showed what amazing spellers they are, many of them making it passed several rounds of the Bee. Even more impressive was how composed and professional each participant was, respecting the official rules of the Bee, and cheering on fellow classmates. The winner had the chance to represent their school at the Scripps CT Spelling Bee in Hartford! Both the Spelling Bee Club at OWL and the registration for the Scripps CT Spelling Bee were made possible by a grant from the Litchfield Education Foundation.
After-School Theater Program
LEF subsidized an after-school theater program developed and executed by ASAP! at Litchfield Intermediate School. Through play and fun theatre games, students learned about acting, role-playing, and developing a character.
The program also explored how actors think, move, and use their voices to become fearless, shy, funny, and more! Students had a chance to write, collaborate, and create ideas for a play. The week culminated with a performance for friends and family.
Multi-Cultural Art and Music Program
In this LEForward Thinking after-school class in conjunction with our partners ArtRoom Atelier and the Litchfield Community Center, Band Together! Art and Music from Around the World took a multicultural, multidisciplinary approach to exploring the intersection of visual art and music.
Students made instruments from the four families of the orchestra: woodwind, strings, brass, and percussion, created gongs, horns, guitars and drums, and studied the diversity of world cultures in which these instruments originate.
Special musical guests also performed the sounds of that week's instruments!
Preschool Science Center
LEF is pleased to have funded a new Science Center at School on the Green. When we look at preschoolers, it is easy to think of them as children. But they are scientists, tech wizards, engineers and mathematicians in the making.
Congratulations to School on the Green for at once embracing and challenging children’s natural curiosity, sense of wonder and scientific exploration.
Learn on, School on the Green!