Westport schools announce Innovation Fund grants, literary fest to return to town
Updated 5:16 pm, Friday, October 13, 2017
WESTPORT — A literary festival will return to Westport for the first time in nearly a decade, thanks to a new initiative by the schools.
Director of Elementary Education Julie Droller announced at the Monday Board of Education meeting that $34,000 out of a total $50,000 had been awarded by the Innovation Fund Committee, comprised of Westport’s teachers of the year, current, and past. Two Innovation Fund proposals have been awarded full funding and a third has received partial funding, according to school officials.
The three proposals were chosen out of a pool of 14, three of which were returned with a request for more information, and eight of which were returned with the suggestion that other funding sources be sought.
The largest sum of money, $25,000, was granted to the Saugatuck Story Festival, which will partner with the Westport Library and engage high school juniors and seniors to organize and run a literary festival in town.
“This provides the students with contacting the authors, arranging the questions for them, the interviews, all of that planning, organizing, connecting with the community members. So we’re really there as facilities, while they’re really doing that entrepreneurship,” Board of Education member Karen Kleine said.
The festival is scheduled for October 2018 and will be the first literary festival in town since 2010, when the Rabbit Hill Festival ended.
A project that will allow composer Sean O’Loughlin to work with sixth- through eighth-grade orchestra students was fully funded $7,000. A third project was partially granted, receiving $2,000, to allow the purchase of Swivl and iPads for each elementary school to enable the recording of demo lessons, instruction and student discourse.
The committee will continue to consider applications on a rolling basis.
“They’re all great things, sort of sparking an idea … something that wouldn’t have happened before and hopefully something that can be sustained in other ways in the future,” said Board of Education member Elaine Whitney.