East Grand School students learn life skills while helping Danforth community

The school got a $2,000 RREV award to focus on entrepreneurial skills and let the students decide the rest.
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 4:34 PM EDT
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DANFORTH, Maine (WABI) - Middle School students at East Grand School are getting their hands dirty and learning important life skills, all while helping the Danforth community.

It’s part of their project-based learning philosophy that aims to get kids working together to give back at a young age.

“The things that we work on in these projects are critical thinking, collaboration, communication. and problem solving. And kids really need to do that and learn how to do that. So, that when they get out in the world, they have that background,” said middle school teacher Jill Plummer.

This year, East Grand School received a RREV award from the Maine Department of Education.

They got $2,000 to focus on entrepreneurial skills and let the students decide the rest.

“What we did was we put out an RFP, a request for a proposal, and we asked different organizations in the community if they would like us to do a project for them,” Plummer said.

The students chose two projects to work on; creating a new sign to welcome visitors to the town of Danforth and building a fence for the local daycare.

“This project is all about choosing for the students, and there’s so much more invested when they get to choose what they’re doing,” Plummer said.

The middle schoolers separated into construction, design, and a documentary team.

They connected with community members to meet their needs and see the projects start to take shape.

“We thought of friendliness. That’s one thing that came from the design with Danforth. There’s a lot of friendly people, I guess. So, we thought about that. And, that’s where we got the canoers and I guess the bird and stuff in the camp,” said 6th grade student Elaina Noyes.

The students say they learned to work with each others strengths and weaknesses and the importance of deadlines to stay on task.

“I’ve learned that sometimes it’s more difficult to work with someone than it seems, especially when those people you don’t really talk to a lot, but I also feel like this kind of thing can help bring people closer together and new friendships can blossom,” said 6th grade student Caitlyn Drost.

Their teachers say they hope the students will take more risks in the future because of what they’ve been able to try in school.

Now, all 31 students will have lasting memories and a lasting impact on the town.

“We’re hoping that students understand the impact of what you can do with a little bit of money and some effort. They’re like, ‘we’re gonna be so proud when we drive through town and see our stuff up there, see what we’ve done, see what we’ve created.’ So, just to know that the kids will have that legacy is really nice,” said middle school teacher Jennifer Fronczak.

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