Pond Cove school secures grant for iPads

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CAPE ELIZABETH – Students at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth will be using iPads during art class next year thanks to a $3,000 grant from the Kate Libby Endowment for the Arts.

David Betses, owner of Art For Everyday, the Kennebunkport-based publisher of Kate Libby Calendars, presented the check to Pond Cove art teacher Maryjane Johnston and Principal Kelly Hasson at the school on Friday.

Art for Everyday established the Kate Libby Endowment for the Arts in honor of Maine painter Kate Libby from Boothbay, who passed away in 2005. According to the Kate Libby Endowment for the Arts website, “Some of her original inspirations were Willard, her Brittany Spaniel, and her family including husband, Rob, and her son, Thomas,” who also visited Pond Cove school during the June 13 check presentation.

“Kate’s posters portray the life and landscape of Maine in vivid and captivating colors,” according to the endowment website.

According to Betses, the mission of the Kate Libby endowment is to provide financial support for school-based art, primarily programs that encourage hands-on learning experiences for children in Maine.

“It goes out to support grassroots-level art projects that typically would be overlooked,” Betses said.

“Art is viewed as the foundation and inspiration of more than just what is going on in the classroom,” Betses said. “We feel it’s important to establish some appreciation (for the arts) at a young age.”

Johnston submitted the grant proposal in February explaining that the goal is “to enhance the technological resources in the art classroom, in order to facilitate a dynamic and innovative learning environment.”

The $3,000 grant will pay for 10 iPad minis to be used in the art classroom beginning next school year, Johnston said. Johnston said the school also received another $1,082 grant from the Pond Cove Parents’ Association this spring to supplement the iPad endowment with headphones for the students, iPad protective cases, a new rug, and chairs.

The two grants combined will complete the Pond Cove Art Room Technology Center at the school, according to Johnston, which will be available to students during art class for several years to come.

“The iPad has become the art education tool of the 21st century,” said Johnston. According to Johnston, iPad technology allows students to create and share digital content focusing solely on art, including drawing, painting, digital photography, animation, graphic design and more.

Johnston said the iPads also have apps that allow students to engage in an interactive tour of museums around the world, such as the Louvre in Paris. It also gives students the opportunity to create digital portfolios of their work.

“Any time that a student has artwork, they crumple it up and take it home in their backpack,” Johnston said.

“It’s a way to preserve their work,” Hasson said of the iPads.

According to Johnston’s grant proposal, iPads “provide students with opportunities to practice and apply the skills needed for success in the work force or higher education system.”

“Everything is becoming increasingly more digitalized,” she said.

Betses thinks iPads “are essential in preparing students and introducing them to technology,” he said.

Without the Kate Libby Endowment for the Arts grant and the funds from Pond Cove Parents’ Association, Johnston said the new art room technology center may not have been possible. “I don’t think we would have had the resources for it,” she said.

“It’s hard because we are such a big school,” added Hasson. “We wouldn’t have been able to afford that in our budget this year.”

Kate Libby’s son, Thomas Cornell, who graduated from Boothbay Region High School on June 6, said from experience that using iPads in the classroom “is easier, takes up less time and is more hands-on.”

“I used mine for essays and other projects,” said Cornell, who plans to attend Southern Maine Community College in the fall. “Technology is the future,” he said.

From left, Pond Cove Elementary School Principal Kelly Hasson, Art for Everyday owner David Betses, Pond Cove art teacher Maryjane Johnston, and Kate Libby’s son, Thomas Cornell, and husband, Rob, display a $3,000 check from Kate Libby Endowment for the Arts on Friday, given to the school to purchase iPads.