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2022 - 2023 Connect! Grants

$22,905 Awarded 

Bonus Round Awarded  $29,050

to start 2023-2024 school year

Connect! Grant Awarded to:

Park County Special Education Coop.

Social Optics

The Gardiner School District teacher teams in grades 7-12, in collaboration with the Park County Special Education Cooperative and PCRS 360, would like to implement a new, web-based software, Social Optics, for the purpose of providing direct instruction in social communication for our students with Autism and Social Communication challenges. The purpose of this project is to provide instruction in a mixed online and in-person format. The school team will be able to leverage the direct instruction through the online component during the students’ already scheduled time with specialists and school staff. 

Connect! Grants are offered three times per school calendar year. Deadlines are the last day of each of the first 3 school quarters.
(October 26, 2023, January 11, 2024, and March 14, 2024)



We are seeking applications that make a difference and serve a wide-range of students.



We are seeking applications that fulfill a crucial need in our community.

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Our mission is to work with the community to build sustainable support and enhance innovative educational opportunities for students, teachers and community members in partnership with Gardiner Public Schools.



To apply: complete application via the Application Link below. All applications must be entered in link below. The Budget Template is required to be uploaded into the application.

2022 - 2023 Connect! Grants

Awards and Impacts

Bruin Buddies Mentor Reading Program

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Connect! Grants making a difference!

Grant Recipient: Gardiner School

Grant awarded: Bruin Buddies Mentor

Total served by this program 98

Grant Amount Awarded: $167

This program is a favorite of teachers, students and our volunteers. It connects the school and community together to highlight the importance of reading and instill a love of reading. Bruin Buddy reading time is an event that is fun, educational and promotes social health. We are very thankful to have the Bruin Buddy program up and running again after a break due to Covid-19. We had a total of 17 volunteers participating in the Bruin Buddy program this Fall. This included James, our Little Buddy, the preschool son of our parent organizer and the brother of two of our students. The first week 14 volunteers were able to come which included a visiting Grandma and Great-Grandma of some of our students from Oregon. They even brought their favorite books from home to share with the students. The children and teachers welcomed the readers in their classroom each week with huge smiles and often hugs from the students. At the end of the program, the children made a variety of thank you cards and pictures to show appreciation to their Bruin Buddies. We also thanked our volunteers each week with a coffee/tea and snack each day funded by the NYEF Grant. Mrs. McLaughlin's culinary art's students treated the volunteers with homemade snacks for three of the four weeks. Our dedicated readers were delighted to interact with the students each week and have already been asking when they can come back to read this spring. The final day the Bruin Buddy Volunteers selected and signed books from the Book Fair to be donated to the school library.

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