Monday, June 16, 2008

Fall 2008 Schedule

(Click to enlarge schedule image.)

We have submitted the required Program Overview form and all Class Proposals with an organized schedule in a single package as requested to Groton Parks & Rec last Friday - before the June 15th deadline. The logistics are currently in discussion - I've requested a meeting this week.

Every effort was made to schedule within each hourlong timeslot:
- both free and pay options
- active/recreational and academic/enrichment options
- younger and older age range options
There is a brief break from 11:30 - 12. Participants may or may not choose consecutive programs, and
classes may or may not run quite the full hour, so there is a small allowance for transition.

Registration will be in August/Sep and further details are forthcoming. Although definitely not as seen on TV, schedule "is
subject to change" and "additional fees may apply" ;0)

Deepest gratitude & kudos to all of our volunteers,
instructor-organizers and instructors, including:
Deb Adamson
Anne Bora
Donna Gillen
Lynn Kinnaman
Caterina Maxwell
Kat O'Reilly
Lisa Ory
Gina Pressler
Bailey Pryor
Maria Marques
Marissa Mills
Elizabeth Rummell
Lee Rummell
Heather Thompson
Thank you, also, to those who considered lending your
talents for a class, (maybe next time!), ...and
EVERYone contributing ideas, classes and support both
in person and online!

Mission, Proposal & Execution

CommunityThink is a collaborative effort to create new educational, creative, recreational & social opportunities at no or minimal cost in a tolerant, supportive atmosphere for, and by independent learner families in Groton & its broader community.

Classes & workshops will be organized to occur with assorted options for various age ranges on a single weekday - Tuesday -
at the Groton Parks & Recreation operated William Seely School facility in Groton. The 6-week mini semester will follow the Groton Parks & Recreation (GP&R) calendar, beginning with the fall session, the week of September 14th, 2008.

Through a developing resource of pros & volunteers, class topics will vary for each semester. Instructors can submit standard GP&R Class Proposal form for the fall session by June 10th to:
Jennifer Pryor at
or 35 Pearl St., Mystic, CT 06355

Additional classes by available current GP&R and other professional instructors are highly encouraged at a fee pro-rated for the shorter session. (If you know or recommend someone personally, give them a call!) Resident/non rates may still apply.

A per family, per session registration/facility fee may apply - allowing family members to participate in as many of the free classes as desired & age-appropriate. Free class participant families would be expected to remain on-site and volunteer in-kind services through teaching, monitoring, clean-up etc.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A New Community Learning Opportunity

CommunityThink is designed to create new educational, recreational and social community opportunities in a tolerant, supportive atmosphere for, and by independent learners in the Southeastern Connecticut area and beyond.

The idea is essentially a hybrid program: we solicit pro (pay) instructors for classes we'd like to see, and supplement that programming with our (free) CommunityThink volunteer effort to create a range of topics & affordability. The options are ENDLESS! We finally have space & opportunity together! What would you like to see? What can you offer?
Jump in, ask around and fill out a form!

As of Friday, May 30th, 2008, the CommunityThink concept has a green light!
Groton Parks&Rec (GP&R) Program Director, Ben Morse, gave the go ahead to recruit instructors & submit our class overview forms for a daytime program for a 6-week mini-session on Tuesdays at William Seely School beginning the week of September 14th, 2008! Wahoo!

*If you have a class idea, NOW is the time!* You can lead it yourself, ask a talented friend, or invite an instructor to fill out the GP&R form (email for form) and drop off/return it by mail to:
Jennifer Pryor
35 Pearl Street
Mystic, CT 06355

by JUNE 9th (or email me for extension!)

From here, we will put together the CommunityThink class portfolio and schedule and submit it all at once to Parks&Rec. (Sorry for the short notice, GP&R has moved up their catalogue deadline by 2 months!)

Start times will coincide with the GP&R calendar sessions for a Fall (Sep-Oct), Winter (Jan-Feb) and Spring (Apr-May). The shorter sessions will hopefully allow for a more manageable time chunk for volunteers, and reduced rates for pros.

The idea is to offer up both pay and free/nominal fee programming to balance out the overall costs for families. We are proposing a facility fee of $20 per family, per session fee to take as many of the CommunityThink volunteer (free) programs as you like. Upon registration for the free classes, each family would receive a list of ways in which they can contribute in return - from organizing/instructing a class to hosting/monitoring a playgroup to cleanup or...?

The interest from seasoned pro instructors is building - including L'Ana Burton of CDC Lyman Allyn/Dragon's Egg fame and Lee Rummel of the former Brenda Kerr Theater. (Thank you, Heather Thompson for pursuing them!)

Determined by the instructor. Parks&Rec has just initiated a small mark-up fee (up to $5) for pro classes and will make recommendations for a "saleable rate" if you wish, but all fees essentially go to instructor. Pros may suggest a higher minimum-to-run number to offset lower fees.

Set by instructor and determined by classroom space requirements. The classrooms have a capacity of approximately 25 for seated instruction and 15 for movement. The gym and meeting lounge have higher capacities of approximately 30 - 75.

Set by instructor.
*tip* If age-specific, you may wish to allow for a year's worth of wiggle room on either end of age range to account for maturity variations. My personal experience with P&R registration is that the computer will often NOT allow numbers outside of a designated age-range to register without instructor consent.

We will try to let the instructors' ideal times dictate the schedule. Following a lead from preliminary classtime submissions, timeslots could look like this:
10:30 - 11:30
11:30 - 12 (shortie or break)
12:00 - 1
1:00 - 2
2:00 - 3
Shorter/longer or over-lapping times will probably work fine, as well. Fill out the form with your IDEAL time and maybe add a post-it with a 2nd choice. We hope to establish a number of options for various age-ranges to occur throughout the day.

Tuesday was chosen soas not to conflict with the Green Street homeschool co-op in Middletown on Wednesdays, nor the local museum programs often offered on Thursdays & Fridays. The Seely building is also widely available on Tuesday.

The William Seely building is a small former school just seconds from I-95 at the SubBase exit. It is situated on its own cul-de-sac and has plenty of parking, as well as lots of outdoor playing field space, a baseball diamond, basketball hoop, hardtop and several play structures. Inside, there are four classrooms (two empty for movement classes) with counters and sinks. There is a gym/stage room, a kid-friendly lounge/playroom and a meeting lounge.

Thanks for your help & enthusiasm -