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Stories of Real Gifts Making a Real Difference

We are grateful for all those who choose to support The Learning Center for the Deaf.

Below are stories highlighting how real gifts from real donors are making a difference for real kids. To join those who are making a difference in the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing children, make a gift today. 

Each Gift Matters.


Boston Scientific Foundation Funds TLC's Project Scratch, Builds Critical Thinking and Creativity
Posted 12/28/2012 11:09AM

Boston Scientific Foundation Funds TLC's Project Scratch, Builds Critical Thinking and Creativity

Last year, with a grant from Boston Scientific Foundation, The Learning Center launched an after-school course for elementary and middle school students in the computer programming language Scratch, a product of MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Project. Scratch uses a system of graphical “programming blocks” that snap together on screen, making it easy for students to create their own programs with interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art.

Project Scratch began with TLC’s Educational Technology Specialist, Sandie Bleeker and three teachers, Jimmie Searle, Audrey Koczela and Abby Miller. Together the four staff members participated in one all day training at MIT followed by six weeks of training at TLC to prepare for our new after school program. As soon as training was complete, six elementary school and four elementary school students eagerly enrolled in Project Scratch.

During the Scratch classes, students looked at existing programs and designed their own. They drew pictures, added sound and movements, and shared their projects with the class. The students learned about mathematical and computational concepts as well as the process of design and developed creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and analytical skills- all keys to 21st century learning in a visual, meaningful, and motivating context.

On May 21, 2011, MIT held one of many worldwide Scratch Day events; there were 126 events in 36 countries around the world. Five of our students and some of our Scratch staff and their families attended. At Scratch Day, Scratchers attended hands on workshops, viewed exhibits that showcase local projects, educatiors shared experiences in informational sessions and fellow Scratchers shared ideas in informal gatherings. MIT provided American Sign Language Interpreters, making the event was both fun and accessible for all.

As school year came to an end, TLC hosted it’s own Scratch Party. Parents joined the class as students shared some of their projects and helped their parents create a “fish tank” project or one of their own design. 

Scratch fits well with TLC’s approach to learning- that children learn best when they are actively involved with their own learning. This is accomplished through student-centered activities, facilitating critical thinking and encouraging cooperative learning. Scratch encourages collaboration, creativity, and problem solving. We see this program not only about math, science, and technology but also about creating one more way for deaf students to communicate with one another.

Scratch continues to draw attention from our students and faculty and is not only an ongoing after-school program but is also being incorporated into lessons in the classroom.

To learn more about Scratch, please visit www.scratch.mit.edu.


TLC's Project Scratch Made Possible by Boston Scientific Foundation.

Project Scratch would not have been possible without the generosity of the Boston Scientific Foundation. In the fall of 2010, the Boston Scientific Foundation awarded TLC a grant of $25,000 for a pilot program using Scratch, a visual programming language that is perfect for visual learners such as deaf students.

The Boston Scientific Foundation focuses its support on non-profit organizations committed to improving access to quality healthcare and educational opportunities for communities with unmet needs. They provide grants to programs with a particular focus on science and math education in an effort to invest in future innovators and address the achievement gap in education.

Since 2002, the Boston Scientific Foundation has donated more than $26 million to help innovative community organizations bring about immediate and lasting change for individuals and families.

“We are pleased to be able to provide our support to The Learning Center for the Deaf so that they may pilot Project Scratch, a computer program that follows Boston Scientific’s focus on science and math education," explained Jacqueline Boas, Manager Corporate Citizenship, Boston Scientific Foundation

Year in Review, 2011-2012

Thank you to all of the donors who helped make the 2011-2012 so memorable!  

For a full list of donors, check out our 2011-2012 Report of Gifts.

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