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News : Education May 22, 2014 - 5:52:54 AM

Villa Maria School is the National Winner of America’s Home Energy Challenge

By Villa Maria School of Stamford

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STAMFORD, CT - Villa Maria School of Stamford is the national winner of America’s Home Energy Challenge contest and recipient of a $10,000 grant. The Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by the National Science Teachers Association, encourages children to learn about energy and the benefits of energy conservation.

The 6th and 7th grade students and their science teachers worked tirelessly on completing all necessary materials provided by the Challenge, collected 3 months of energy data, created an Energy Savings Pan, recorded new energy data and wrote a detailed narrative explaining their efforts and hard work. The science teachers, Ms. Nessel and Mrs. Santorella, had a special additional task to complete during the Challenge. Every lesson plan had to be modified according to the different learning profiles of their students with learning disabilities. They described each modification in their narratives and taped some of their results.

“Our students worked really hard towards learning about renewable and non-renewable energy and how to use it in their everyday lives,” says Mrs. Santorella. “Ms. Nessel and I believed that all children deserved the chance to learn whether they are learning disabled or not,” continued Mrs. Santorella who was extremely surprised and excited once she learned the news that her students won the national challenge. Her happiness and pride were shared among the entire Villa Maria community especially since the school was competing against general education schools.

The science teachers are now deciding how the grant will be used to best benefit the students and Villa Maria School’s community. Science and technology are an integral part of the learning experience at Villa Maria, so everyone is excited about the new opportunities made possible by the additional funds.

Villa Maria School is a private, co-educational day school, located in Stamford, CT, serving students with learning differences in grades K-9. Villa Maria is dedicated to developing the full potential of students with learning differences within a very specialized and structured, highly individualized and ultra-supportive learning environment. Students are taught by teachers who are state-certified in special education, receiving one-on-one attention in small classes averaging just four to five students. Lessons are multisensory and address the multiple intelligences of every child. For more information, visit,, or

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