In the News

NEF Awards $44,351 in Spring Grants

May 11, 2016 – The Needham Education Foundation announced the recipients of 10 grants totaling $44,351 in the spring small grants cycle at the Needham School Committee meeting last night.  These include four (4) multi-school grants benefiting all five elementary schools, the largest of which provides math backpacks for all Needham kindergarten classrooms to build early math literacy around Common Core standards and facilitate math-related activities at home.

Awarded grants also include:

  • An interdisciplinary workshop for African American and Guitar classes at Needham High School (NHS) about the history of Blues with visiting Master Blues artist Toby Walker.
  • The transformation of the current technology lab at High Rock into a Creation Lab that will allow for stop motion and animation creation, green screen videos, audio recording and book creation.
  • A three-film series and panel discussions focused on the future of education and designed to promote family and community dialogue around educational innovation.
  • Number sense challenge kits for all elementary schools which enable individualized math enrichment at all grade levels.
  • Twenty-five (25) Lightbox interactive multimedia learning modules for K-5 students in all elementary schools, including modules on Four Seasons, Continents, Earth’s Water, Forces of Nature and Rock Science.
  • A summer book mailer program, which builds on a successful pilot, intended to prevent “summer slide” among struggling 3rd and 4th grade readers at Broadmeadow.
  • “A Study of Courage” ELA/Social Studies unit for Mitchell 5th graders, in which students study inspirational people who have demonstrated resiliency and which includes a visit from two lost boys of the Sudan as well as service-learning projects.
  • A school-wide book reading program for Newman teachers, administrators, parents and students focused on developing strategies and classroom activities for cultivating grit, supporting resiliency and learning from failure.
  • An “express” grant, which replicates successful grants at Mitchell, Hillside and Eliot, to build more culturally diverse classroom libraries at Newman Elementary and Needham Preschool.

The NEF is an independent, community-based, not-for-profit organization that raises funds for the enrichment of public school children in Needham. Since 1990, the NEF has funded more than 560 grants, totaling over $2.6 million, to promote innovation and excellence in education. To learn more about the Needham Education Foundation and how you can support it, please visit www.nefneedham.org.

 

For more information contact:

Tina McHugh, Communications

Needham Education Foundation

tmchugh@nefneedham.org

781-974-2048

“Own Your Peace” at NHS Sculptures Promote Community and Individual Well-Being

Own Your Peace girls

 

Two senior art classes collaborated with art teacher Wendy Hodge and visiting artist Jodi Colella to design, build, and publicize two temporary school-wide art installations as part of the Own Your Peace-Piece initiative. This initiative was funded in Fall 2015 with an NEF small grant. Members of the school community were invited to write on colorful fabric pieces about how they “own their peace” and to tie what they wrote to two sculptures: “The Bridge,” which is located in the area connecting the old and new school buildings, and “The Cave,” which is located under a staircase and symbolizes the creation of a comfortable space of “protection and safety.”

This project taught students how to organize community art installations and connect them to the high school’s annual Speak Out assembly and the Own Your Peace sculpture outside of the school. As one student said, “This was a beautiful and fun way to share your voice and let it become part of something bigger.”

Check out coverage of this initiative in the Needham Times and Hometown Weekly.

A Repeat Victory at the 25th Annual NEF Spelling Bee!

 

2016 Bee Winners with Sarah&Felicia (3)2016 Bee Elem Winners with Dan (2)

 

On Sunday, March 13th, the Needham community came together to test their spelling prowess at the 25th annual Needham Education Foundation Spelling Bee.  Over 40 teams participated, including elementary, middle and high school students, teachers, parents, members of Needham community organizations, and local business people. The afternoon kicked off with the return of the Elementary School Round. After some fierce competition, the Hillside Yellow Jackets, including Omri Sde-Or, Ariel Berk, and Larisa Badawi, won on the word “chauffeur.”

 

In the Championship Round, High Rock & Pollard Teachers Caitlin Harding, Anna Kuebler, and Maryellen Shea repeated last year’s victory after spelling “catarrh,” which means inflammation of a mucous membrane.  It was a fun-filled afternoon, with hundreds of spectators cheering on the spellers.  Attendees enjoyed answering trivia questions between rounds and competition was high for the great raffle prizes from area businesses. Celebrity pronouncers Superintendent Dan Gutekanst, WHDH-TV 7News reporter Kimberly Bookman, and Last Minute Productions partner Gary Gillis kept the event lively and fun.

Check out coverage of the event with photos in the Needham Times and in the Hometown Weekly.

“Authoring Inspiration” at NHS – Young Adult Author Nancy Werlin Inspires Students

Nancy Werlin, Author, at NHS

In February, young adult author Nancy Werlin visited Needham High School to conduct a series of workshops and speaking sessions with students. Nancy Werlin is a New York Times bestselling author whose young adult books cover a wide array of genres, including realistic fiction, suspense, fantasy, and comics. Her book, The Rules of Survival, is a National Book Award finalist.  Locked Inside is an Edgar Award finalist, and The Killer’s Cousin is an Edgar Award winner.

According to NHS Librarian Paige Rowse, “About 175 students attended the events. Ms. Werlin spoke about a number of relevant topics and was able to connect with students. Students were engaged and eager to ask questions – we actually ran out of time during each session because so many students wanted to participate.” One NHS teacher said it was “a great opportunity to ask questions and gain insight and inspiration.” Students “liked how she talked about her whole experience, not just talking about books” and how “she gave great advice about deadlines and goals.”

The visit was funded by a grant from the NEF’s Fall 2015 Small Grants cycle.

See coverage of Ms. Werlin’s visit in the Hometown Weekly.

NEF Announces 2015-2016 Large Grant and Interdisciplinary Learning Funding

Starlab Planetarium

Large Grant Award – STARLAB Coming to Needham

The NEF announced the award of a $15,000 large grant from its 2015-2016 Large Grants cycle at the School Committee meeting on January 26th. The grant supports the purchase of a Basic STARLAB Portable Planetarium System (with weather and solar system units) for use by the Needham Science Center. The STARLAB can be used in gyms and performance centers and can accommodate up to thirty students when inflated.

STARLAB is an exciting way to spark students’ interest in science and increase their scientific literacy. It can be used to make meaningful curriculum connections for students across all grades and can build students’ skills and content knowledge in a way that ensures that students not only “know” science concepts, but also can use their scientific knowledge to investigate the natural world.

More Interdisciplinary Learning at Needham High School

The School Committee accepted two NEF Interdisciplinary Learning Initiative (ILI) grants at its January 26th meeting, totaling $48,019. These grants will help to solidify the broad and lasting impact of the ILI Collaborative Initiative, the collaboration between NHS and the NEF that is most well-known for the creation of the Greater Boston Project, an interdisciplinary class at NHS. The Da Vinci Workshop and several smaller interdisciplinary projects have also been created through this collaboration, now in its fourth year.

The first new grant provides a third year of funding for the “Interdisciplinary Learning Fund.” This fund, administered by both NHS and NEF representatives, was created to support small interdisciplinary units of study. Thus far, six multi-year mini-grants have been awarded.

A new, part-time Interdisciplinary Learning (IL) Specialist position will be created with the funding from the second grant. The IL Specialist will serve as a resource for all of NHS, and will also provide interdisciplinary learning guidance throughout the district.

To date, more than 20 teachers and 550 students at NHS have been impacted by the NEF’s support of interdisciplinary learning initiatives. These new grants will extend that impact to the 2016-17 school year.

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