In the News

Interview with Co-Presidents

Sarah Winig and Kelly Partridge both joined the board of the Needham Education Foundation (NEF) three years ago and have since become co-presidents of the organization.

The NEF raises funds and awards grants to the public schools for programs and equipment that falls outside of public funding.

The NEF was founded in 1990 by Needham High alumni, who built a sustaining fund that helps the foundation today, though it still raises money each year. The grants have paid for all kinds of school programs, such as the DaVinci Engineering Lab, interdisciplinary projects and small grants to pay for authors or performers to come speak to the kids. Winig and Partridge sat down with The Needham Times to discuss the work they have done with the NEF. Read the full interview.

2016 Fall Grant Awards

NEF Awards Over $30,000 in Spring Grants

Press Release-Spring Small Grant Awards (1)

NEF Awards Over $30,000 in Grants to Needham Public Schools

Needham Education Foundation Awards $31,416 in Spring Grants
April 26, 2017 – The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced
the recipients of 7 grants totaling $31,415 in the spring small grants
cycle at the Needham School Committee meeting last night. The grants
included one express grant and one multi-school grant benefitting all
five elementary schools.
Awarded grants include:
• A multi-school grant to fund the purchase of Sphero SPRK Power
Packs for each elementary school. These robotic balls utilize a
visual block-based program and make learning the basic
principles of programming approachable and fun.
• Funds for materials and technology that will enrich the
curriculum of Engineering Design 101, a new course being offered
at Needham High
• An author visit with non-fiction writer Jerry Pallotta, who will
conduct presentations for students at Hillside to help increase
excitement for non-fiction reading and writing
• The purchase of 40 Wacom Intuos Drawing Tablets which will
enable students at the High School to explore advanced digital
illustration using the same tools that many professional digital
artists currently use.
• A visit by Robin Pease, a Native American storyteller, who will
educate Eliot students on Native American mythology and history
through song, language, dance and games
• An Express Grant that replicates grants provided to the Mitchell,
Hillside, Eliot, and Newman Elementary Schools to provide more
culturally diverse classroom libraries at Broadmeadow
Elementary School
• Funds to develop a curriculum at Mitchell which aims to empower
fifth graders with the skills needed to practice everyday courage
and resilience
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 645
grants, totaling over $2.75 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:
Gina Bliss, Communications
Needham Education Foundation
gbliss@nefneedham.org
781-433-0911

A Study of Courage for Mitchell 5th Grade Students

Two Mitchell 5th graders proudly show their work to William Muorwel, a former Lost Boy of Sudan.

 

Eighty students in Mitchell School’s fifth grade classrooms are undertaking a year-long “study in courage” thanks to a $3,500 grant from the NEF.  The goal of the grant, written by Mitchell Assistant Vice Principal Barbara Hayden and the 5th grade teachers, is to introduce 5th graders to inspirational people who have demonstrated courage and resiliency in overcoming obstacles–with a special focus on individuals from diverse cultures and races.  “Thanks to the NEF Grant, our students are learning to face the inevitable difficulties of life. Our hope is that our students will work hard — giving up less often because they will realize what is making them want to give up and address it.” said Hayden.
 
This fall, students participated in a read aloud of the book Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate and then completed a partner project based on the book.  This piece of historical fiction tells the story of a young Sudanese civil war survivor adapting to life in Minnesota. In October, fifth graders were visited by two inspirational speakers, William Muorel and Moses Ajou, both Lost Boys of the Sudan and survivors of the Sudanese civil war. The men shared their struggles, strategies for coping, and their ways of finding joy in life after losing their homes and families.  Said Colleen Soldato, a fifth grade teacher, “The grant has provided a cross-curricular opportunity for students to explore topics such as immigration and what it means to be an American.  This learning was brought to life by the visit from the former Lost Boys, William and Moses.”
 
In the spring, students will read about other courageous people who have faced adversity and overcome obstacles as they conduct partner research and prepare a presentation for their classmates.  The NEF grant funded a library of biographies and autobiographies for this project. Finally, fifth graders will participate in service-learning projects to support the South Sudanese Enrichment Center for Families in Medford and a school for children in South Sudan later this year.
 
So far, the grant has seemed to make a lasting impression, particularly the visit from the two former Lost Boys of Sudan.  As one fifth grader said, “You sent across a message to never give up and be optimistic and follow what you want to do, and work hard for what you want to do!  I will never forget that and never forget this presentation.”

 

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