The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of its 2012 Spring small grants cycle at a recent meeting of the Needham School Committee. Thirteen grants totaling almost
$50,000 were awarded to Needham public schools — supporting academics, the arts, innovative classroom environments, disability awareness and social wellness. At the elementary school level, these include author visits, re-enactments of pivotal historical events, an artist-in-residence and expansion of disabilities awareness programs launched last fall.
Middle schoolers will benefit from a farm-based special education program and two unique events for Community Week, an initiative to promote tolerance of differences within our community. High school students will benefit from the creation of a Fine and Performing Arts presentation space and continue to experience The 5th Quarter, a safe, substance-free place for teens to socialize
with friends after evening sporting events.
The full list of grants include:
- Grace Lin: Multicultural Author and Illustrator – Broadmeadow
Geisel Honor and Newbery Honor recipient Grace Lin visits K-5 students to enhance the reading and writing curricula. Known for her authentic voice as a first generation Chinese-American, this multicultural author makes the immigration unit come alive.
- Bringing History to Hillside: Revolutionary War Encampment – Hillside
The Rehoboth Minute Company: 13th Continental Regiment sets up a Revolutionary War camp on the school field. Grades 3, 4 and 5 tour the encampment, joining costumed revolutionary re-enactors as they live and teach history.
- Building a Strong Foundation for Literacy – Hillside
Author Leo Landry serves as author-in-residence for kindergarten students in this pilot program to provide an early foundation for literacy. The interactive relationship between a “real” author and the children enhances the literacy curriculum.
- One Meeting, Full of Friendship: Japanese Tea Ceremony – Hillside
Kate Finnegan, a teacher at the Kaji Aso Studios and Tea Ceremony practitioner, demonstrates the tea ceremony for 2nd graders. This cross-cultural experience supports the social studies curriculum and encourages connections with the coming season and friendship values.
- Read to Succeed Ignite What You Write – Mitchell
This initiative aims to shape positive reading and writing behaviors, bringing in authors that inspire students to develop a love of reading. Through interactive workshops, authors Suzy Becker, Suzanne Bloom and Mark Peter Hughes share their experiences as writers and give tips for approaching a blank page.
- Mosaic Mural Mania – Mitchell
An artist-in-residence works with K-5 students to design and create a mosaic mural to become a public art piece for the school community. The mural will be mounted on moveable boards that can be transferred to a new location when Mitchell is renovated in the next five years.
- Stand Up For Learning – Newman
Stand Up for Learning encourages an innovative classroom environment that allows students to work while standing. The grant funds 15 Stand Up Desks, ergonomic workstations where students have more freedom of movement and find it easier to stay focused on learning.
- Bill Harley Program and Concert – Newman and Broadmeadow
Grammy-award winning storyteller/songwriter Bill Harley comes to Newman and Broadmeadow for student assemblies and evening family concerts. Mr. Harley tells stories about the experience of childhood and emphasizes the importance of community and traditional values.
- Disability Awareness: Travis Roy – Newman, Mitchell and Broadmeadow
Motivational speaker Travis Roy kicks off the 2012-2013 Disability Awareness Programs at Newman, Mitchell and Broadmeadow. Mr. Roy’s message of setting positive goals and believing in oneself regardless of challenges, mirrors Disability Awareness themes. Mr. Roy’s speaking engagements at Hillside and Eliot Disability Awareness programs have been very successful.
- Needham Community Farm – Pollard Bridges Program – Pollard
The Needham Community Farm (NCF) collaborates with the Pollard Middle School to create a farm-based special education program for 7th and 8th graders participating in the Bridges Program. The students visit the farm for hands-on, social and emotional learning opportunities. This grant funds curriculum development.
- Community Week: Inclusion and (dis)Ability Awareness Nights – High Rock and Pollard
This grant funds the opening and closing events of the first ever Community Week, 5 nights of events to promote tolerance of differences within our community. The opening event is a screening a the Emmy-nominated film Including Samuel. Motivational speaker, Travis Roy, closes Community Week.
- The 5th Quarter – High School
5th Quarter provides a safe, substance-free place for Needham High School teens to socialize with friends after evening sporting events. The funding helps provide food and beverages at these social events.
- Fine and Performing Arts Critique Theater – High School
This grant provides self-healing tack boards to transform a hallway at the High School into a critique theater and presentation space. This art class resource helps students learn about methods of critique and problem solving using visual language. The public space also aids in educating the student body and faculty about the process of art making.