The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of its 2013-2014 Large Grants. Three grants totaling over $40,000 were awarded. Two grants support iPad pilot programs at Newman and Hillside Elementary Schools. The third grant supports an interdisciplinary partnership between social studies and visual arts for 6th graders at High Rock School.

iPads for Learning

Newman Elementary School was awarded a $14,935.95 grant to provide 17 iPads (with cases, cart, and teacher’s iMac) to be used to enhance the literacy curriculum with connections to other curriculum when appropriate. The Media Center faculty plan to focus on digital storytelling applications to be piloted in at least one class per grade level in grades 1-5. The iPads will also be available to other classrooms. This grant will be overseen by Jennifer Murray (Media Specialist) and Mary Werlin (Instructional Technology Specialist) and is strongly supported by Newman Principal, Jessica Peterson, and Needham Technology Director, Deb Gammerman.

iPad Pilot Program at Hillside

This grant of $14,995.95 provides 17 iPads (with cases, cart, and teacher’s iMac) to further improve engagement, reading, written language, and math skills across all learning environments. The recipients plan to begin a phased approach to the iPads’ introduction to the school by focusing on English Language Learners (ELL) and Special Education students this spring. In September, they plan to expand the iPads’ use to grades K-2, and by the end of 2014/15 school year, they will include grades 3-5 and art and music classes.  Chanit List, Early Learning Center (ELC) teacher, and Jamie Singelais, ELL teacher, will be guiding the iPad use with support from Deb Gammerman, Needham Technology Director.

Deb Gammerman, Needham Technology Director, will gather and evaluate information about both of these pilots to assess how iPad technology can best be used in the Needham Elementary Schools.

Interdisciplinary Arts Integration Project

High Rock School was granted $11,775 to fund a pilot program adding an interdisciplinary learning component to the 6th grade.  The High Rock visual arts teacher will partner with the social studies faculty to co-teach interdisciplinary lessons designed to support both the Social Studies and Visual Arts curricula goals. The grant funds instruction, materials and planning. The pilot will be implemented in the 2014-15 school year in three clusters, with the remaining two clusters serving as a control group to determine the impact of the pilot on student growth and achievement.  It enjoys strong support from David Neves, Director Fine and Performing Arts, and the High Rock faculty.