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 School.

• 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.