The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of eight grants totaling $45,524 in the winter grants cycle at the Needham School Committee meeting tonight. The grants included two large grants, one express grant, three small grants, and two multi-school grants benefitting all five elementary schools.

  • Orienteering will be added to the K-5 curriculum at the Sunita Williams Elementary School. Orienteering offers students a stimulating outdoor learning experience. The aim is to pilot a long-lasting curriculum that can be shared with the other elementary schools with a minimal investment in equipment and training.
  • Students with autism and related developmental disabilities who attend the Early Learning Center at Sunita Williams School will take part in eight weeks of creative dance and music sessions with their classmates. Instructional, theme-based creative movement sessions will utilize a creative and kinesthetic approach that encourages and increases social and emotional growth.
  • Two sensory pathways at Pollard Middle School will offer a way for students to regulate when they have a sensory build-up, allowing them to better focus in the classroom. The pathways will be for the primary benefit of students in the Therapeutic Classroom, Intensive Learning Center, and/or receiving adaptive PE and occupational therapy sessions.
  • As part of the Needham Diversity and Discussion Book Club, Needham High School students can access print and digital copies of the book Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From to participate in a community-wide, moderated discussion with author Jennifer De Leon. The Book Club will be hosted by the Needham Diversity Initiative, Needham Human Rights Committee, and the Trustees of the Needham Public Library.
  • Under the guidance of a clinical psychologist, Needham High School students will create two age-appropriate interactive workshop videos on race, equity, and emotional wellness for the students at Sunita Williams Elementary School. The videos will be interactive in nature, promoting equity and positive change in our communities. The goal will be to pilot the program at Sunita Williams this year and roll out the videos to the rest of the elementary schools in the fall.
  • The Contemporary Literary Criticism digital collection will be a crucial resource for the success of literary research at Needham High School, particularly for 11th grade students completing the Junior Research Project and 10th grade students completing the Sophomore Oral Project. The digital access will provide hundreds of additional volumes and allow more students to engage with the content at the same time, either in school or remotely.
  • A Student Ambassador program will build community and provide support for students who are transitioning into Needham High School. Upper-level students will be trained as Student Ambassadors to facilitate community-building activities and support some of the social-emotional needs of students transitioning into NHS, including both 9th graders and new-to-Needham upper-level students.
  • Fifth graders from all elementary schools will spend time with authors Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies series) and Anna Meriano (Love Sugar Magic series), learning about their cultural influences and inspirations, the writing process, and what it takes to publish a novel. Each author will include a question and answer section at the end of their program.