NEF Funds Nine Fall Grants Totaling $29,479

Nov 16, 2022

At the Needham School Committee meeting on November 15th, the Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of nine grants totaling $29,479 in the fall grant cycle. 

Awarded grants include:

  • Adaptive music making tools, including various sizes of xylophones and hand drums, will ensure all Sunita Williams Elementary students can play an instrument and benefit from the music curriculum, regardless of physical or cognitive abilities.
    — Awarded to Abigail Grote, Sunita Williams Music Teacher, and Catherine Iatesta, Mitchell and High Rock Band Teacher
  • Grammy-nominated Black female jazz saxophonist, composer, and Berklee professor, Tia Fuller will work with jazz students from High Rock, Pollard, and Needham High School in a musician residency including how she overcame barriers in the field, along with rehearsals and a full performance open to the public.
    — Awarded to Spencer Parrish, NHS Band Director
  • Furniture to support the social-emotional needs of kindergarteners, including Quiet Space cubbies, egg chairs, bean bag chairs, and study carrels, will give Broadmeadow Elementary students a way to be “alone” in a safe space while still being part of whole-class learning time.
    — Awarded to Sarah McKnight, Rachel Lewis, Claudine Shaby, and Monica Staley, Broadmeadow Kindergarten Teachers
  • Needham High School students in the Digital Games History and Design course will be able to use Nintendo Switch game consoles, along with school-appropriate games, to work in groups and evaluate the mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics of the games’ design and to develop their own game levels – something not possible without more extensive coding knowledge.
    — Awarded to Joshua Yankell, NHS Technology Integration Specialist
  • Two communication boards will be installed at the Sunita Williams Elementary playgrounds allowing all students to communicate more easily with each other, identify games to play together, and communicate their wants and needs effectively, regardless of their language abilities.
    — Awarded to Erica Spiegel, Sunita Williams Special Education Liaison
  • Needham High School students in the Castle Scholars program will build community by working through physical and mental challenges at Level 99 with the goal of deepening the connections between students and staff and impacting students’ sense of belonging and engagement at NHS. The Castle Scholars program aims to increase the representation of Black, Latinx, and Multi-racial students in rigorous educational programming at NHS.
    — Awarded to Alison Coubrough-Argentieri, NHS Assistant Principal, Natalie Guthrie and Missy Barry, Castle Scholars Coordinators
  • A creative dance residency with Dance4All will allow Needham Preschool students at the Early Childhood Center at Newman to explore social emotional learning concepts through literacy, movement, and music using the book Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees.
    — Awarded to Daniel Cohen, Interim Preschool Director, and Valerie Maio, Dance4All
  • Individual and class sets of curated games will help support curriculum learning for students at Needham High School. While also fun, games provide a means to practice collaboration, strategy, and problem solving, and they can also reinforce curriculum concepts.
    — Awarded to Joshua Yankell, NHS Technology Integration Specialist, and Paige Rowse, NHS Teacher Librarian
  • Tools, such as games, legos, and fidgets, will help Pollard Middle School students on behavior intervention plans learn functional, adaptive behaviors by acting as reinforcers for appropriate behavior. Other sensory items can be used to address behavioral dysregulation so that students can more quickly return to class.
    — Awarded to Mary Ricci, Pollard BCBA