NEF Funds Nine Fall Grants Totaling $30,501

Nov 22, 2023

At the Needham School Committee meeting on November 21st, the Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of nine grants totaling $30,501 in the fall grant cycle.

Awarded grants include:

A songwriting residency with singer/songwriter Alistair Moock to work with all 5th grade students to create a unique school song at each of the five elementary schools. Students will learn foundational concepts for songwriting, and then collaborate with Alistair and their peers in classroom sessions to build a song based on the unique qualities and characteristics of their school.
— Awarded to Valerie Maio, Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts and LeeAnn Sutton, K-12 Director of Fine and Performing Arts

Alternative activities for recess for students in grades 1-5 at Broadmeadow Elementary School. The activities include large yard games such as Jenga, chess, and Connect 4, Legos, and various card games, as well as storage containers and a picnic table to provide a surface where groups can play the games. These games will provide different opportunities for engaging with other students during unstructured time.
— Awarded to Chanit List, Assistant Principal, Riley Chan, 5th grade student, Henry Blackshaw, 5th grade student

A library of File Folder Games to be piloted for all students in grades K-5 at Eliot Elementary School. Each folder contains a complete game for students to work independently on developing and reinforcing various skills across all content areas, including ELA, math, coding, STEAM, and Spanish. The games help a wide variety of learners who need extra challenges or practice, repetition for mastery, or hands-on tasks.
— Awarded to Shauna Jean, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

The purchase of 120 books to create a trivia-style reading competition for students in grades 3-5 at Mitchell Elementary School. Students will read ten books on various topics and genres and work as teams to answer a series of questions based on the books. The competition will also develop comprehension skills, enhance memory retention skills, improve information recall, and cultivate social skills through collaboration.
— Awarded to Jennifer Guardino, Librarian

A creative dance residency for Kindergarten students at Sunita Williams Elementary School to explore social emotional learning concepts through literacy, movement, and music. Students will have the opportunity to explore social emotional learning themes in the book Giraffes Can’t Dance, and express themselves through movement, leading to a better understanding of themselves and the world around them.
— Awarded to Geoffrey Watts, Kindergarten teacher and Valerie Maio, Dance4All Teaching Artist

The purchase of eclipse viewers and equipment for students and science teachers at High Rock Middle School to experience the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Students will learn about solar eclipses, create personalized pinhole projectors, and receive solar eclipse viewers to generate excitement and encourage participation in safely viewing the partial eclipse which will occur after school, with approximately 93% of the sun obscured by the moon in Needham.
— Awarded to Tamara Hosford Keough and Steve Miller, 6th grade science teachers

The purchase of 200 headphones with integrated microphones for the world language classrooms at Pollard Middle School. Students will use the headphones with their iPads to listen to tiered authentic recordings in the target language, cultivate their listening comprehension skills, practice speaking in the target language, receive personalized proficiency-based feedback, and set goals for continued growth.
— Awarded to Elizabeth Zajac, K-12 Director of World Languages and Chris Gosselin, K-12 Director of Media and Digital Learning

Monthly community outings for all grade 6-8 students in the Inclusive Learning Center Program at Pollard Middle School. The ILC Program is a specialized classroom that serves students with severe disabilities. The community outings will allow the students to practice their community safety skills, self-help skills, activities of daily living, and functional academics in a real-world environment.
— Awarded to Kate Martin, Special Education Liaison

A workshop with Cuerd@s, an organization that provides embroidered clothing to support mental health, for students in the Connections program at Needham High School. Connections is a therapeutic program developed to meet the needs of students with emotional disabilities. The tactile nature of the embroidery serves as a built-in de-escalation technique to help remind the wearer that they are safe, loved, and valued. The workshop will provide students the chance to embroider clothing to donate to a local mental health organization and to embroider a sweatshirt for themselves.
— Awarded to Katherine McMahon, Special Education teacher