The NEF funded two Sensory Pathways that were installed this month at Broadmeadow and they have already made a huge impact on the students and teachers, who were instantly mesmerized. These Sensory Pathways have given students opportunities to get their movement out.
The paths are located in the first-grade wing for the kindergarten, first and second graders to use, as well as on the ground level near the occupational therapy room. Each path is designed to change a child’s body position as he/she completes the course, focusing on academic visuals while moving the body in a specific order. By jumping, bouncing, bending, pushing, and breathing, students release their energy and sensory build-ups that impacts their ability to best utilize their brains.
Although teachers were initially worried about sending students to the paths independently, after a class lesson, they gave it a try. Teachers were pleasantly surprised at how responsible students were being when they asked to go on a sensory break. Broadmeadow families have enjoyed the videos shared by Principal Gaberman shared the videos in the school’s bulletin. Grant writer, Saundra Watson noted, “It has been amazing to see so many students reading the directions and following the movements and others following along by creating their own movements.”
Take a sneak peak at how Needham students are moving their bodies and putting the pathways to good use. Thank you to grant writer Saundra Watson for making this innovative grant come to life.
At its 2nd annual Grant Awards Reception held on Monday, May 20 at the John Eliot School, Joanna Herrera, Co-President of the Needham Education Foundation (NEF), announced that the NEF just reached a landmark $3 million given in support of the Needham Public Schools. The $3 million has funded over 715 grants written by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community members through the NEF’s grant program.
The NEF raises funds and awards grants to promote innovation and excellence in education for Needham public school students. It seeks out and supports programs that are beyond normal and expected public funding, including leading-edge projects in math and science, languages and the arts, emerging technologies, social development, and more. Community members may submit grant proposals throughout the year. The NEF also collaborates on a larger scale with the Needham Public Schools Department. For example, the foundation provided seed money for the Interdisciplinary Learning Initiative at Needham High School.
The NEF was founded in 1990 by a group of alumni from Needham High School who were celebrating their 50th class reunion. They parlayed a class gift of just $3,000 into a foundation that has now awarded more than $3 million in grant money.
“The Needham Education Foundation has been our partner in educational innovation and student learning. Not only does the NEF provide resources, they offer expertise, guidance, and perspective as they assist educators in the development of creative and exciting funding proposals. We are fortunate to live, learn, and work in a community with a partner like the NEF that values its children,” said Daniel Gutekanst, Superintendent of Needham Public Schools.
The Grant Awards Reception was attended by State Representative Denise Garlick, members of the Select Board and School Committee, and Bruce Johnstone–a founding member of the NEF. The event recognized the teachers, administrators, parents and one student who had received grants during the 2018-19 school year. The grants awarded included engineering backpacks for kindergartners, a documentary screening about the challenges of educating students with differences, professional development opportunities, Spanish-language and Latino-experience literature, robotics equipment, and much more.
On May 20, 2019, NEF held an awards reception to honor those who were awarded grants during the 2018-2019 school year. Held at the Eliot School,the ceremony featured remarks by Superintendent Dan Gutekanst and NEF co-presidents Kelly Partridge and Joanna Herrera. Each grant award recipient was provided with a certificate and thanked for their efforts in applying for a grant.
2018-2019 Grant Recipients Pose for A Photo
The Needham Education Foundation announced the recipients of 10 grants totaling $31,345 in its third and last grant cycle of the 2018-19 school year.
The NEF has funded 35 grants this school year for a sum of $127,890.
Elizabeth Lee, a parent at Hillside, was awarded a grant for engineering backpacks for kindergarteners that will include materials, books and instructions for students and parents to complete a critical thinking and building project. Thanks to a grant by first grade teacher Susan Audibert, 20 teachers will take part in an 8-week mindfulness course and then bring mindfulness techniques into their classrooms. Carol-Ann Hurley, literacy specialist, was awarded a grant to fund the creation of an innovative school-wide bookroom that will allow teachers to easily access individual, small group and whole-class texts by subject area.
Mitchell’s Media Center will undergo a redesign with a grant written by principal Greg Bayse. The new Media Center will house traditional and digital media, a STEAM learning center and spaces for collaborative student and adult work. Mitchell parent Liza d’Hemecourt received a grant to fund a screening of the documentary, “Far From the Tree,” which discusses the challenges of parenting and educating students with differences in areas including gender identity, physical ability, cognition, race and ethnicity.
Newman Assistant Principal Andrea Vargas received a grant to fund a Teaching Tolerance Workshop: Facilitating Difficult Conversations for a group of administrators, teachers and specialists, as well as copies of the book, “Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain” with a goal of deepening understanding of equity in education.
High Rock will have an expanded collection of Spanish-language and Latino-experience literature thanks to grant writer Elyssa Schneider, a Spanish teacher. Erin Mack, instructional technology teacher, received a grant to fund the purchase of robotics equipment so that teachers may determine which robot/coding would best work in their classrooms.
Sue Doherty, library media teacher at Pollard, received a grant to fund audiobooks to meet the needs of special education, general education and ELL students.
Needham High School history teacher Laura Magno received funding so she can attend the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Summer Institute and learn how to leverage their resources for the teaching of American history.
The next opportunity to apply for a grant through the NEF will be this coming fall.