Blues Guitar Player Visits Needham High
- Friday, 20 January 2017 02:38
Toby Walker, Master Blues Artist, teaching NHS students how to play blues style music
NEF was proud to award the “Blues in the Schools” grant to Needham High School to fund a visit from Toby Walker (pictured), a Master Blues Artist and member of the NY Blues Hall of Fame. He provided an engaging presentation to the African American Studies classes that follows the history of blues from slavery, emancipation, and beyond. He also shared his personal narrative of how he came to acquire his knowledge journeying through the south. He also worked with guitar classes to teach them how to play blues style music, including rhythms and picking techniques.
See the article that appeared in the Hometown Weekly.
“Own Your Peace” at NHS Sculptures Promote Community and Individual Well-Being
- Friday, 25 March 2016 16:56
Two senior art classes collaborated with art teacher Wendy Hodge and visiting artist Jodi Colella to design, build, and publicize two temporary school-wide art installations as part of the Own Your Peace-Piece initiative. This initiative was funded in Fall 2015 with an NEF small grant. Members of the school community were invited to write on colorful fabric pieces about how they “own their peace” and to tie what they wrote to two sculptures: “The Bridge,” which is located in the area connecting the old and new school buildings, and “The Cave,” which is located under a staircase and symbolizes the creation of a comfortable space of “protection and safety.”
This project taught students how to organize community art installations and connect them to the high school’s annual Speak Out assembly and the Own Your Peace sculpture outside of the school. As one student said, “This was a beautiful and fun way to share your voice and let it become part of something bigger.”
Check out coverage of this initiative in the Needham Times and Hometown Weekly.
“Authoring Inspiration” at NHS – Young Adult Author Nancy Werlin Inspires Students
- Wednesday, 24 February 2016 13:20
In February, young adult author Nancy Werlin visited Needham High School to conduct a series of workshops and speaking sessions with students. Nancy Werlin is a New York Times bestselling author whose young adult books cover a wide array of genres, including realistic fiction, suspense, fantasy, and comics. Her book, The Rules of Survival, is a National Book Award finalist. Locked Inside is an Edgar Award finalist, and The Killer’s Cousin is an Edgar Award winner.
According to NHS Librarian Paige Rowse, “About 175 students attended the events. Ms. Werlin spoke about a number of relevant topics and was able to connect with students. Students were engaged and eager to ask questions – we actually ran out of time during each session because so many students wanted to participate.” One NHS teacher said it was “a great opportunity to ask questions and gain insight and inspiration.” Students “liked how she talked about her whole experience, not just talking about books” and how “she gave great advice about deadlines and goals.”
The visit was funded by a grant from the NEF’s Fall 2015 Small Grants cycle.
See coverage of Ms. Werlin’s visit in the Hometown Weekly.
NEF Announces 2015-2016 Large Grant and Interdisciplinary Learning Funding
- Wednesday, 27 January 2016 12:43
Large Grant Award – STARLAB Coming to Needham
The NEF announced the award of a $15,000 large grant from its 2015-2016 Large Grants cycle at the School Committee meeting on January 26th. The grant supports the purchase of a Basic STARLAB Portable Planetarium System (with weather and solar system units) for use by the Needham Science Center. The STARLAB can be used in gyms and performance centers and can accommodate up to thirty students when inflated.
STARLAB is an exciting way to spark students’ interest in science and increase their scientific literacy. It can be used to make meaningful curriculum connections for students across all grades and can build students’ skills and content knowledge in a way that ensures that students not only “know” science concepts, but also can use their scientific knowledge to investigate the natural world.
More Interdisciplinary Learning at Needham High School
The School Committee accepted two NEF Interdisciplinary Learning Initiative (ILI) grants at its January 26th meeting, totaling $48,019. These grants will help to solidify the broad and lasting impact of the ILI Collaborative Initiative, the collaboration between NHS and the NEF that is most well-known for the creation of the Greater Boston Project, an interdisciplinary class at NHS. The Da Vinci Workshop and several smaller interdisciplinary projects have also been created through this collaboration, now in its fourth year.
The first new grant provides a third year of funding for the “Interdisciplinary Learning Fund.” This fund, administered by both NHS and NEF representatives, was created to support small interdisciplinary units of study. Thus far, six multi-year mini-grants have been awarded.
A new, part-time Interdisciplinary Learning (IL) Specialist position will be created with the funding from the second grant. The IL Specialist will serve as a resource for all of NHS, and will also provide interdisciplinary learning guidance throughout the district.
To date, more than 20 teachers and 550 students at NHS have been impacted by the NEF’s support of interdisciplinary learning initiatives. These new grants will extend that impact to the 2016-17 school year.