Grants In Action

Hispanic Literacy Expansion

Students at High Rock have benefited from the expansion of Spanish-language and Latino-experience literature at the High Rock library. With funds from a Spring 2019 NEF grant, Spanish language learners can read authentic language materials targeted to their language level. In addition, the grant has provided grade level literature for native Spanish speakers.

Assistant Principal Maggie Charron commented, “Our goal for the Spanish program is to foster biliteracy,” and the literature collection afforded by this grant contributes to this goal. She continues to say, “Being biliterate can increase multicultural understanding, ….. and can increase a student’s ability to communicate with others.”

The Role of Women in History

Jen Deaderick, author and Equal Rights Amendment activist, came and spoke to high school students in February during the ‘NHS One Day’ workshops – focusing on the theme of community. Jen discussed the history of the women’s rights movement and its impact, as well as the community of women forged in the process. In addition, she read excerpts from her book, She the People, and answered questions from the students. Her appearance was made possible through a grant from the NEF.

NEF Funds 10 Winter Grants Totaling $34,296

At the Needham School Committee on Tuesday, the Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of 10 grants totaling $34,296 in the winter grant cycle. A large grant will allow 35 middle and high school teachers to participate in a three-day Project-Based Learning (PBL) workshop, where they will design a project to implement in their own classroom and learn skills and strategies to design and implement additional PBL activities in the future. PBL is at the forefront of educational methods that teaches many of the skills linked to the district’s recently-developed Portrait of a Needham Graduate competencies. 

Awarded grants also include:

  • Charles Coe, an African-American professional poet, author, and teacher, will spend a week helping 7th grade students use poetry as a lens for their own life experiences, and teaching them the importance of creative expression.
  • Mitchell students in grades 1 through 5 will benefit from visually-based math puzzles that support a deeper understanding of concepts for all students, including ELL and other high-needs learners. 
  • ImprovBoston will bring their program “Lessons of Improv: The 4 Cs (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking)” to Pollard, allowing 7th grade students to take the stage alongside the cast in an environment of supported risk-taking. 
  • To promote enhanced concentration through body stimulation, Balance Ball Chairs will be added to 7th and 8th grade Language-based special education classrooms. 
  • Master Lego Model Builder Ian Coffrey will introduce Kindergarten students at Broadmeadow to the basics of design, planning, and project management to create large structural towers using mobile Lego makerspace kits.
  • Logitech Crayons will be available to High Rock students as a tool for art and technology integration in all curriculum areas, expanding the ways they can learn and create, and providing accessibility to students who experience physical or sensory barriers to traditional art learning. 
  • Six creative calming stations with puzzles, project kits, and games will be installed throughout Broadmeadow for children needing a break from class due to stress or the need for self-regulation. The selected materials are creative, meditative, or cooperative, and will bring about a sense of accomplishment and self-efficacy when completed by a student.
  • One High Rock teacher, a member of the school’s Equity Steering Committee, will participate in Cornell’s four-course online Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program, which will provide training to support more inclusive practices to benefit both students and staff at the school.
  • An accessible three-wheeled bike will be available for students for whom a two-wheeled bike either is not safe or inaccessible in order to participate in the third grade “bike rodeo” at all five elementary schools.

Pedometers for Movement, Math, and More!

This Fall 2019 grant was awarded at Broadmeadow to incorporate pedometers into the school day for all 2nd graders. Students use the data from the pedometers for understanding math and distance concepts.

Exploring Robotics

Through a Spring 2019 NEF Grant, several robots were ordered for teachers and students at High Rock to explore in order to determine how they could fit into future curriculum. In the fall, a Robot Exploration Day was held for all staff at High Rock and technology specialists from across the district. Many ideas surfaced that day, including the integration of the robots into math, science, music, and social/emotional learning curriculum. Students were introduced to the robots in small groups.

After lots of exploration by teachers, administrators, and students, the Sphero Bolt and Root were determined to be most useful in the Middle School classroom. 

The Sphero Bolt is easily connected to the coding curriculum at High Rock and teachers noted that they can see it being used in the math curriculum (angles and graphing) and the science curriculum (waves, graphing, and sensing). The Sphero also comes with pre-made lessons connecting the Social Studies units on Egypt and Hieroglyphics to coding!

The Root is an all-around robot that works nicely with the coding curriculum, but can be used in other areas such as music, art, science, and even ELA. This robot offers 3 levels of coding, making it useful for both beginners and advanced users. 

The existing robots will continue to impact students in small groups and after school, and will be available to be checked out by technology specialists at other schools. At High Rock, they plan to recommend the district purchase a class set of the Sphero Bolt, and to begin integration of the robots into the curriculum starting in the fall.

Grant recipient Erin Mack noted, “Teachers were inspired to think outside of the box while exploring these robots and I can’t wait to see what they can do once a class set is purchased.” During the exploration day a teacher reflected, “I liked the fact that it could be controlled manually or by coding and could be used to create artwork.

Connect with Us!

Email Facebook Twitter Youtube Linked In