NEF Awards $31,415 in Spring Grants
- April 26, 2017
The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of 7 grants totaling $31,415 in the spring small grants cycle at the Needham School Committee meeting last night. The grants included one express grant and one multi-school grant benefitting all five elementary schools.
Awarded grants include:
• A multi-school grant to fund the purchase of Sphero SPRK Power Packs for each elementary school. These robotic balls utilize a visual block-based program and make learning the basic principles of programming approachable and fun.
• Funds for materials and technology that will enrich the curriculum of Engineering Design 101, a new course being offered at Needham High School.
• An author visit with non-fiction writer Jerry Pallotta, who will conduct presentations for students at Hillside to help increase excitement for non-fiction reading and writing.
• The purchase of 40 Wacom Intuos Drawing Tablets which will enable students at the High School to explore advanced digital illustration using the same tools that many professional digital artists currently use.
• A visit by Robin Pease, a Native American storyteller, who will educate Eliot students on Native American mythology and history through song, language, dance and games.
• An Express Grant that replicates grants provided to the Mitchell, Hillside, Eliot, and Newman Elementary Schools to provide more culturally diverse classroom libraries at Broadmeadow Elementary School.
• Funds to develop a curriculum at Mitchell which aims to empower fifth graders with the skills needed to practice everyday courage and resilience.
Kindergarten Math Backpacks
- March 29, 2017
In Spring 2016, NEF funded a $12,000 multi-school grant for math backpacks in every kindergarten classroom across all five elementary schools. With three backpacks per classroom, students take home math-related activities they can do with their families.
Elaine McKenna, grant writer and Hillside/Eliot math coach explains the program, “The kindergarten math backpacks are a great home school connection where the students are completing math activities, playing math games, and are introduced to math literature. The math concepts are aligned with Massachusetts State Frameworks but are introduced and practiced in a fun and engaging way.”
Backpacks contain a journal for students to record their experience with the backpack, which includes books, interactive games and manipulatives. Teachers report that their students are enthusiastic about the program, “The kids really enjoy using the math backpacks. They come to school excited to tell me that they played the games with their families.” And in the words of several students,
- “I learned how to count by tens.”
- “The books are my favorite!”
Blues Guitar Player Visits Needham High
- January 20, 2017
NEF was proud to award the “Blues in the Schools” grant to Needham High School to fund a visit from Toby Walker, 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.
NEF Awards Large Grant for Virtual Reality at High Rock
- January 17, 2017
Superintendent Gutekanst and Principal Downey visit a classroom exploring the Google Expedition kits.
On January 17, 2017, the School Committee voted to accept $9,999 in funding for Google Virtual Reality Expeditions Kits at High Rock School. The large grant follows a successful pilot last year and will fund the purchase of virtual reality equipment, including 30 student devices, 30 Mattel View-Masters, a teacher device and other supporting equipment. High Rock will use them for a wide variety of purposes, including virtual reality tours of historic sites, virtual trips to foreign countries for language immersion, and virtual tours of the galaxy in science classes.