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NEF Announces It Has Donated Over $3 Million to Needham Public Schools

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 in a recent blog post. To view more of his blog post, click here.

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.

View coverage of the reception by the Needham Channel.

NEF Honors 2018-2019 Grant Recipients

On May 20, 2019, NEF held a 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 recipient was provided with a certificate and thanked for their efforts in applying for a grant. 

See coverage of the reception on the Needham Channel.

 

NEF Awards $31,345 in Spring Grants!

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.

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.

 

NEF Awards Eight Winter Grants Totaling $26,015

The Needham Education Foundation awarded eight grants totaling $26,015 in its winter grant cycle.

Planet Box – Pollard
Grant Writer: Elissa Strauss
Two small aquaponics systems.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Equipment – Pollard
Grant Writer: R. Samantha Martyn
Equipment and materials to enhance the 8th Grade Experiential Education course.

Pollard Low-Ropes Challenge Course – Pollard
Grant Writer: Michael Marcojohn
Funding to build an outdoor low-ropes challenge course at Pollard, to be used as a primary teaching space for the grade 7 experiential education classes.

Differentiated Learning Station – Pollard
Grant Writer: Steve Mock
Furniture and materials to create a learning center for students within a Social Studies classroom.

Sensory Pathways – Broadmeadow
Grant Writer: Saundra Watson
Two sensory paths for students to use throughout the school day when they need a movement break.

Author Visit: Gloria Respress-Churchwell – Hillside – $2,000
Grant Writer: Elizabeth Hitron
A visit from Newton author Gloria Respress-Churchwell, who has a new picture book coming out in the Fall of 2019 entitled Follow Chester!

Literacy Lounge – Eliot
Grant Writer: Margaret Berges
Furniture to create a home-like environment for students to receive literacy support and instruction in the literacy specialist’s office.

Sensory Toolkit – Eliot
Grant Writer: Jenn Scheck-Kahn
An assortment of therapy aids, which will be made available to students attending all after-school PTC activities. 

NEF Awards $67,553 in Fall Grants

The NEF awarded 16 grants totaling $67,553 in the fall grants cycle. Awarded grants include: an author visit from Gregory Katsoulis at Needham High School, ukuleles for Broadmeadow’s music department, professional development for nine teachers, and 82 Vox audio/print book combinations for Hillside. Other grants awarded:

  • A large grant to fund a library redesign project at Needham High School that will focus on collaborative space for group projects.
  • Funding for visually-based math puzzles and games for grades 3 through 5 at Broadmeadow.
  • A program to bring yoga and mindfulness tools and instruction to all current 5th graders at Mitchell.
  • A residency at Pollard and Needham High School for Sons of Serendip, a nationally recognized, crossover ensemble.
  • 34 WalkKit devices for 5th graders at the Eliot School, which will allow kids to listen to educational podcasts while taking walks.
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