In the News

Interview with Co-Presidents

Sarah Winig and Kelly Partridge both joined the board of the Needham Education Foundation (NEF) three years ago and have since become co-presidents of the organization.

The NEF raises funds and awards grants to the public schools for programs and equipment that falls outside of public funding.

The NEF was founded in 1990 by Needham High alumni, who built a sustaining fund that helps the foundation today, though it still raises money each year. The grants have paid for all kinds of school programs, such as the DaVinci Engineering Lab, interdisciplinary projects and small grants to pay for authors or performers to come speak to the kids. Winig and Partridge sat down with The Needham Times to discuss the work they have done with the NEF. Read the full interview.

NEF Awards Over $30,000 in Grants to Needham Public Schools

Needham Education Foundation Awards $31,416 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
• 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
The NEF is an independent, community-based, not-for-profit
organization that raises funds for the enrichment of public school
children in Needham. Since 1990, the NEF has funded more than 645
grants, totaling over $2.75 million, to promote innovation and
excellence in education. To learn more about the Needham Education
Foundation and how you can support it, please visit
www.nefneedham.org.
For more information contact:
Gina Bliss, Communications
Needham Education Foundation
gbliss@nefneedham.org
781-433-0911

NEF Continues to Support Interdisciplinary Learning at NHS with Help from Staples Foundation

NEF Continues to Support Interdisciplinary Learning at NHS
with Help from Staples Foundation
March 29, 2017

In its fifth and final year of funding from NEF, the Interdisciplinary Learning Initiative (ILI) is a
collaboration between NEF and Needham High School (NHS) intended to launch an
interdisciplinary model of teaching and learning at NHS. The cornerstone of this collaboration
was the development and implementation of the Greater Boston Project (GBP), a two-block
interdisciplinary class that combines instruction in English, History, and Statistics. The
collaboration has also seeded many smaller units of interdisciplinary learning (IL) programming,
such as Kinetic Sculpture and Art in the Dark.
An important piece of the collaboration has been funding a part-time IL Specialist position at
NHS dedicated to overseeing and supporting current IL projects, seeding new IL opportunities,
and promoting IL at NHS, throughout the district, and in the community. On February 28, the
School Committee voted to accept $36,000 in funding from NEF to support the IL Specialist
position for a second year.
The NEF gift is made up in part by a grant of $500 awarded to the NEF by Staples Foundation,
the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc., through a program called 2 Million & Change. With a
recommendation from Staples associate Jodi Fletcher, NEF was awarded funding in support of
its Interdisciplinary Learning Initiative (ILI).
“We were very pleased to be recognized by Ms. Fletcher,” said Jennifer Quinn, NEF
Co-president, “and we are grateful for the support of all the Needham area businesses and
families, including Staples Foundation, that helped to make this very large, multi-year
collaboration with NHS possible. Funding the innovative IL Specialist position will ensure that the
impact of the ILI remains broad and lasting.”

Large Grant Awarded

Virtual Reality Coming to High Rock

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.

2016 Fall Grant Awards

Needham Education Foundation
Awards $40,718 in Fall Grants

November 16, 2016 – The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of 12 grants
totaling $40,718 in the fall small grants cycle at the Needham School Committee meeting last night.
Three of the awards are for multi-school grants that will provide funding for a musician residency for
middle and high school string students, reader’s theatre props chests for High Rock and Pollard, and
professional development for K-12 math teachers and school administrators with Dr. Adrian Mims. Dr.
Mims is the national director of the Calculus Project, and his focus will be on narrowing the
achievement gap for students of color.  
Awarded grants also include:
– A series of workshops with young adult author, Tara Sullivan. These workshops at NHS will
encourage students to be global citizens.
–  E-Reader Tools for English Language Literacy to provide powerful comprehension tools for
English language learners at Pollard.
–  Mindfulness equipment at NHS to formalize the mindfulness meditation practice that is part of
the health curriculum.
– A Project VOICE performance, using spoken word poetry, for 8th graders at Pollard.
– Virtual Reality equipment that will provide high school students with the opportunity to
experience and create their own virtual reality environments and videos in the classroom. As a
viewer, students can manipulate an object or experience an environment, like visiting Machu
Picchu.
– Pollard Challenge Course, an adventure education-based challenge course to create dynamic
opportunities for developing resilience in students.
– Differentiating Math at Broadmeadow, which will provide kits for fourth-grade teachers to use to
differentiate learning during small group and independent instruction.
– Two “express grants” benefiting Broadmeadow and Newman which replicate a successful grant
at Eliot for Kore wobble stools.

The NEF is an independent, community-based, not-for-profit organization that raises funds for the
enrichment of public school children in Needham. Since 1990, the NEF has funded more than 650
grants, totaling over $2.6 million, to promote innovation and excellence in education. To learn more
about the Needham Education Foundation and how you can support it, please visit
www.nefneedham.org.

For more information contact:
Tina McHugh, Communications
Needham Education Foundation
tmchugh@nefneedham.org
781-974-2048

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