In the News

You’ve Got Mail! Helps Prevent Summer Slide at Broadmeadow

 
 
Books received through the “You’ve Got Mail!” grant
 
 
Last spring NEF awarded a small grant entitled “You’ve Got Mail!” to Broadmeadow reading specialists Martha Heller-Winokur and Julia Reichheld, which enabled them to offer a targeted summer reading program to 47 rising 4th and 5th grade readers reading at or below grade level. The program, which had been piloted previously with rising 4th graders, aims to help struggling or “fragile” readers maintain progress they have made throughout the school year and grow in their understanding of and love for books. 
 
During the summer, each student received 6 self-selected books in the mail, completed a reader response postcard for each book, and met in peer groups with the reading specialists to share their thinking about their reading. About the expanded program, Heller-Winokur writes, 
 
“The students shared how much they enjoyed getting together with their friends to talk about what they had been reading rather than just reading a book and moving onto the next one. In addition, the postcards that we received revealed a high level of investment, thoughtfulness, and engagement!”
 
At the conclusion of the program, parents surveyed the program, students completed a self-assessment and teachers performed benchmark reading assessments to determine the impact of the program. One parent summarized her daughter’s experience,
 
“It provided the right mix of excitement and incentive – she loved receiving the books in the mail and meeting her friends in the library over the summer!”
 
The NEF funding allowed the reading specialists to expand their library of “just right” books and serve both rising 4th and 5th graders for the first time. Going forward Heller-Winokur and Reichheld hope to replicate the program in all 5 elementary schools.

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

NEF Awards $44,351 in Spring Grants

May 11, 2016 – The Needham Education Foundation announced the recipients of 10 grants totaling $44,351 in the spring small grants cycle at the Needham School Committee meeting last night.  These include four (4) multi-school grants benefiting all five elementary schools, the largest of which provides math backpacks for all Needham kindergarten classrooms to build early math literacy around Common Core standards and facilitate math-related activities at home.

Awarded grants also include:

  • An interdisciplinary workshop for African American and Guitar classes at Needham High School (NHS) about the history of Blues with visiting Master Blues artist Toby Walker.
  • The transformation of the current technology lab at High Rock into a Creation Lab that will allow for stop motion and animation creation, green screen videos, audio recording and book creation.
  • A three-film series and panel discussions focused on the future of education and designed to promote family and community dialogue around educational innovation.
  • Number sense challenge kits for all elementary schools which enable individualized math enrichment at all grade levels.
  • Twenty-five (25) Lightbox interactive multimedia learning modules for K-5 students in all elementary schools, including modules on Four Seasons, Continents, Earth’s Water, Forces of Nature and Rock Science.
  • A summer book mailer program, which builds on a successful pilot, intended to prevent “summer slide” among struggling 3rd and 4th grade readers at Broadmeadow.
  • “A Study of Courage” ELA/Social Studies unit for Mitchell 5th graders, in which students study inspirational people who have demonstrated resiliency and which includes a visit from two lost boys of the Sudan as well as service-learning projects.
  • A school-wide book reading program for Newman teachers, administrators, parents and students focused on developing strategies and classroom activities for cultivating grit, supporting resiliency and learning from failure.
  • An “express” grant, which replicates successful grants at Mitchell, Hillside and Eliot, to build more culturally diverse classroom libraries at Newman Elementary and Needham Preschool.

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 560 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

“Own Your Peace” at NHS Sculptures Promote Community and Individual Well-Being

Own Your Peace girls

 

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.

A Repeat Victory at the 25th Annual NEF Spelling Bee!

 

2016 Bee Winners with Sarah&Felicia (3)2016 Bee Elem Winners with Dan (2)

 

On Sunday, March 13th, the Needham community came together to test their spelling prowess at the 25th annual Needham Education Foundation Spelling Bee.  Over 40 teams participated, including elementary, middle and high school students, teachers, parents, members of Needham community organizations, and local business people. The afternoon kicked off with the return of the Elementary School Round. After some fierce competition, the Hillside Yellow Jackets, including Omri Sde-Or, Ariel Berk, and Larisa Badawi, won on the word “chauffeur.”

 

In the Championship Round, High Rock & Pollard Teachers Caitlin Harding, Anna Kuebler, and Maryellen Shea repeated last year’s victory after spelling “catarrh,” which means inflammation of a mucous membrane.  It was a fun-filled afternoon, with hundreds of spectators cheering on the spellers.  Attendees enjoyed answering trivia questions between rounds and competition was high for the great raffle prizes from area businesses. Celebrity pronouncers Superintendent Dan Gutekanst, WHDH-TV 7News reporter Kimberly Bookman, and Last Minute Productions partner Gary Gillis kept the event lively and fun.

Check out coverage of the event with photos in the Needham Times and in the Hometown Weekly.

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