“Own Your Peace” at NHS Sculptures Promote Community and Individual Well-Being
- Friday, 25 March 2016 16:56
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!
- Monday, 14 March 2016 13:08
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.
“Authoring Inspiration” at NHS – Young Adult Author Nancy Werlin Inspires Students
- Wednesday, 24 February 2016 13:20
In February, young adult author Nancy Werlin visited Needham High School to conduct a series of workshops and speaking sessions with students. Nancy Werlin is a New York Times bestselling author whose young adult books cover a wide array of genres, including realistic fiction, suspense, fantasy, and comics. Her book, The Rules of Survival, is a National Book Award finalist. Locked Inside is an Edgar Award finalist, and The Killer’s Cousin is an Edgar Award winner.
According to NHS Librarian Paige Rowse, “About 175 students attended the events. Ms. Werlin spoke about a number of relevant topics and was able to connect with students. Students were engaged and eager to ask questions – we actually ran out of time during each session because so many students wanted to participate.” One NHS teacher said it was “a great opportunity to ask questions and gain insight and inspiration.” Students “liked how she talked about her whole experience, not just talking about books” and how “she gave great advice about deadlines and goals.”
The visit was funded by a grant from the NEF’s Fall 2015 Small Grants cycle.
See coverage of Ms. Werlin’s visit in the Hometown Weekly.
NEF Announces 2015-2016 Large Grant and Interdisciplinary Learning Funding
- Wednesday, 27 January 2016 12:43
Large Grant Award – STARLAB Coming to Needham
The NEF announced the award of a $15,000 large grant from its 2015-2016 Large Grants cycle at the School Committee meeting on January 26th. The grant supports the purchase of a Basic STARLAB Portable Planetarium System (with weather and solar system units) for use by the Needham Science Center. The STARLAB can be used in gyms and performance centers and can accommodate up to thirty students when inflated.
STARLAB is an exciting way to spark students’ interest in science and increase their scientific literacy. It can be used to make meaningful curriculum connections for students across all grades and can build students’ skills and content knowledge in a way that ensures that students not only “know” science concepts, but also can use their scientific knowledge to investigate the natural world.
More Interdisciplinary Learning at Needham High School
The School Committee accepted two NEF Interdisciplinary Learning Initiative (ILI) grants at its January 26th meeting, totaling $48,019. These grants will help to solidify the broad and lasting impact of the ILI Collaborative Initiative, the collaboration between NHS and the NEF that is most well-known for the creation of the Greater Boston Project, an interdisciplinary class at NHS. The Da Vinci Workshop and several smaller interdisciplinary projects have also been created through this collaboration, now in its fourth year.
The first new grant provides a third year of funding for the “Interdisciplinary Learning Fund.” This fund, administered by both NHS and NEF representatives, was created to support small interdisciplinary units of study. Thus far, six multi-year mini-grants have been awarded.
A new, part-time Interdisciplinary Learning (IL) Specialist position will be created with the funding from the second grant. The IL Specialist will serve as a resource for all of NHS, and will also provide interdisciplinary learning guidance throughout the district.
To date, more than 20 teachers and 550 students at NHS have been impacted by the NEF’s support of interdisciplinary learning initiatives. These new grants will extend that impact to the 2016-17 school year.
NEF Awards Over $60,000 in Fall Grants
- Monday, 23 November 2015 19:45
Needham Education Foundation Awards $60,526 in Fall Grants
November 18, 2015 – The Needham Education Foundation announced the recipients of 16 grants totaling $60,526 in the fall small grants cycle at the Needham School Committee meeting last night. These include one multi-school grant that will provide professional development with Irene Fountas to all K-8 Needham Principals and key district administrators in an effort to boost overall literacy efforts and to develop a common vision of literacy education in Needham’s schools.
Awarded grants also include:
- A collaborative fiber art project for Needham High School (NHS) students to work with a visiting artist coinciding with Own Your Peace week
- Magnet kits, which will allow Mitchell students to expand their understanding of engineering and magnets in a culminating student-led engineering challenge
- Six “express” grants that build on the success of grants funded at other schools including: international flags at Mitchell, yoga workshops at Broadmeadow, stand-up desks at High Rock and Pollard, a school garden at Newman, and a Weather Day at Blue Hills Observatory for Mitchell.
- An augmented reality sand box for Pollard students to simulate topographic maps in real time
- A musical residency program for NHS students with Asylum Saxophone Quartet
- Three performances at Eliot designed to expand the school’s cultural proficiency through Brazilian drumming, Chinese culture and Mandarin, and African/Caribbean folktales
- Rear projection theatre scenery technology allowing High Rock, Pollard and NHS students to create their own scenery for school productions
- Writing workshops for NHS students with a local young adult author
- Scientific sensor equipment for Pollard engineering students to investigate renewable energy technologies
- Artist-in-residency workshops for all Mitchell students to use everyday objects to produce unique collages
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 530 grants, totaling over $2.4 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.
Fall Grant Awards 2015 Press Release