In the News

NEF Awards $60,526 in Fall Grants

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

See coverage of the fall grant awards on the Needham Channel.

NEF Awards $69,230 in Spring 2015 Small Grants

The Needham Education Foundation has awarded 15 grants totaling $69,230 in its recent small grants cycle, with programs for student enrichment, parents, and teacher training. Spring 2015  grants include funding for:

  • A 5-lecture series for parents of elementary and middle school students with expert speakers addressing the “crazybusy” phenomenom, the importance of male role models, how to address  sensitive topics, and building the parent-teen relationship.
  • A five-week summer program at Needham High School for struggling and disadvantaged students to stay on track for an on-time graduation.
  • A week-long visit by Author Jarrett Krosoczka to Broadmeadow Elementary School that includes presentations and workshops for all grades, a professional development workshop for  teachers on “Reaching Reluctant Readers,” and an evening presentation for families.

NEF: 25 Years of Making Learning Come Alive

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the NEF hosted a weekend of events to commemorate this milestone. 

Pancake Breakfast

Many families, former NEF board members, and community members enjoyed a delicious pancake breakfast co-hosted by the Rotary Club of Needham. Kids enjoyed mini-spelling bees, balloon animals and face-painting, while adults enjoyed learning about the NEF through an historic timeline exhibit. Thanks to many corporate sponsors, there was fantastic food for all!

Da Vinci Workshop Reception

Co-President Martha Cohen Barrett, Superintendent Dan Gutekanst, and George Hoffmeister, son-in-law of NEF founder

The festivities continued at a reception celebrating the opening of the new Da Vinci Workshop at Needham High School – a space funded in part by a $50,000 gift from the NEF. This interdisciplinary learning space provides students and teachers a place to build and create. Town officials, community members, families, and current and former NEF Board members enjoyed a special 25th Anniversary video as well as demonstrations from NEF-funded programs such as Let’s Build Engineering and the High School Robotics teams. A special thanks to Superintendent Dan Gutekanst and Needham High School teacher Hans Batra for their opening remarks.

24th Annual Spelling Bee

The celebration concluded with a special Sunday edition of our Annual Spelling Bee. Over 50 teams competed in this annual community event, including (for the first time ever) teams from each of our five elementary schools! The High Rock & Pollard Teachers team came away with the victory.

Read Superintendent Gutekanst’s anniversary message to NEF!

Read coverage of the milestone in The Needham Times.

2014-2015 NEF Large Grant Awards Announced

The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of its 2014-2015 Large Grants at the School Committee meeting on January 20th. Two grants totaling over $25,000 were awarded. One grant supports a 1:1 iPad program in the Language Based Classroom at Eliot Elementary School. The second grant supports the ongoing interdisciplinary arts integration pilot by extending the partnership to 6th grade science classrooms at the High Rock School.

iPads for the Language Based Classroom at Eliot

This grant of $13,529.60 provides 12 iPads, a cart, and thirteen apps for 1:1 student use in the Language-Based Classroom (LBC) at Eliot. The students in the LBC are fourth and fifth graders from Needham who often struggle to access text-based curriculum due to learning disabilities in the areas of reading, writing, and spoken language. The use of iPads in the LBC will provide students with the means to reach their individual and collective goals across the curriculum. The iPads will also help to foster greater independence and creativity. This grant was submitted by Kimberly Hoffman and Bonnie Nguyen (Special Education Liaison and Speech-Language Pathologist).

Interdisciplinary Arts Integration Project at High Rock

This grant of $12,010 extends the large grant interdisciplinary arts project currently being implemented at the High Rock School with Social Studies and Visual Arts. This extended pilot is designed to explore the impact of an interdisciplinary partnership between sixth grade Science and Visual Arts teachers. The funds will be used for materials and additional planning and instructional time for the existing Visual Arts teacher to co-teach certain lessons in the Science classes. For example, students will work to create a collagraph plate and print that represents the atomic structure and attributes of an element from the periodic table. The pilot will be implemented in the 2015/16 school year and will impact all clusters. This grant was submitted by David Neves (Director, Fine and Performing Arts).

Greater Boston Project Offers Alternative to Seniors at NHS

Needham High School will once again offer the Greater Boston Project course for seniors. The GBP is a full-year, accelerated-level course worth eight credits (4 English, 2 social studies, 2 mathematics). This interdisciplinary class, entering its third year, has drawn praise for instilling the critical thinking and communication skills expected by top colleges.

Students and parents can learn more about the class on January 29th at a daytime event for students and an Interdisciplinary Learning Night for parents. All interdisciplinary classes offered at NHS will be presented (including others supported by NEF grants). To learn more, visit the Greater Boston Project’s website.

The Greater Boston Project class was created as a Collaborative Initiative between the NEF and the Needham Public Schools and has been funded through the generosity of NEF supporters.

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