In the News

Needham Education Foundation Awards $46,660 in Spring Grants

The Needham Education Foundation has awarded Spring Grants for ten innovative programs, including a speaker series for parents on the theme of fostering resiliency in children. Three of the grants fund innovative teacher training programs. In all, grants worth $46,660 for the Spring grant cycle were announced at the Needham School Committee meeting on April 29. They include three grants for teacher training to introduce new curriculum and concepts and a lecture series for parents.

Spring grants include funding for:

  • Bullying prevention workshop for Newman staff.
  • Teaching training for Mitchell 4th and 5th grade teachers and the school’s literary specialist at the Teachers’ College Readers & Writers Project Summer Institute at Columbia University this summer.
  • Development of a new Holocaust Unit to be taught to 8th graders and paying for training via “Facing History and Ourselves” to focus on understanding the historical roots of the Holocaust and grappling with ethical and moral questions pertaining to the roots of hatred and oppression.
  • A parent lecture series on Fostering Resilience and Social-Emotional Wellness in Needham’s Elementary School-Age Children, with separate speakers scheduled throughout the year.

NEF Announces Recipients of 2013-2014 Large Grant Awards

The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of its 2013-2014 Large Grants. Three grants totaling over $40,000 were awarded. Two grants support iPad pilot programs at Newman and Hillside Elementary Schools. The third grant supports an interdisciplinary partnership between social studies and visual arts for 6th graders at High Rock School.

iPads for Learning

Newman Elementary School was awarded a $14,935.95 grant to provide 17 iPads (with cases, cart, and teacher’s iMac) to be used to enhance the literacy curriculum with connections to other curriculum when appropriate. The Media Center faculty plan to focus on digital storytelling applications to be piloted in at least one class per grade level in grades 1-5. The iPads will also be available to other classrooms. This grant will be overseen by Jennifer Murray (Media Specialist) and Mary Werlin (Instructional Technology Specialist) and is strongly supported by Newman Principal, Jessica Peterson, and Needham Technology Director, Deb Gammerman.

iPad Pilot Program at Hillside

This grant of $14,995.95 provides 17 iPads (with cases, cart, and teacher’s iMac) to further improve engagement, reading, written language, and math skills across all learning environments. The recipients plan to begin a phased approach to the iPads’ introduction to the school by focusing on English Language Learners (ELL) and Special Education students this spring. In September, they plan to expand the iPads’ use to grades K-2, and by the end of 2014/15 school year, they will include grades 3-5 and art and music classes.  Chanit List, Early Learning Center (ELC) teacher, and Jamie Singelais, ELL teacher, will be guiding the iPad use with support from Deb Gammerman, Needham Technology Director.

Deb Gammerman, Needham Technology Director, will gather and evaluate information about both of these pilots to assess how iPad technology can best be used in the Needham Elementary Schools.

Interdisciplinary Arts Integration Project

High Rock School was granted $11,775 to fund a pilot program adding an interdisciplinary learning component to the 6th grade.  The High Rock visual arts teacher will partner with the social studies faculty to co-teach interdisciplinary lessons designed to support both the Social Studies and Visual Arts curricula goals. The grant funds instruction, materials and planning. The pilot will be implemented in the 2014-15 school year in three clusters, with the remaining two clusters serving as a control group to determine the impact of the pilot on student growth and achievement.  It enjoys strong support from David Neves, Director Fine and Performing Arts, and the High Rock faculty.

Fall 2013 Small Grants Announced

We’re pleased to announce that the NEF awarded over $60,000 in funding to 21 grant applicants this fall. Through these grants, Needham students are learning from visiting authors and dancers in residence, a program to teach high school students to create stained glass pieces, and even a week-long residency with an urban planner.

History Repeats Itself – Thanks to NHS Class of ‘63!

Representatives of the Needham High School Class of 1963 Reunion Committee present a check for $3,063 to the Needham Education Foundation. From left to right: Leslie Tillotson, Co-President, NEF; Bob Papetti; Jane Smalley, Co-President, NEF; Marty Remsen; Christine Hoffmeister; Tom Hallliday; and George Hoffmeister.

Members of the Needham High class of 1963 celebrated their 50th reunion with a donation of $3,063 to the Needham Education Foundation. The NEF was founded by members of the class of 1939 who established the NEF with $3000 from their 50th reunion fund. Following in their footsteps, the class of 1963 collected $3,000 and added an additional $63 to signify the class of ’63. The effort was spearheaded by Christine Hoffmeister, daughter of Ralph Leader who founded NEF.

Needham Education Foundation Awards Second Year of Funding for Innovative Interdisciplinary Class at Needham High School

The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) has awarded a grant of $115,275 to fund an innovative interdisciplinary course for a second year at Needham High School and to continue developing additional interdisciplinary initiatives and coursework.

With this funding, next year’s high school seniors will be able to enroll in the Greater Boston Project.  This course incorporates English, social studies, and math as students study specific turning points in the city’s history. This interdisciplinary approach is regarded as essential for 21 st century education.

“I thank the NEF for taking a chance on this innovative collaboration and the teachers and principal of Needham High School for taking this opportunity and making something of it,” said Needham Public School Superintendent Daniel Gutekanst. “Already the students are saying, ‘This is a different kind of school experience than I’ve had before.’ It’s the kind of powerful  collaboration that we should explore more.”

Currently, 50 high school seniors are enrolled in the year-long Greater Boston Project, a first-time course at Needham High School. Students in the course make connections between academic disciplines and develop problem-solving skills that are needed in higher education and beyond. Last year’s NEF grant of $111,500 to the school district launched the Greater Boston Project, which was developed collaboratively by NEF, district leaders, and the three high school faculty members who teach the course.

Included in this year’s grant, which was accepted by the School Committee on October 16, is up to $20,000 to seed additional interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students.

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