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NEF Announces Pilot of Multischool Grants and Express Grants

Multi-School Grants

The purpose of the multi-school grant is to facilitate grant proposal cooperation between and among Needham public schools (particularly elementary schools) and to ensure that the $5,000 small grant award limit does not create an impediment to that cooperation.

For example, a terrific cultural arts program that is planned for one school may be welcome at other schools, too, and there may also be quality, efficiency and cost savings associated with coordinating the same program at multiple schools over leaving each school to individually plan and carry out its own cultural arts program.

The procedures for the multi-school grant pilot will be the same as for regular grants. A single grant proposal will be submitted, signed off by each principal. Following the grant period, each school will submit its own grant reflection. Rather than being constrained by the $5,000 small grant limit, each school involved in the multi-school grant will be eligible for a grant of up to $3,000 (so, four schools could apply and receive a total grant of $12,000 maximum).

Express Grants

The purpose of the express grant pilot is to expand, at the elementary level, successfully implemented grants from one school to another. For instance, if the NEF funds a visiting author-in-residence program at Hillside Elementary School, the grant application will be streamlined for those interested in bringing the same experience to Mitchell Elementary School. With a condensed express application, our aim is to encourage each school to experience innovative programs that meet their particular needs. Express grants will be incorporated into the regular small grant cycle, with the same $5000 limit and principal sign-off requirement. Applicants will be asked to provide feedback from the initial NEF-funded grant.

NEF Awards Nearly $36,000 in Spring Grants

Students in Needham schools will benefit from 12 grants worth nearly $36,000 in the spring cycle of grants awarded by the Needham Education Foundation.  Many of this season’s grants are notable for teaching academic concepts through hands-on activities and performances.

The Needham Education Foundation funds programs that fall outside normal school funding and promote innovation and excellence for students. Spring grants, announced at the Needham School Committee meeting on April 23, include funding for:

  • The “Amazing Nano Brothers,” who will use juggling to teach complex science concepts, including atomic structures, in performances at all elementary schools.
  • The Hillside Family Engineering Extravaganza, with engineering activities for students and families, helped by Olin College students and the NHS girls’ robotics team.
  • A 3-D printer, to enable robotics students to design a part, “print it,” and then use the physical item.  The printer will be used initially by the Needham High School robotics club and then integrated into the school’s new robotics class.
  • A one-woman performance by an actor playing Helen Keller, followed by an in-character Q& A with students, to kick off Disability Awareness programs at each elementary school.

NEF Announces Recipients of 2012-2013 Large Grant Awards

The Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of its 2012-2013 large grants cycle at a recent meeting of the Needham School Committee. Two grants totaling over $20,000 were awarded to Needham High School initiatives. One supports the Needham Public School district goal to expand STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) offerings at Needham High School. The other addresses a commitment at the high school to nurture social/emotional wellness among Needham teens.

NHS Robotics Course
This grant of $13,250 funds the materials required to launch a new robotics class at Needham High School. An elective course proposed by Needham High School math teacher and robotics coach Hans Batra, the semester-long class will be offered twice a year. It enjoys strong support from Needham High School administration and faculty including Principal, Dr. Jonathan Pizzi, Science Department Chair, Bob Lockhart and Director of Technology, Deb Gammerman. 

Own Your Peace Sculpture
The “Own Your Peace” sculpture proposed for display on the Needham High School campus will be a bold and permanent reminder of the community’s commitment to support each other’s well being. The $8,250 NEF grant is one component of the $180,000 project to design, create and install this compelling work by local artist, Ted Clausen. It funds Clausen’s time instructing students as they interview community members for text to be incorporated into the art—which will highlight inspiring thoughts on wellness, resilience and challenge. During the process, Clausen will teach students valuable skills in interviewing and historical research, as well as editing.

Historic Ties to NEF Inspire Gift of $10,000

Douglas and Shirley Byers traveled from Nova Scotia, Canada on October 4 to give the NEF a $10,000 gift bequeathed by their cousin, Margaret Forrant. They are shown at High Rock School with NEF co-president, Leslie Tillotson.

On October 4, Leslie Tillotson, NEF co-president, was personally handed a gift of $10,000 from the estate of a woman with special ties to the NEF. The late Margaret Forrant was a 1939 Needham High School graduate who with her classmates, Ralph and Barbara Leader, helped found the NEF with a 50th class reunion gift of $3,000. Mrs. Forrant willed the gift to the NEF in honor of her 6th grade teacher at Emily Grover School, Gladys Howarth Mayo.

Mrs. Forrant’s cousins, Douglas and Shirley Byers of Nova Scotia, traveled to Needham from Nova Scotia to hand-deliver the $10,000 gift. While visiting with Leslie and Kathy DeMayo, NEF administrative director, the Byers told how Mrs. Forrant was deeply inspired by Mrs. Mayo. Mrs. Forrant followed in her teacher’s footsteps, teaching art in New York after graduating college from Boston University. Later, Mrs. Forrant earned a masters degree in social work and was a counselor for many years at Boston Family Services.

During the Byers’ visit, the couple toured High Rock School with principal, Jessica Downey and two 6th grade students. Leslie and Kathy joined the Byers, talking with them about Margaret, our grant programs and the NEF’s impact on Needham education over the years.

NEF Announces Autumn Grant Awards of Nearly $45,000

The Needham Education Foundation has awarded 20 grants totaling nearly $45,000 in its autumn small grants cycle. Needham students will learn from visiting authors and dancers in residence, historical reenactments, a program pairing high school students with senior citizens, and even a course in cryogenics. These are among the programs that will receive support, reaching across all Needham public schools and all grade levels.

The Needham Education Foundation funds programs that fall outside normal school funding and promote innovation and excellence for students. Autumn grants, announced at the Needham School Committee meeting on Nov. 20, include funding for:

  • A Jazz quartet to introduce students at all five elementary schools to various styles of jazz and complement the music curriculum.
  • The Boston Museum of Science’s “Cryogenics:  Heat and Temperature” live demonstration for 8th graders at Pollard Middle School, including experiments that cannot easily be conducted in a typical classroom.
  • Seed money for a new “Farm to School” at Needham High School that was organized in response to student interest in local and organic farming, composting, and sustainable food practices.
  • Android tablets for a high school computer programming class to enable students to design and test apps.
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