Northborough Education Foundation

In Support of Our Schools

Northborough Education Foundation - In Support of Our Schools

2016 Grant ceremony awards $38,400 to schools

[portfolio_slideshow id=1310]

NEF awarded $38,400 in funds to 14 grant recipients during a special ceremony held at the Northborough Free Library on Sept. 13.

Superintendent of Schools Christine Johnson attended the ceremony, along with representatives from each school and the Northborough Free Library.

NEF President Marile Borden recognized the significance of the continued support of corporate sponsors, members of the community and schools, and the organization’s many volunteers who all help bring success to the fundraising events.

Last year’s fundraisers included the Golden Apple Appreciation Awards, Trivia Night, Mother/Daughter Princess Tea, Northborough Local First Ladies Night Out, and the Applefest Gala.

Proceeds from these events enabled NEF to fully or partially approve funding for the following grants:

Modeling the Imagination (Robert E. Melican Middle School): Students will be introduced to 3D printing. Funds will purchase twelve 3Doodlers printing pens, plastic strands necessary to build objects and various start up tools such as stands and nozzles. The 3Doodler is safe for classroom use, the eco-plastic is made from food-safe materials that are non-toxic, and the plastic is biodegradable. Students will gain a greater understanding of difficult, abstract ideas by creating a three-dimensional object.

Breakout Boxes (Robert E. Melican Middle School):  Students need to complete a series of puzzles to see what’s inside the box to earn their prize as they practice Spanish vocabulary and grammar, and they will have the opportunity to use their knowledge in hands-on, challenging situations in other classes.

Stand Up Desks (Fannie E. Proctor School):  Stand-up desks provide an alternative work space for students who learn better when they are allowed to stand  and  move while continuing to engage in the learning process and work with others, resulting in reduced distractions within the classroom.

Diverse Needs-Sensory Supports (Fannie E. Proctor School): The use of sensory tools will provide an innovative approach to learning to meet the needs of the school’s diverse learners.

Alternative Seating (Marguerite E. Peaslee School): By providing alternative seating options beyond the typical desk and chair, students have the opportunity to learn in an environment that works best for them and allows them to feel successful, happy and self-confident. Improving student engagement, developing self-regulation skills and enhancing learning are at the core of our educational system.

Community Reading Day (K-5, Robert E. Melican School): “Northborough Reads Together – Community Reading Day 2017” is a community-wide celebration of literacy. Students in preschool through Grade 8 will have the opportunity to hear high-quality children’s literature read by school, business, and community leaders. This inter-generational activity and the books selected will enhance the school curriculum and inspire students.

Northborough/Southborough Children’s Book Award (NSCBA) (Northborough Free Library, K-5 schools):  The NSCBA is a collaboration between teachers and librarians aimed at inspiring all third, fourth and fifth grade students to read great literature that supports and develops their individual literacy skills. Students read, discuss and enjoy at least three of twelve, librarian-approved titles and vote for their favorite.

Second Step (Fannie E. Proctor School): In a continued effort to support students in the area of social/emotional development, teachers of students in grades K-2, will have ready access to Second Step kits to allow for structured weekly lessons in the areas of perspective taking, empathy, conflict resolution, managing emotions, and problem solving. Competence in these skills can improve students’ readiness to learn, classroom behavior and academic performance. The program will also expand to third grade.

Imagination Playground (Marguerite E. Peaslee School): Oversized, blue foam blocks will be used as building blocks in the new Massachusetts Science, Technology, and Engineering Frameworks. Students will use these blocks as they develop 21st Century Skills both in the classroom during lessons as well as outside when engaging in creative play.

Piano Lab (Algonquin Regional High School):   Funds will purchase five electric pianos with stands and headphones, as well as five additional sets of headphones for existing electric pianos, to be used to start a Beginning Piano course. The course will be a great way for beginners to discover the joy of making music.

Digital Art Display (Algonquin Regional High School):  Student work created in Visual Art courses will have expanded opportunities to be exhibited in the school community. While not intended to replace physical, face-to-face exhibits of student work, Digital Art Displays will create a sustainable workflow for students and teachers to collaborate in sharing students’ creativity beyond the walls of the art classrooms, while reducing the time, cost, and environmental impact of physically printing digitally-native art.

Mobile Maker Spaces (Lincoln Street School, Marion E. Zeh School and Fannie E. Proctor School):  STEAM learning will offer students the opportunity to tinker, build, create, design, invent, solve problems and learn in a self-guided environment using both high-tech (robotics, electronics, and green screen) and low-tech (duct tape, corrugated cardboard, etc.) technology.

Winds of Change (Robert E. Melican Middle School):  Eighth grade students will be completing a cross-curricular project with the challenge “Design a wind turbine blade that generates the greatest amount of electricity at the lowest cost”. Students will explore and research the science, engineering, and mathematics behind wind turbines; use their research to design, test, and optimize their designs in a wind tunnel and analyze data; and focus on specific industry roles such as “design engineer”, “meteorologist”, “electrical engineer”, and “ecologist” to simulate what real world professionals would do to ready their design solution for the marketplace.

Writing Center (Algonquin Regional High School):  The school’s first student-run writing center will be a dedicated space for students to work one-on-one with knowledgeable peers on any piece of writing from across the curriculum at any stage of the writing process. Writing tutors will be able to accommodate the needs of all students. Ultimately, the writing center will centralize writing resources for the entire school and will promote cross-curricular conversation about writing, and further encourage collaboration as the chief method to promote individual growth and academic achievement.

2015 Funded Project: Osmo for Physics (Algonquin Regional High School)

(Photo was unavailable for this award. The grant was submitted by Algonquin Regional High School Physics Teacher Dan Welty and Principal Tom Mead.)

OSMO is an exciting new device for iPads that allow students to compete, create, and experiment with physics. Students can compete in teams with the WORDS app to creatively review physics concepts in words and pictures. Using MASTERPIECE any student can become an artist and create their own original artwork for use in class projects. The adventurous NEWTON app challenges students to apply their knowledge of Newton’s Laws and freefall in a fun and engaging way. NEF will fund the purchase of six Osmos.

2015 Funded Project: Northborough Reads Together: Community Reading Day 2016 (All Elementary Schools & Melican Middle School)

NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, NEF President Marile Borden, NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton, Melican Middle School Principal Michelle Karb, Peaslee School Principal Dr. Jill Barnhardt, Zeh School Principal Susan Whitten, Lincoln Street School Principal Jennifer Parson

NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, NEF President Marile Borden, NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton, Melican Middle School Principal Michelle Karb, Peaslee School Principal Dr. Jill Barnhardt, Zeh School Principal Susan Whitten, Lincoln Street School Principal Jennifer Parson

“Northborough Reads Together – Community Reading Day 2016” is a community-wide celebration of literacy. Students in Preschool through Grade 8 will have the opportunity to hear high-quality children’s literature read by school, business, and community leaders. This intergenerational activity and the books selected will enhance the school curriculum and inspire students for years to come. NEF funds will be used toward the purchase of books.

2015 Funded Project: A Toolbox for Every Classroom (All Elementary Schools)

NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, Proctor School Occupational Therapist Michelle Moody, Peaslee School Occupational Therapist Karen Brown, NEF President Marile Borden, NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton

NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, Proctor School Occupational Therapist Michelle Moody, Peaslee School Occupational Therapist Karen Brown, NEF President Marile Borden, NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton

“A Toolbox for Every Classroom” is a program that will give teachers updated physical tools and strategies to teach their students how to regulate their bodies to remain available for learning throughout the course of their school day. This project enhances every student’s ability to access the curriculum, by helping them maintain an optimal level of learning. The goal of the program is to teach students the importance of self regulation and taking breaks to maintain a healthy balance of wellness. Classroom teachers, instructional aides, occupational therapists, behavior specialists, and school psychologists will work together to instruct, model, and incorporate tools and strategies within whole group learning and individual times for needed breaks. NEF is funding comprehensive kits for each classroom.

2015 Funded Project: Read and Write for Google (Melican Middle School)

NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, NEF President Marile Borden, Melican Middle School Teacher Lisa Antoine, NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton

NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, NEF President Marile Borden, Melican Middle School Teacher Lisa Antoine, NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton

Read and Write for Google allows struggling students to access any curriculum and complete reading, writing, and research assignments as well as take tests independently. This extension appears as a toolbar on any Google document and allows students to have text read aloud. It also includes a comprehensive set of support tools for reading, writing, studying, research, and test-taking. Examples of the support tools include word prediction, speech to text, text to speech, picture dictionary, vocabulary list creator, and highlight collector. NEF’s investment will increase the reach of the District’s current investment from 10 to 150 students for the Pilot program.

2015 Funded Project: Perfect Pairings (Lincoln Street School)

NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, NEF President Marile Borden, Lincoln Street School teacher Linda Broderick, NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton

NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, NEF President Marile Borden, Lincoln Street School teacher Linda Broderick, NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton

This project focuses on one of the most critical reading skills presented in the Common Core State Standards—reading across multiple texts and media. As we prepare students for the demands of college and career they need to become adept at reading/viewing multiple sources while actively comparing, contrasting, and integrating these sources in meaningful ways. NEF will fund multiple copies of paired texts (fiction/fiction, fiction/non-fiction, non-fiction/nonfiction) along with DVDs that align with the topics or themes presented in the texts.

2015 Funded Project: Information at Our Fingertips (Peaslee School)

NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton, Peaslee School Librarian Nancy Kellner, NEF President Marile Borden, NEF VP Kirsten Forbush

NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton, Peaslee School Librarian Nancy Kellner, NEF President Marile Borden, NEF VP Kirsten Forbush

The library is a place where inquiry and discovery are encouraged. Children’s naturally curious minds are constantly wondering about the world around them. “What is the tallest building in the world?” When looking at a fisherman proudly holding up a fish in a picture book about the ocean, “Is that a piranha?” “How do you build a cardboard car?” Having iPads easily accessible will empower students to find their own answers, whether it be by using the online catalog to find a book or using one of our subscription databases and online encyclopedias. NEF will be funding three iPad Airs with covers, plus one iPad charging station.

2015 Funded Project: Getting Into Learning with Green Screens and Video (Melican Middle School)

NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton, NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, Melican Middle School Principal Michelle Karb (accepting for Jennifer Trombino), NEF President Marile Borden

NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton, NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, Melican Middle School Principal Michelle Karb (accepting for Jennifer Trombino), NEF President Marile Borden

Melican Middle School students will use Chromebooks and green screen technology to really “get into their learning” by taking video footage of themselves superimposed over real images. Using green screen technology to transform the learning process enables students to appear to be virtually anywhere in the universe. Projects could involve a student flying through the universe explaining the properties of stars and planet, or students standing inside of ancient ruins articulating the structural qualities and approaches used by their builders. NEF will be funding 10 Chromebooks for this project.

2015 Funded Project: Fluency with Chromebooks in the Foreign Language Classroom (Melican Middle School)

NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton, NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, Melican teachers Hillary Novitski and Elise Bradley, NEF President Marile Borden

NEF Treasurer Amy Staunton, NEF VP Kirsten Forbush, Melican teachers Hillary Novitski and Elise Bradley, NEF President Marile Borden

Computer technology can be used in the foreign language classroom to enhance language acquisition, support the content, and provide motivation and promote student engagement. Students will use the free website, Voki, to create talking avatars in our classrooms and practice speaking fluency in the target language. Students will additionally use the Chromebooks for practice on Quizlet.com, cultural webquests, and listening and video activities that supplement the curriculum. NEF will be funding five Chromebooks for the Foreign Language department.