NEF Awards $5219 in the Second Round of School Grants

Thanks to the overwhelming support of the NEF Welcome Back Pinwheels campaign, NEF was able to run a 2nd mini-grant cycle in late October. The grants funding are as follows:

Don’t Forget to Play!
Julie Morancy – Melican

In such an uncertain and stressful time, we need to make sure our students are still finding time for PLAY and FUN.  The purpose of this grant is to purchase a variety of fun and interactive activities/games that can be used safely during the socially distanced school setting.  The best part is that most of these games can be used in a remote setting, so they can be played in-person  (for example, in a classroom or during lunchtimes when students are unable to socialize, in the winter when students are unable to go outside for Brain Break, etc) or remotely from students’ homes (during class, free time, or in an extracurricular “Game Night” setting).

Flying During the Pandemic
Crystal Coonan – Melican

This grant will provide ten drones and an accompanying field kit and curriculum for students to use in their STEM/Technology Engineering classes.  With these, students will be able to build upon their coding knowledge and skills and watch their abstract skills become tangible.  Students participating in hybrid learning will be able to design codes, test their work, and see physical results when flying their drones, while students who are participating in the Stand Alone Remote Program will be able to actively participate in coding activities and will join a class Zoom where they will observe their work being tested.  The drone activities will allow students to participate in the engineering design process from beginning to end and will be a tremendous asset for learning long after the pandemic.

Grade 5 Genius Science
Deb Donston-Miller & Kara Bayley – All Elementary

This grant provides an opportunity to bring more meaningful science experiences to fifth-grade students participating in the SARP in all elementary schools. Generation Genius is a teaching resource that brings science standards to life through fun and educational videos paired with lesson plans, activities, quizzes, reading material, and more. This online-native program will provide a rich STEM experience for students and can be used by teachers of both the Hybrid and Stand Alone Remote Programs to help them continue to develop students’ love for and curiosity about science, technology, and engineering.

Grade 5 Storyworks
Kara Bayley, Andi Daunais, Halle Coots – Peaslee

This subscription to Storyworks will give remote and hybrid learners high-quality reading materials to be used for reading groups or independently and can be accessed both digitally and in print. Fifth graders at Peaslee will now have access to even more rich text to use as they continue to grow their reading independence.

Multicultural Moments Matter
Erica Astrove & Alexandra Lento – Zeh

This grant will provide the opportunity to build Zeh’s multicultural libraries to ensure that all students are being included in our growing, diverse community.  Having multicultural books validates all students’ existence, reinforces that they matter, and brings positive and open conversations about race and culture to all students in our schools.

Phonemic Awareness for Remote Success
Lois Shaughnessy, Kelly Strout, Casey Jennings – Proctor

Prior to reading, students need to develop an understanding of sounds in isolation and be able to manipulate, rhyme, and sequence sounds.  This grant will help address the challenges of providing these critical pre-reading skills to students who are mostly or fully remote.  The Heggarty Phonemic Awareness program provides a multisensory approach to improve phonemic awareness, where students are taught to use gross motor movements to help them identify and sequence sounds. As an added bonus, it uses movement within the instruction, which is much needed for students who are sitting for most of the day on Zooms.

Remote Technology Resource for EL and FEL Students
Loni Sotir – All Elementary & Melican

This grant provides a one-year subscription to English Grammar 101, a versatile online instruction program used to engage English Learner (EL) and Former English Learner (FEL) students in a meaningful and interactive curriculum.  The goal of this program is not to learn grammar for grammar’s sake, but to become better communicators.  It has been used at the high school level to great success and will now be available for all EL and FEL students in the Northborough school system.

Sensational Tools
Jenilee Mullin – Lincoln

Because of hybrid/remote learning, there has been an increased need for digital resources that can be used during therapy sessions as well as hands-on learning tools that students can access safely both in school and at home.  This grant will provide a lifetime subscription to The Pink Oatmeal, an online pediatric therapist resource website that will enhance hybrid and remote learning opportunities for years to come. It offers school-based movement and brain breaks that can be shared with teachers and parents, motor planning activity ideas, yoga lessons, theme-based fine motor activities, as well as printable and digital materials to use during in-person and remote occupational therapy sessions. In addition, this grant will also provide sensory tools including noise-buffering headphones, chair bands, and fidget tools to accommodate varied needs within the classroom and home settings.

Student Art Display Initiative
Sean Bevan – ARHS

This grant will provide twelve frames that will be used to display student artwork in the E-corridor at Algonquin.  Currently, most of the art displayed throughout the building is permanently affixed and was created by students who have since graduated.  These twelve new frames will provide a space for current artwork to be displayed and routinely changed to showcase the talents and hard work of the current student population.

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