Fall 2016 Grants Awarded


NEF Small Grants to Teachers

Fall 2016

The Board of the Northampton Education Foundation approved funding of $25,650 to 10 applicants in the Small Grants to Teachers Program for the Fall 2016 cycle.

1. Folk Tales and Puppets   (Y1) $1500                       BSS

Brenda Lilly, Kate Galenski, Kristen Strong, Carol Ruyffelaert

The second and third graders at Bridge Street School will create multi-cultural hand made puppets to narrate a chosen folk tale theme that they will be studying in their classroom. Artist in residence, B. Z. Reily, will present a different type of puppet making project for each of the classes, including shadow, hand, paper mache, found objects, and clay puppets. Students will create stories and stages and perform their tales.

2. Dance: Who? What? Why? (Y1) $2500 ($2822)              BSS

Elizabeth Haymaker, Craig Murdock, Beth Choquette

Dance: What? Who? Why? is a three year project that will bring a dynamic musical, kinesthetic, and theatrical experience to Kindergarteners, First, graders and Second graders at Bridge Street School. The children will learn about dance in the past and present and about themselves through inquiry and direct experience. Year 1: Who?: Professional dancer Jonathan Riseling, will be artist in residence for the two second grade physical education classes. With the assistance of local percussionist Ellen Clegg, he will teach the children about modern dance in general and Alvin Ailey’s Revelations which “tells the story of African-American faith and tenacity from slavery to freedom through a suite of dances set to spirituals and blues music.” The second part, “What is Dance?” – an interactive performance by the Lisa Leizman Dance company, encourages students to ask about what dance is. Discussion of “Why we dance” will permeate the work.

3. Promoting Racial Literacy (Y1) $2000                        JSS

Gwen Agna, Kim Gerould, Tom Chang

JSS proposes to continue its ongoing work on race relations through continuing work with Andrea Ayvazian. Andrea will present a performance piece to the JSS staff/faculty at a 2-hour workshop that will include role-plays and talkback sessions. Following this workshop, up to 20 staff members will participate in a “Professional Learning Community” (PLC), facilitated by Andrea, using the text, “Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools – Differences That Make a Difference” by Howard C. Stevenson. We will use our own school professional development funds to supplement the NEF grant in paying staff to participate and meet for at least 4 one-hour, after-school sessions.

4.  Red-backed Salamander Study   (Y1) $2000          Leeds

Renee Bachman, Andrew Samuelson, Laura Ginsburg-Peltz

The third grades will work with Ted Watt, naturalist at the Hitchcock Center to learn about red-backed salamanders in the forests along the Mill River. Following an initial exploratory field trip, back in the classroom, students will research red-backed salamanders and then return to the forest to set up data transects and record numbers and locations. Data will be submitted to SPARCnet, a multi-state initiative of the United States Geologic Survey’s Northeast Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative

5.  Day of Service   (Y2) $3000                                         JFK

Leslie Wilson, Dinah Mack, Melissa Phelan

This project builds on the success of last year’s NEF-funded JFK Day of Service, a school-wide day of community service with the aim of strengthening community connections, promoting leadership and citizenship and building pride and self- confidence in our student body. This year is plan is to expand the original 3-hour service period and build on service opportunities developed in Year One.

6.  Peer Mentors   (Y1) $3000                                          NHS

Bryan Lombardi, Heather Berlin

This program will provide support for at-risk 9th grade students in their transition from middle school to high school and in the areas of academic, social, and emotional development during their high school years. Specific focus will be incoming 9th grade students identified from JFK guidance counselors as well as those enrolling from local charter or private schools or recently moved into the district. An older NHS junior or senior will serve as a mentor for a younger 9th grade.

7.  Summer Reading Success   (Y2) $2500                   RKFRR/Leeds

Mary Beth O’Connor, Rachel Ellis

The goal of this project is to provide struggling readers the chance to read over the summer by providing them with a steady stream of new and exciting books. Books will be sent to the students every few weeks so that they would always have something new and exciting to read. The students would also receive a letter from one of us about the book or author and a pre-stamped postcard with our address so that they could write back about the book if they wished.

8.  Youth Farm Field Trips   (Y2) $2500                     Elementary/JFK

Katharine Walmsley

During Spring 2017, Grow Food Northampton will provide at least 15 field trips, in the form of in-kind grants to schools, that will bring at least 600 Northampton elementary and middle school students to our community farm. Grow Food Northampton will provide bus transportation to and from the school, professional tour leaders, and (weather and timing permitting) produce harvested by students to take back to the classroom or donate to soup kitchens.

9.  Sojourner Truth’s Florence: A Walk Through History (Y2) $3000 Leeds/BSS/JSS/HS

Michele Subocz, Roxanne Nieman, Karen Hurd, Rey Harp

In Year 2 this project has expanded to seven teachers in four schools: three fifth grades from Leeds Elementary, three third grades from Bridge Street and Jackson Street schools, and one high school history class. The project covers the history and legacy of Sojourner Truth through a walking tour as well as reading materials about her life and work, the abolitionist movement, the Underground Railroad, and social activism in 19th century Florence. Students will be introduced to grade appropriate books and material about Sojourner Truth and 19th century abolitionists, and bring them on a field trip to walk through the history of Florence in this time period. Teachers will participate in a consultant-led workshop on abolitionism and develop a grade appropriate lesson plan.

10.  Improv Out  (Y1)           $3650                          JSS/Leeds/NHS

Molly Burnham, Heidi Haas, Lisa Papademetriou

Students and teachers will work with Molly Burnham, Lisa Papademetrio and Heidi Hass – JSS 5th grades; Leeds 3rd grades; NHS one 11th grade English – to explore three essential elements of writing – character, setting, and conflicts/problems through improvisation games and techniques. A workshop for teachers will explain and coach them in both the improve process and in using improv for writing.