2021 NEF Fall Newsletter

Recipients of the  Fall 2020 Small Grants (Round 2)

The Board of the Northampton Education Foundation approved funding for the following 2 grants, for a total of $3575 for the Fall 2020-2 cycle.

After cancelling the Small Grants to Teachers spring cycle in response to the abrupt move to online learning, NEF approached the fall 2020 cycle with a desire to make it easier for teachers to ask for what they need to make the 2020-21 school year creative and engaging. We moved to two rounds of fall grant applications, one in September and one in October. In addition to our usual grant criteria, we encouraged proposals that responded to our current moment, addressing equity in educational content and access, and racial and social justice, or responding to the current learning situation, whether online or social distance learning in the classroom, or a hybrid of the two.

Even during this period of remote learning, the Northampton Public School teachers and staff have created innovative programs to enhance learning and strengthen community connections. We reported the first round of grants last month and are proud to announce the second round today:

Critical Support to Preschool Remote Learning
All preschool students
Laura Frogameni, Rachel Matteis
This project will create weekly packets of materials for each preschooler household in NPS Virtual Preschool. Packets of art supplies, blocks, play figures, and paper dolls will give concrete materials essential to sensory based learning and ensure that all families have the materials their children need to learn and grow.

Walking Trail                                                                                               
Ryan Road School
Vanessa Keillor, Rebecca Minton
This project encourages and rewards walking by students, staff, and community members.  Building on the existing recess walking program, the current walking trail will be clearly marked for distance and include information on animal speeds, what’s seen from various points on the trail, and math equivalent lengths.

Grants approved in September 2020, announced last month

Empowering Youth: How to Be an Anti-Racist
Jackson Street School

Lindy Hop Classes
Northampton High School

Remote Concert Series
Northampton High School

The Viking Runestone
Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School

NEF Statement to our Community on Racial Justice and Equality

Dear Northampton Community,

In the wake of George Floyd’s horrific murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and the ensuing upheaval, we at the Northampton Education Foundation want to reach out to you, our beloved community, and make it abundantly clear that our support for racial justice and equality—and our condemnation of those who oppose them—has not and will not ever waver. 

George Floyd is only the most current and visible victim of the racism that stalks our country on a daily basis. Under the pressure of such knowledge, it’s difficult not to feel despair and helplessness. But education is one of the most effective ways to make a sustained and lasting difference in attitudes toward race in our community and in our nation. The content and quality of that education matters, as does the effort to make it accessible to students regardless of race or socioeconomic status. Our mission is to fund projects and programs that expand educational opportunities, foster creativity, and enhance academic experiences in Northampton’s public schools. This is why we have funded—and will continue to fund—teacher-led initiatives that help build a society that values all members. These have included projects promoting racial literacy at the elementary school level; outreach programs at Section 8 housing that include Lego robotics, math, art, and literacy; a program placing books addressing race and diversity in the district’s elementary school libraries; and curriculum for elementary and high school students designed around the history of Sojourner Truth and the Underground Railroad in Northampton. 

We are more committed than ever to partnering with the city and community of Northampton to provide a quality education to every child in our schools. We are also committed to furthering our own education and pledge to continue to listen and learn both as individuals and as an organization. Let 2020 be the year that we all commit—really commit—to a future in which everyone in the United States, of every color, can finally breathe free.

Message to our community

To our community,

In these extraordinary times of school closings and the shuttering of many community centers and businesses, our daily life has been upended. Families are confronted with the need to facilitate their children’s education and care for family members (including those most at risk from the Covid-19 virus) all while working from home. Some community members are enduring the extreme stress of no work at all.

Despite the ever-changing nature of life right now, The Northampton Education Foundation remains steadfast in its support of the needs of the Northampton Public Schools.

The NPS district has stepped up to ensure the security of staff pay and benefits as well as to meet the needs of our more vulnerable community members with daily food distributions. As the school district works to provide resources to families and explore options for distance learning, NEF is proactively reaching out to teachers and administrators to determine how we may support them in this crisis.

Our regular 2020 fundraisers have been canceled or postponed. We remain deeply grateful for the generosity of the community in our past fundraisers; it is that generosity that enables us to meet some of the immediate needs of our learning community today as well as plan for a time when students and staff can come together again.

All our best,
The NEF Board of Directors