Endowment Fund Programs Funded By The Endowment

NEF Endowment Distribution Awards

The NEF Endowment was established to assist the Northampton Public Schools by providing funding for larger programs that cover more than one year, serve greater numbers of students, and require more than $3,000 which is the maximum award for the organization’s Small Grants to Teachers program. These awards include funding from the Endowment’s two named funds, The Florence Savings Bank’s Fund for Public Education and Northampton Area Pediatrics’ Education Fund.

About the Endowment

The NEF Endowment Fund provides a permanent source of funding for the educational needs of Northampton public schools in all areas of school curriculum, faculty development and extracurricular programs and activities. Currently, the Endowment Fund has assets of over $1 million invested in the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

The NEF Endowment Distribution Committee selected these proposals from a large group of strong applications. The Distribution Committee comprises a broad-based group of Northampton citizens including representatives from each School Council, alumni, current students, the community-at-large and the NEF Board.

For our 26th year of granting, the Northampton Education Foundation (NEF) is very pleased to announce the awarding of $49,857 in grants from the NEF Endowment for the 2018-2019 school year, with an additional $19,000 for school years to follow. The focus of this year’s grant-making was “Bridging the Divide: Building an Inclusive Future.”

With these grants, the NEF Endowment will have provided over $550,000 in funding to the Northampton Public Schools since its inception.

2017-2018 Awards


This project will establish makerspaces at Ryan Road, Jackson Street and Bridge Street elementary schools. Makerspaces are work spaces that promote collaborative work for using technology to make, learn and explore. Makerspaces introduce students to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by helping them to focus on a problem that needs to be solved or investigated. The makerspaces at these three elementary schools will have four stations: building, robotics, digital filmmaking, and programming. Funding this program will ensure that all four elementary schools have makerspaces with comparable equipment and programming. This project will be funded at $9,035 for one year.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) at JFK

PBIS is a program used by schools nationwide to establish “proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments.” (www.pbis.org/school).  While traditional discipline is based on waiting for poor behavior to occur, the goal of PBIS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is rewarded in order to create a positive and supportive educational environment.  JFK Middle School was chosen to participate in a state-funded training program through NorthEast Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Network, and it is in the first of a three-year training plan to implement the PBIS framework. JFK sought additional support from NEF to ensure that all teachers, faculty, and staff are trained in how to implement the PBIS approach using consistent behavioral expectations.  The first-year of the project will be funded at $22,780. The grant will then fund $10,000 and $9,000 for years two and three, respectively.

Climbing ROCKS – Reaching Our Children’s Kinetic Sensors

This project will enhance physical education at Leeds and Ryan Road elementary schools by integrating adventure-based learning into the curriculum through rock climbing. Students who participate in rock climbing build higher fitness levels in upper body strength, dexterity and eye-hand coordination. In addition, students hone their ability to take risks, persevere, cooperate, and trust building. Funding this program will ensure that all four elementary schools have the necessary rock climbing equipment for adventure-based learning (the rock climbing equipment will be accessible to all students). This project will be funded at $9,882 for one year.

Sojourner’s Truth in the 21st Century

This project will develop an innovative curriculum unit on local history that will be very relevant to today’s students while meeting the new state social studies standards. Fifth grade teachers will develop this curriculum unit based on the life of Sojourner Truth, a nationally known advocate for justice and equality who lived in Florence, MA. Members of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee will work with all 5thgrade teachers (10) to incorporate the life of Sojourner Truth into a draft curriculum unit based on the new state social studies standards. The project will fund $8,160 for the first year. NEF will invite the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee to apply for additional support to disseminate their work.

2016-2017 Awards

Audubon/Acadia Climate Change

Will support the continuation and expansion of a climate science program that was funded this year by an NEF small grant. The program is to be undertaken by Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, in partnership with Northampton High School. All Northampton High School 9th grade Biology classes and 11th and 12th grade Environmental Science classes will have an in-class lesson focused on climate science and real world, local climate data, followed by a climate solutions field trip to Arcadia. Students will discuss the role of greenhouse gases in climate change and calculate their carbon footprint to determine how humans—and they personally—can reduce their impacts on the environment. They will then explore local ongoing data sets on maple sugaring to determine the long-term impacts on the economy and human and ecological health. The high school field study at Arcadia will include calculating the carbon capture potential for Arcadia’s forests versus the surrounding community and making predictions for changes in local plant and animal communities and important habitats, such as vernal pools, due to climate change. They also will visit the solar array, explore community-scale climate solutions, and learn about “green careers” that fit their personality types as another way to have a positive impact on our world. This program will be funded at $10,000 for the next three years.

Global Stem

Will help support a continuation of a Global STEM partnership program with a partner school in Coventry, England. The program is in the 5th Grade at Jackson Street School and as an after-school program for 7th graders at JFK Middle School.  The project for 2017-2018 school year will be to build, track, and retrieve two small wooden boats that would sail across the Atlantic.  Students involved would consult with marine engineers on designing, prototyping, and building seaworthy vessels.  Each boat would be equipped with equipment to allow for real time data collection on such things as wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, currents, ocean salinity and other weather data.  Data will be uploaded into the NASA Globe project database and analyzed by students in Northampton and in Coventry.  Students will collaborate on teams with both members from England and the US and will present to the larger group on topics that support the water quality and climate change curriculum.  This program will be funded at $14,000 for one year.

Outdoor Classroom

Will support the continuation of the Outdoor School Classroom and garden projects in all four Northampton elementary schools. This is building on a previous three-year NEF Endowment Grant and a number of Small Grants that enabled the four elementary schools to build the infrastructure for an outdoor garden program across the district (including the physical gardens, class garden visits for all students, collaboration time for teachers, and professional development with School Sprouts garden educators).  This grant continues the collaboration with School Sprouts Educational Gardens (School Sprouts), to guide the operation of the garden program, oversee growth and maintenance of the elementary school gardens, and educate/support teachers in outdoor learning.  It continues the development a garden and nutrition curriculum that promotes healthy food choices in students and has a strong carryover to families and the community, and it helps provide every child with regular access to the outdoor garden classrooms and surrounding natural areas. NEF strongly believes this has been a very successful program and want to continue to support it for two more years in hopes that, one day, it can be integrated in to the district’s budget or find a way to support itself.  This program will be funded at $16,000 for the first year and $20,000 for the second year.

2015-2016 Awards

Integrated Math

Will support Northampton High School IM1 teachers, SPED and ELL teachers by providing time to collaborate and create a library of 2 different levels of Modified IM1 curriculum that parallels the regular education curriculum.  This library of modified curriculum would allow SPED and ELL students to participate along with regular education students. Doing the same activities and learning the same content while providing an opportunity to allow them to communicate and collaborate with regular education students within the IM1 content. This program will be run by Rachel Stavely, the NHS math Department Chair and Katheryn Kurtz NHS Special Education teacher. This program will be funded at $5,420 for one year.

Bridge Street After School Enrichment (Base)

Will support the start of an after school enrichment program at the Bridge Street School. The program hopes to offer students access to five, six week sessions with classes offered four days a week.  This program will be implemented by Lori Shine and Jennifer Dieringer.  This program will be funded at $10,000 for one year to pay for a coordinator to get the program started and grants writing to find transportation solutions for the after school enrichment programs in all four Northampton elementary schools.  After the first year this programs goal is to be self-sustaining,

All Elementary 3D Printers

Will support a project to introduce broad-based 3D printing technology to Jackson Street, Bridge Street, Leeds and Ryan Road elementary schools to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and integrated (cross discipline) curricula. A local Jackson Street Parent, Summer Cable will be overseeing this project. The program will benefit teachers at each grade level by providing 2 3D Printers for each elementary school, access to on-line CAD programming software, and training for teachers at each school on how to use this great technology.  Teachers can create customized educational tools and lesson plans, and allow students of all socioeconomic backgrounds to learn age appropriate computer aided design (CAD) programming and rapid production technology (3D printing).  This program will be funded at $15,192 for two years.

JFK 6th Grade Social Studies

Will support the purchase of On-line subscriptions and Chromebooks for use by the JFK 6th Grade social studies classes. The program will be based in the library with the JFK librarian Gilana Chelimsky working closely with all the 6th grade social studies teachers. The goal will be to use online research, EPal and WeVideo to contact other countries in Latin America and Africa. The goal will be a final presentation of what they have learned. This program will be funded at $7,205 for one year.

Responsive Classroom

Will Support the training of the Jackson Street school teachers and staff in the Responsive Classroom social curriculum. This curriculum has been implemented in other schools in our district with positive results for both the school and the community. This program will be funded at $6,000

Safe Passage

Will support a pilot program in cooperation with the Safe Passage Organization to introduce the “Say Something” prevention curriculum to our high school. This curriculum is intended to address domestic abuse and sexual violence in our community. It will also establish an after school club with the goal of making our school safer. This grant was initiated by Northampton High School students and will be funded for $4,866 for this year.

The Outdoor Garden – A Sense of Place

This is the last of three years of funding for this program. Funding supports the continuing efforts of our four elementary schools to implement outdoor learning and environmental education programs.  The program is integral to all areas of the curriculum as children actively create and participate in each garden and teachers learn to deliver garden based lessons both within and outside of the school gardens.  This program will be funded at $25,000 for this year.

Caught Off Guard

This is the last of two years of funding for this program.  Will support a troupe of Northampton High School students who interview HS, MS, and Elementary School students about their experiences and views about topical issues such as peer pressure, friendship, alcohol and drugs.  They then create skits based on the interviews and their own experiences.  Skits are presented at all levels at the Northampton Public Schools and at local conferences.  The troupe has been in existence for several years under the guidance of Heidi Haas, a local social worker and theater activist and the Northampton Partnership for Drug Free Communities.  Participation in the troupe is open to all comers and the troupe is ethnically diverse.  This program will be funded at $5000 per year for this year.

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