FEF Awards Largest Amount to Date at $107,000 for 2017-18
Falmouth Education Foundation (FEF) recently announced its grantees for the 2017-2018 school year, comprising 26 projects that range from a multi-school engineering project to an amplification system at Lawrence Middle School to expanding the library collections at all four elementary schools in an effort to promote diversity.
“These projects show how dedicated and creative our teachers are, and the amount granted—the largest amount ever at almost $107,000—is evidence of how much our community values and supports its schools,” said FEF Board President Ellen Barol.
That generosity extends to four projects that were fully funded by anonymous donors, also known as “angel investors,” who asked teachers to “dream big.”
“We are very excited about this year's crop of innovative projects. Once again, they span all schools and grades, and they afford our students exceptional learning opportunities in every content area,” Ms. Barol said. “They are also quite broad in scope; most projects impact more than 100 participants and include more than one teacher.”
First-time awardee Susan Schmidt applied for a grant on behalf of the Falmouth High School Foreign Language Department to fund Chromebooks to help proficiency.
“Although we have a school language lab, some students get nervous in that type of setting. Having access to the same equipment in the classroom, where they are more comfortable, will reduce some of that anxiety,” she said. “Additionally, not all students have access to technology outside the classroom, so we’re trying to even the playing field.”
Victoria Santos, staff assistant at Lawrence, who also serves as the school’s theater adviser, wrote a grant on behalf of herself and colleagues, Andrew Fietek and Eileen Cahill, to fund a set of microphones. Until now, the school has been borrowing theirs from Falmouth High School.
“For many students, this will be their first experience using a microphone. We’re excited to be able to show them how, and now that we have our own set, we can also teach them about proper storage and maintenance,” she said.
“I’m so grateful that FEF provides these opportunities. We have a very low budget for the school play, so any assistance we get really helps.”
Chris Brothers, head of the Falmouth High School Science Department, also expressed her appreciation. Ms. Brothers is part of a multi-school project with Bob Porto, eighth-grade engineering teacher at Lawrence, and Kristina Woods of the Science Department. Vernal pools that have been constructed at the two schools will be used as outdoor laboratories, and the engineering students will construct informational kiosks that will also display student research.
“FEF has been instrumental to the Science Department for years, going back to the inception of the organization. We would not have the department we have today without them,” she said.
This year’s projects align closely to the district’s goals, for which Superintendent Nancy Taylor credited FEF.
“One priority of the Falmouth School district is to increase cultural proficiency and embrace the growing diversity of our student population,” she said. “Grants from FEF have afforded us opportunities to enrich learning, leverage innovation and foster a united learning community that appreciates and supports all students.”
The 2017-2018 grantees are:
Falmouth High School
Ekphrasis 2017 (Lauren Kenny): Ekphrasis brings the experience of art to a reader through poetry. In this continuing grant, students will visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and receive staff instruction in the Visual Thinking Strategies technique.
Building a More Culturally Proficient Classroom (Mike Feeney): To fund a set of Chromebooks to support FHS social studies students’ participation in the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum.
In Living Color—Ceramic Stains, Slips and Tessellations (Corinne Adams): Ceramic students will employ the nerikome technique, develop an understanding of the application of math in their work, and produce color without relying on glazes. Students will work with the math department to design tiling and tessellations.
Foreign Language Skill-Building with Chromebooks (Susan Schmidt): Students in all foreign language classes will use Chromebooks to increase proficiency. Chromebook apps will provide expanded opportunities for practice, interaction with native speakers, and group work.
Exploring Evolution at the Harvard Natural History Museum (Heather Godwin): Students will participate in a museum class and examine specimens and use scientific reasoning from which they will create a hands-on activity or game to be played at next year’s science fair.
Expansion of the CHOICES Program (Tracey Crago with Beth Underhill): The VIPS program that promotes financial literacy and career preparedness will expand to grade 7. Students will participate in a foundation workshop on traits for success and behaviors to impress.
Can You Hear Me Now? Amplification for All (Barbara Blumberg): An amplification system for classes in one 7th grade team will allow teachers to gather baseline data on auditory learning levels, strengthen skills, and assess progress.
Lawrence Check One, Two (Victoria Santos): Microphones will be provided to improve sound quality in the auditorium and enable training on use and maintenance. Equipment will be shared with Morse Pond and FHS performance groups as needed.
Personalizing the Learning Environment with Dynamic Seating (Kerri Whipple): This grant will expand the dynamic learning environment in the library media center to grade 5 and three grade 6 classrooms.
Re-Kindling Our Battle of the Books (Elizabeth Abbott): To fund e-reader Kindle books for students impacted by reading difficulties, making the titles of this popular reading incentive program accessible to all.
Teaticket Students Are Sew Creative (Lynn Van Etta): To fund equipment and materials for an after-school enrichment class. Third and fourth grade sewing students will create projects based on kindergarten artwork.
The Growing Kinder-Garden (Stacey Boudrot): To support expansion of the Labyrinth of Learning, including a shed, seedlings, and milkweed seeds for a butterfly garden, books, and other materials. Students will plant and maintain the garden.
PE Projecting (David Watson): To purchase a projector and screen to accompany teacher iPads, allowing the whole class to view programs and apps.
East Falmouth Outdoor Classroom (Justine Dale): The school will collaborate with Miskovsky Landscaping, Cape Cod Regional STEM Network, East Falmouth PTO, and volunteers to repurpose a neglected courtyard into an outdoor classroom for all grades and subjects.
21st Century Classrooms (Elijah Switzer): To fund a variety of seating and work area options so students can identify and utilize their most productive environments, in addition to an interactive screen to be used for negotiation, collaboration, debate, and compromise.
STEM Bins (Anissa Graff): STEM bins will provide meaningful extended or accelerated work for students who have completed tasks and demonstrated proficiency, offering creative tasks and real world problem-solving.
Making it Up—Expanding our Makerspace (Tara Draper): The Makerspace will include activities for Kindergarten, first, and second graders, offering the chance to invent, create and problem-solve, using both technology and non-tech materials.
Animal Habitats—Learning Adventures (Ann McDonald): iPads will be used to facilitate a large-scale science project, including research, photographs, slideshows, video production, presentation and publishing.
Shark Bites II—Newspaper for the Kids, by the Kids (Robyn Langmead): This continuing grant for the technology and printing budget for the third-grade school-wide publication will include the fourth grade.
Group Drumming for Social-Emotional Learning (Teresa Jazo): The purchase of 25 drums and the implementation of a six-week curriculum for all 450 students that combines social-emotional learning and group drumming.
iPads for Differentiated Instruction (Colleen Durepo): Teachers will use iPads to implement shared practices in curriculum development, differentiation, and assessment, and then track student achievement.
Vertical Building—Constructing a Makerspace Lego Wall (Kristin Bergeron): A Lego wall will be added to the school’s Makerspace to provide a non-tech way to explore creativity, build fine motor and problem-solving skills, collaborate, and raise awareness of fundamental engineering.
To The Lighthouse (Jane Baker, FHS, with Morse Pond): Students will visit lighthouses, learn from experts, and do research to create artwork to be exhibited in the Woods Hole Library and sold to raise funds for Friends of Nobska.
Engineering Through Competition and Collaboration (Bob Porto, Lawrence, with Morse Pond and Mullen-Hall): To support three Grade 8 engineering events: the Rube Run, the Iditarod, and the DaVinci Dash. Students from Mullen-Hall will help with construction of Iditarod sleds. Morse Pond and Mullen-Hall students will watch the race via video blogs produced by Lawrence students.
Vernal Pools—Living Laboratories (Chris Brothers): Vernal pools constructed at Lawrence and FHS will be used as outdoor labs, promoting citizen science, and will provide outdoor classroom space for projects across content areas. 8th grade engineering students will build kiosks to display information and student research.
Windows and Mirrors—Increasing Diversity in Our Libraries (Kristin Bergeron): The four elementary libraries will expand their collection to more accurately reflect student population and promote diversity. Selections will include titles that illustrate cross-racial connections, diverse families, and characters with disabilities.