Education Foundation Celebrates, New Grantees, $1M in Cumulative Giving
Falmouth Education Foundation awarded grants to all schools for the 2019-20 academic year, as well as districtwide grants.
Falmouth Education Foundation (FEF) support for educators in the town's public schools has now topped $1M in cumulative giving since 2006, a milestone celebrated by educators at the May 30 announcement of new grants for the upcoming academic year.
The foundation began awarding grants in 2006, when six teachers received a total of $15,000 in project funding. Since then, generous donors have made it possible for FEF to increase grantmaking in each subsequent year. For the 2019-20 academic year, 38 proposals were received, for a total request of $170,419. The FEF board approved full or partial funding for all proposals, resulting in $116,737 in support to all schools, across all disciplines.
"If you are a parent of a pre-K to 12 student in the Falmouth Public Schools, in all likelihood your child has benefitted from at least one FEF-funded project," FEF President Ellen Barol said. "In this milestone year, FEF will rededicate ourselves to the next million in grantmaking, look back at where we've been and think about where we're going, and build capacity to tackle more innovative projects. It's an exciting time for our community."
Some 60 percent of FEF-funded projects include connections with community organizations, professionals, or businesses. Several projects and teachers have been recognized locally and nationally as exemplars in education, including Falmouth High's Jane Baker, who twice was honored with the State Award for Excellence in Environmental Education, and Christine Brothers, who received the Presidential Award for Innovation for Environmental Educators for her project, "Vernal Pools: Living Laboratories."
"It is always key to get students out of the building and into a situation in which they can directly experience what we are trying to understand. Students invest more of themselves in what they create as they are more connected to the world," Baker explained.
Among this year's awardees are two teachers who are new to the Falmouth district and are first-time applicants: Linda Lonergan at Morse Pond School and Abir Zanieh at East Falmouth Elementary.
A computer science teacher, Mrs. Lonergan aims to expand her students’ world without leaving the classroom. Her grant will fund the purchase of Google Expeditions, a 3-D tool which brings lessons to life. Using Google viewers, students are able to travel from their seats to locales around the globe, or explore everyday subject matter in depth, from science to literature.
As a Google certified instructor, Mrs. Lonergan has witnessed the impact of using virtual reality to augment classroom learning, which she implemented previously in Plymouth and Dennis. Experiences range from touring an Irish museum, to a first look at college, to a study on genetics, to book discussions that accompany assigned readings, such as Linda Sue Park’s “A Long Walk to Water.”
“The technology keeps students enthralled and engaged, and it allows teachers to create their own lesson plans, or collaborate with their fellow teacher by sharing what they have created," she said. “In this day and age, in which computers are part of almost everyone’s employment and day-to-day life, I think it’s important to educate students in as many was possible to safely use technology for learning.”
Mrs. Lonergan is grateful to Falmouth Education Foundation, and its supporters, for making such opportunities available.
“Falmouth is an amazing community of residents who truly care about their students. I’m really thrilled to work in a district that supports technology and student learning to the degree that Falmouth does. It’s an honor to be a Falmouth Education Foundation grant recipient. I look forward to engaging students in the world of virtual reality,” she said.
Ms. Zaineh is excited to bring “Fun in the Community” to East Falmouth Elementary School. She oversees the substantially separate social-emotional program for students in third and fourth grade. Her goal is to provide enriching experiences similar to those of their peers, such as local field trips, which will also provide practical application of skills learned in the classroom. FEF will fund transportation to locales such as the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, where students will have the opportunity to enjoy new experiences while enhancing their social skills.
Additional lesson plans will be address everyday topics such as personal hygiene. After meeting with the school nurse, the youngsters will embark on a supervised trip to purchase hygiene kits, also funded by FEF, which will enable them to implement their mathematical skills for financial transactions.
Ms. Zaineh, who just joined the district in January, learned about Falmouth Education Foundation from her principal, Justine Dale.
“Dr. Dale knew I was really interested in grant-writing and trying to find creative resources for funding,” she said.
Ms. Zaineh underscored the importance of having an equal opportunity to provide enriching experiences for students.
“This grant will allow these kiddos to learn from authentic, real-life situations as opposed to scenarios simulated in a classroom, while also engaging more in their own community,” she said. “I’m extremely grateful to FEF for guidance throughout the application process, and for making this possible for my students.”
The full list of awardees for 2019-20 includes:
Falmouth High School: Corine Adams for "The Seedpod Study: Inspirations from Form, Texture, and Harmony"; Jane Baker for "Trancendartists – A Mindful Approach to Naturalist Studies"; Jane Baker, with Lauren Kenny, for "Presenting Naturalists"; Chris Brothers with department heads for ELA, Social Studies, and World Languages for "Falmouth High School Film Festival"; Sarah Cox, with Shelley Abreu, Erin Griffin, Daria Kasparian, Stefanie Morrison, and Daniella Phipps, for "Shakespeare & Company Performance: Macbeth": Nancy Fitzgerald, with Kathleen Jespersen, Dennis Ashe, Scott Crocker, Miguel Zamora, and Kaitlin Hackett for "Farm to Table"; Heather Goodwin for "Exploring Evolution at the Harvard Museum of Natural History"; Daria Kasparian, with Jane Baker, for "Dionysia"; Cheryl Milliken for "National Marine Science Educator’s Association Conference"; and Kayla Peard for "Rehearsal and Performance Techniques."
Lawrence School: Barbara Blumberg for "Let's Shake, Measure, and Bake"; Tom Bushy for "Bridge Program"; Andrew Fietek and Eileen Cahill for "Lawrence School Music Technology"; Krista Hennessy, with Natalie Galligan and Charlene Johnson, for "Day of Poetry"; Liz Liles, with 8th grade ELA teachers, for "8th Grade Shakespeare"; Erin Mello for "Coffee Business"; Karyn Phares for "Full Steam Ahead"; Bob Porto for "Bikes to Boards: Expanding Lawrence's Outdoor Adventure Program"; and Tiffany Van Mooy, with Judy Harbison, for "Lawrence Cafeteria Art Gallery and Sound Dampening."
Morse Pond: Elizabeth Abbott for "Beyond the Bright Sea"; and Linda Lonergan for "Google Viewers and Google Expeditions: Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality."
East Falmouth Elementary: Tara Draper for "Making It Up: Expanding Our Library Makerspace" and "Let's Read That Series!"; Anissa Graff for "Crossing the Midline with BIG Art"; Kathleen Karl and Grade 2 Teachers for "Updating an Old Classic"; Nicole Mele and Grade 4 Teachers for "Blasting Off With Boogie Boards"; and Abir Zaineh for "Fun in the Community."
Mullen Hall Elementary: Meghan Andersen for "Taking a Bite Out of the Makerspace"; Ann Marie Iandoli for "Adapted Trade Books"; and Jill Meserve for "21st Century Classroom."
North Falmouth Elementary: Kristin Bergeron for "Makerspace Expansion"; and Kathryn Sodaitis and Tim Adams for "Improvising Art: An Ocean Mural and Student Exhibition."
Teaticket Elementary: Lindsay Benson for " Get in the Zone: Self-Regulation Space for Students with Autism"; and Lyn Van Etta and Stacey Boudrot for "Watering and Weeding in the Kindergarten Labyrinth of Learning."
Cross-School Projects: Tracey Crago for "After School Health and Wellness Programming"; Julie Williams-Tinkham, with Cape Cod Curling and elementary PE teachers, "Elementary Gym Curling Program"; Julie Williams-Tinkham, with all K-4 PE teachers, for "Heart Rate Monitors"; and Kristina Woods and 13 co-applicants for "National Science Teachers Conference 2020."
FEF grantmaking would be impossible without general donors throughout the community, including the organizers of the Falmouth Flag Day 5K Run/Walk, which takes place on Sunday, June 16, in Falmouth Heights. For information about registering for this family-friendly event, please visit www.falmouthflagday5k.org.