From computer coding and Common Core to Legos and ukuleles, the variety of innovative new and enhanced approaches to teaching employed by Falmouth Public Schools educators make the district one of the top in the state. The Falmouth Education Foundation recognized the district’s achievement in May by awarding 33 grants for the 2015-16 academic year.
“The Foundation’s board of directors continues to be amazed by the level of excellence sought and achieved in our schools,” Board President Ellen Barol said. “Falmouth’s teachers really are second to none in their passion for education and their embrace of innovation. We are so proud to support their aspirations.”
The Foundation considered 39 proposals this spring, and recommended funding for 33 of them. Awards totaling $86,671 were made in a ceremony at the Falmouth Public Library on May 28.
Awards went to every school in the district, and several went to projects that spanned two or more schools. For example, all Falmouth elementary schools received funding for teacher Teresa Jazo’s “All About the Bass” project, which increases use of children’s literature in music classrooms through learning to play the xylophone. Volunteers in Public Schools Director Tracey Crago was awarded a grant for the Girls Circle Program, which has served students in grades 4-8 since 2010 through a collaboration with the schools and Falmouth Human Services.
“The Girls Circle program utilizes a strengths-based, skill-building approach to create a safe space for girls to build self-confidence, personal strength, and improve communication and relationships,” Crago told the Foundation. “The program has been so successful in Falmouth that we have developed curricula, activities, and facilitation models that go above and beyond the original curriculum, customized to meet the needs of our students.”
All awards, by school, include:
East Falmouth Elementary Dash Into Coding Teacher: Tara Draper Grant Award: $2,804 (full funding) With the purchase of robots “Dash” and “Dot,” third- and fourth-grade students at East Falmouth Elementary School will learn coding and computer programming during after-school enrichment classes. Students will code these machines to complete a variety of tasks, including playing music, following specific movement and directions, and creating new adventures.
Ukuleles for 4th Grade Enrichment Teacher: Justine Dale Grant Award: $945 (full funding) East Falmouth Elementary School will purchase 12 ukuleles to offer fourth-graders the opportunity to learn ukulele from teacher Tom Goux after school. Demand for this enrichment program has been high, and this grant will allow more classes. The East Falmouth PTO will pay the teacher.
Best Seat In The Class II Teacher: Jill Meserve Grant Award: $251 (full funding) This awards supports the purchase of eight new stability balls for a third-grade classroom. It continues a 2014 award in which stability balls replaced the typical classroom chairs and gave students the ability to move during academic time while sitting at their desk. This movement has increased focus and concentration in the classroom and reduced disciplinary interventions.
East Falmouth and North Falmouth Elementary Schools
Professional Development for Art Educators, National Art Educators Association Teacher: Jessica Sassaman Grant Award: $510 (partial funding) This project supports teacher membership in the National Art Education Association and attendance at the national convention. Membership will expose art educators to emerging research and practices within the field, as well as collaboration opportunities. As Falmouth Public Schools implement an innovative new early childhood curriculum, this experience is essential.
Mullen-Hall Elementary School
iCreate Teacher: Kelly Pariseault Grant Award: $3,200 (full funding) The goal of this project is to create five hands-on, child-centered, rich, multidisciplinary projects through which the students will collaborate, apply real-world lessons from the Common Core, and create a final project. Five teachers will create and share the units, so all grade 3 students will participate. Funding will support the materials needed to create units in Theater, Art & Writing, Photography & Poetry, Engineering, Geography & World Cultures.
Fluent Readers Begin Here! Teacher: Anne Realini Grant Award: $732 (full funding) Research shows that when students read along while listening to a fluent reader, their own reading ability increases. To provide a fluent reading model for each student's level, this grant supports the purchase of a class set of CD players to go along with 60 existing audio books.
Padding the Way to Enhanced ELL Instruction Using a Tablet Teacher: Alexander Scofield Grant Award: $770 (full funding) To enhance the education of the district’s growing population of English Language Learners (ELLs), the district has in recent years acquired new instructional materials, such as National Geographic Learning and Reading A-Z. Since a touch-screen makes the material more accessible and flexible for ELL students, this grant supports the purchase of an iPad and associated apps.
Tools of the Mind / Background Building Books Teacher: Maureen Tichenor Grant Award: $800 (partial funding) This grant funds the purchase of book sets to support the Tools of the Mind curriculum in kindergarten. Tools of the Mind is an early childhood program that helps Pre-K and K students learn cognitive, social, and self-regulatory skills.
Family Game Lending Library at Mullen-Hall Teacher: Priscilla Carignan Grant Award: $300 (partial funding) Many games provide creative ways for students to practice their academic, fine motor and social skills. There are fewer opportunities to play these learning games in school, so this grant supports the creation of a family games lending library. Students will be able to borrow a game to take home and play with their families to build family communication and involvement in student learning, encourage unplugged exploration and play, and foster connections between school and home.
Hand Hygiene for a Healthier School Teacher: Alicia Bryant Grant Award: $328 (full funding) This grant funds a hand hygiene lesson to be taught to all grade levels—a “Glo Germ” kit, lesson DVD, and posters for each student bathroom. The kit includes a special lotion that glows under ultra-violet light, so the students will be able to see where “germs” have been left behind.
Chrome for Khan Teacher: Dustin Fauth Grant Award: $6,000 (partial funding) A set of Chrome Books and a housing cart will enable each student in a third-grade class to use Khan Academy materials simultaneously. Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.
Building Great Writers Teacher: Tiffany Miranda Grant Award: $5,300 (partial funding) This project will engage students in writing through the use of Legos and technology. Legos StoryStarter kits help student develop narrative stories that have the basic story structure; teams will plan writing by making storyboards with Legos, compose their story on Chromebooks and use story visualizer software to make their writing come to life. Kinder-Garden Labyrinth of Learning Teacher: Lynn Van Etta Grant Award: $8,000 (partial funding) The Teaticket Kindergarten teachers, in collaboration with Art, P.E. and Music teachers, will create an outdoor education center for students by repurposing a former playground into two garden areas, a labyrinth, two outdoor classroom areas and a musical area. Funding comes from several area organizations and businesses; FEF is supporting the labyrinth installation.
All Elementary Schools
All About That Bass Teacher: Teresa Jazo Grant Award: $7,800 (full funding) Children’s literature and music can go hand-in-hand, and “All About The Bass” will support a resource called “Mallet Madness” to increase use of children’s literature in the music classroom. Teachers will replace their un-repairable bass xylophones and add three bass bars to a collection of Orff xylophones, glockenspiels, and metallophones at East Falmouth, Mullen-Hall, North Falmouth, and Teaticket Elementary School. Students in the Engineering class at Lawrence will make rolling carts for these instruments to stand on. In addition, students will invite members in the community to read the children’s books while they play accompaniments they have created.
Morse Pond School
Implementation of Calmer Choice Teacher: Joanne Sykes Grant Award: $6,000 (partial funding) This grants supports the implementation of the Calmer Choice Program in fifth-grade classrooms. The school seeks to institutionalize mindfulness practice to improve students' health and academic success, as well as better equip them to manage the day-to-day stress and challenges that too often derail their success.
Film Editing Computer: Morse Pond TEAM Program Teacher: Brian Switzer Grant Award: $4,000 (full funding) Much of what is taught in the MPS TEAM Program is geared toward modern communication, such as online writing and video production at MorsePonderings.com. To keep up with the demands on school computers, this grant funds a Mac Pro computer that can help students handle the increasing digital needs of their extensive video, audio and written files.
District Grades 4-8
The Girls Circle Program: Meeting Demand by Training Additional Facilitators Teacher: Tracey Crago Grant Award: $1,665 (partial funding) The success of the Girls Circle Program in Falmouth—a collaboration between Falmouth VIPS, Falmouth Human Services, and Falmouth Public Schools—has necessitated the need for additional volunteer facilitators. This grant supports the recruitment of additional volunteers, a training workshop, expanded curriculum, and additional materials.
Integrated Learning through Technology Teacher: Karen Hart Grant Award: $3,500 (partial funding) This project provides technology to support an integrated environment for individualized learning within the Multi-Aged Learning Center and the Therapeutic Intervention Program. These classrooms include students who are working at varying cognitive abilities; the integration of technology in these classrooms will allow students to work independently to build skills in all areas.
8th-Grade ELA Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream Teacher: Lisbeth Liles Grant Award: $2,400 (full funding) Teachers hope to increase the level of student performance by offering a performance/workshop by Shakespeare & Co. to all eighth-graders. A 45-minute overview of historical Elizabethan England and Shakespeare’s works will be followed by workshops where students work in smaller groups with the actors on sections of Midsummer, encouraging individual engagement and supporting close-reading skills of a rigorous text.
Holocaust Resource Library and Mini-Museum Teacher: Sarah Cox Grant Award: $2,860 (full funding) In collaboration with the Falmouth Jewish Congregation in the 2014-15 school year, eighth-grade English students met with a Holocaust survivor and worked with Congregation staff to create a bibliography of resources that all teachers could use with students during study of Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night. This grant will support the creation of a Holocaust Resource Library to include first-hand accounts on film and in writing, historical documents, copies of music and artwork created by prisoners and contemporaries, and mini-sets of young adult non-fiction narratives relating to survival. Teachers also will use the resource library to build a Holocaust mini-museum.
Creating Movies Using the iOgrapher Teacher: Janice Williams-Nimtz Grant Award: $4,375 (partial funding) Every eighth-grader participates in a Community Service Learning project in which they volunteer and fundraise for various nonprofit organizations. At the end of the project they create a documentary to hone a variety of skills: research, creating and interpreting surveys, conducting interviews, creating commercials, filming and editing. This grant provides iOgrapher equipment to help students create high-quality documentaries.
Falmouth High and Lawrence Schools
Building Social Skills in Students with Social Communication Disorders Teacher: Barbara Blumberg Grant Award: $1,000 (partial funding) People with social communication disabilities have weaknesses in understanding social language and using expected social skills. This grant will fund the purchase of classroom materials and social events that will help students in grades 7-12 gain a better understanding of daily social interactions that take place in school, at home and in the community.
Falmouth High School
Blending the Mathematics Classroom Teacher: Lisa Lopes Grant Award: $5,000 (partial funding) This grant will provide technology to support a blended mathematics classroom, which is defined as a course in which 30-70 percent of the instruction is delivered online. The online environment, utilizing new technology, will be used as an extension of the classroom, enhancing instructional strategies that will bring both collaborative inquiry and differentiation to classroom lessons.
Cardsharks, Continued Teacher: Jane Baker Grant Award: $1,688 (full funding) In 2008, the Falmoth High School AP Studio Art students reprise their successful 2008 Cardsharks project to raise money for additional art supplies by turning their artwork into greeting cards. The projects provides to tools to create the cards—printers, ink, and blank cards—and teaches students how to market their work.
Drawing on Common Ground Teacher: Jane Baker Grant Award: $3,367 (partial funding) This project will give Falmouth High School art students and Boston Arts Academy students new and renewed perspectives on the concept of open space in this unique collaboration. Students from each school will travel to each other’s environments to experience surroundings from a new creative perspective, as well as visit a Boston museum and participate in an “Eyes on Owls” presentation.
National Art Honor Society Art Installations Teacher: Corine Adams Grant Award: $750 (full funding) This grant will give the National Art Honor Society members the tools to create three temporary, three-dimensional art installations. The goal is to transform the aesthetic look of a space without impairing its function. Although the spaces and installations are not yet finalized, students promise the art will include balloons and origami. All elementary school students will participate in creating the origami.
Book Binding/Self-Publishing Teacher: Nancy FitzGerald Grant Award: $1,164 (full funding) This grant will support publishing projects in two programs: Culinary Arts and Child Development. The culinary students will collect their favorite recipes and format them into a cookbook that they hope to sell. Child Development students, in concert with Sara Hines from Eight Cousins Bookstore, will discuss children’s literature and bind their own stories into a book.
ServSafe Certification for Students Teacher: Kaitlin Hackett Grant Award: $1,621 (full funding) This grant supports the purchase of ServSafe Food Handler textbooks and exams for the Culinary Level 2 students so they can earn their five-year certification. Certified students may have an advantage when seeking employment in the local food industry.
Inspirations in Ceramic Design from Indigenous Materials Teacher: Corine Adams Grant Award: $2,655 (full funding) In collaboration with the Falmouth Historical Society and professional ceramic artists, ceramic students will participate a two-month interdisciplinary art lesson that focuses on Native American pottery and the creation of pots, sculptures and a mural inspired by indigenous techniques and the history of the Wampanoag tribe.
Proscope Microscopes Teacher: Kelly Garrett Grant Award: $2,786 (full funding) With five Proscopes, high-resolution handheld digital microscopes, science students can capture images and video that are up to 200x magnification. This tool will allow students to examine 3-D objects, such as the skin, bones or fingernails, and will project the images to smart phone and tablets.
Diving into Sensors: Technology Professional Development Teacher: Cheryl Milliken Grant Award: $450 (full funding) This grant will fund an online workshop for the ROV Team advisor to use Arduino, a sensor that allows a remotely-operated vehicle to interact with its surroundings and collect data. Use of this sensor would improve the team’s skills to complete competitive missions, such as building tools that sense voltage, temperature, pH, and conductivity.
Lego Mindstorms Update Teacher: Tom Messer Grant Award: $650 (partial funding) Teachers use Lego Mindstorms equipment to teach students to program a robot to complete a wide variety of tasks, from following a line drawn on a paper to walking. This grant will be used to purchase new “brains” to program existing robots.
Bigger Murals Teacher: John Holladay Grant Award: $3,000 (partial funding) Since 2013, high school graphic arts students have been creating public art—David Hockney, Shepard Fairey, and Banksy, and many others—that is displayed throughout the district. With continued support from FEF, these students plan to create more large murals.