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Northampton Education Foundation
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2003-2004 Funded Projects

Fall 2003 | Spring 2003

FALL 2003 AWARDS - (Projects to be completed between 1/1/04 and 6/30/04)

03F-1: “Random Acts of Kindness”: A Youth Musical
Seroe Michaud and Heidi Haas; Leeds, $2,000

Fifth grade students will write skits - one-act plays that display kindness in action - and perform them as a musical for the community. Students will look for news in their school, town, state, and global community that are examples of people performing acts of kindness for others. Classroom teachers will incorporate the writing activities into their creative writing assignments. Ms. Michaud will choose musical selections to enhance the production, and parent volunteers will help with costumes and staging. The idea behind the show is to raise awareness of the ways that we can each do something to make a positive difference in our community.

03F-2: “Taking Care of Ourselves and Others” Murals
Jan Spearance, Karen Bryant, Kathleen Lajoie; Leeds, $850

Leeds School kindergartners will create murals that are a visual representation of the components of the kindergarten health curriculum: personal safety, Second Step (non-violence), personal/mental health, nutrition/fitness, and D.A.R.E. The murals will be installed in the kindergarten bathrooms. In addition to learning about cooperation in order to complete the project, the 60 kindergartners will be challenged to use creative thinking and fine motor skills.

03F-3: The Story of Steps: The Evolution of Latino Dance
Kim Gerould and Mary Cowhey; Jackson, $1,950

Elizabeth Fernandez O’Brien will conduct a two-week residency with 2nd and 3rd graders in historical Latino dance. Students will explore how the dances evolved from their European roots and how they continue to evolve today. The residency will begin with a performance, proceed to hands-on work with students and teachers, and culminate in a multi-grade, student performance.

03F-4: Tales of India – A Festival of Folklore, Theater and Dance
Mary Cowhey, Kim Gerould, Stephen Eldredge; Jackson, $2,000

Ranjanaa Devi and members of the Nataraj Performing Arts of India Ensemble will conduct a one-week intensive residency for grades 1-3 in Indian culture, music, storytelling, and dance. The residency will be augmented by a Nataraj dance performance for the entire school and additional curriculum meetings and movement classes. The residency will culminate in a student dance-theater performance based on an Indian village festival and the “Pancha Tantra” animal tales of India. The total project budget is $4,600, and additional funding is being sought from the Northampton Arts Council, the Jackson St. School PTO, and local businesses.

03F-5: Colonial Life: Historical Reenactment of 18th Century America at Leeds School
Denise Wood, Karen Bryant, and 5 other teachers; Leeds, $2,000

In celebration of Northampton’s 350th anniversary, Leeds School will be adopting an American history theme in the spring of 2004. Anne Meyer, a consultant, will set up and spend five days in an 18th century reenactment camp on the school grounds. All students will experience hands-on demonstrations and activities in vendor trading, cooking, period heritage plants, sewing, clothing, soap making, schooling, and period songs and literature. The program is being uniquely designed to conform to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Northampton core curriculum. The Leeds PTO is sharing in the cost of this program.

03F-6: Literacy Collaboration: Jackson St. Writers, JFK Techies
Kathy Fleming, Mary Bates, Mary Cowhey, Kim Gerould; JFK/Jackson, $1,495

This is the second year of a literacy collaboration between eighth-grade students and students from Jackson St. School. The project is being expanded to include writers from second- and third-grade classes, in addition to first graders. JFK students will design and publish Web pages that illustrate original written work by the younger students. This work will include: writings based on books and poems; interviews the children conduct in school; original poems, stories, and other compositions; and scientific observations. The middle school students will learn to utilize scanners, digital cameras, and Web-authoring software to create a finished product.

03F-7: The Study of Dr. Seuss
Pam Gauthier-Lynes; JFK, $550

This project is designed for seventh- and eighth-grade reading students who are reading below grade level. Dr. Seuss books, already familiar to many, will be used to promote a renewed love of reading. Activities to be undertaken include: studying 8-10 Dr. Seuss books – their meanings and use of rhyming; reading books to younger students on Dr. Seuss day; creating a video; creating a poster project on a favorite book; and designing and making a quilt square to be part of a larger quilt, which will be donated to a children’s hospital.

03F-8: Pequot Museum Project/Trip
Nancy Cheevers and Tracy Dawson-Greene; JFK, $1,725

After studying Native American culture, history, and literary traditions in the classroom, students will visit the Pequot Museum and attend the “Pequots in History” program, which includes a strong oral tradition and language component, as well as a viewing of the “Pequots in War” film. As students participate in the experience, they will take notes to add to their research on Native American languages. Each student will then complete a written project, which will be published in a class anthology of writings about language development and culture.

03F-9: A Concrete Experience
Martha McCormick and Harriet Diamond; NHS, $2,000

This project will involve the 25 students (grades 10-12) in the spring semester 3D Design and Sculpture class. Working with guest artist Harriet Diamond, they will create five sculptures that will be placed in the courtyard located around the NHS guidance area. The sculptures will be made of weatherproof concrete and be permanently installed. Students will learn about designing sculpture for a public space and making it site specific, e.g., interesting from all angles because it will be viewed from upper floors as well as ground level. Modules will be constructed in the classroom and then assembled in the courtyard.

03F-10: Environmental Awareness
Cheryl Eckert and Mary Belge; Smith Vocational, $2,000

Participants in this project plan to implement programs and activities during the school year that would educate the student body about various ecological issues. Activities include: inviting a guest speaker, attending a theatrical performance, touring a local watershed, and developing an after-school group to help implement ecological practices within the school (including a water awareness week program).

03F-11: First Annual NHS Student Video Festival
Robin Barber, Jane Madden, Tom Kress; NHS, $1,330

This grant will provide the seed to provide an ongoing forum for the juried selection, display, and celebration of NHS students’ exploration of creative uses of video. The festival, to be held in June 2004, will be open to all students and will invite work in the following genres: drama, documentary, sports, comedy, animation/experimental, and music video. Prizes will be awarded to top-scoring works as evaluated by a panel of judges and an audience poll.

03F-12: Peacemaker’s Summit
Kathy Goodwin-Boyd; NHS, $500

This grant will allow students in the revived high school peer mediation program to participate in an annual conference at Hampshire College in May 2004. The benefits to the students include: training beyond what they initially received; an opportunity to network and brainstorm with other students; and exposure to different ideas about how to successfully implement and support a mediation program within a school setting. Participation in the conference will enhance Ms. Goodwin-Boyd’s skills to provide the training and support that the NHS mediators need as they work to develop and maintain a successful program.

03F-13: Transition to Grade Six – A Book and Web Site
John Crescitelli; JFK, $1,210

In 1999 NEF funded a project to create the book, Through the Eyes of Sixth Graders – Life at J.F.K., which proved to be an invaluable resource to incoming and prospective students. This grant will support a rewrite and publication of an updated book and its accompanying Web site. The need for this stems from many changes that have occurred at the middle school, including changes in building leadership, schedules, courses, and teams. The project integrates literacy, computer technology, and community service, and through it students hone their writing and revision skills and learn to understand the needs of their audience.

SPRING 2003 AWARDS - (Projects to be completed between 7/1/03 and 6/30/04)

03S-1: NHS Website/Community Service Grant
Bill Brown and Ellen Nigrosh; NHS, $1,250

This is a second-year grant to continue the work begun on the NHS Web site ( during the 2002-2003 school year. The Web site continues to have enormous potential to enhance the educational resources of NHS, improve communication, and build community among its students, teachers, parents, and the wider Northampton community. The grant will fund a stipend for Bill Brown to continue managing the site and advise and coordinate the activities of the NHS Web and Graphic Design Club, an extracurricular activity for students interested in learning more about Web design and offering community service to the school.   The grant will also fund training for and the purchase of Web design software.

03S-2: Synapse: NHS Writing Group & Literary Magazine
Michele Turner-Bernhard; NHS, $1,000

This project will resurrect Synapse, the NHS Literary Magazine, which has been dormant for several years. The grant will fund a stipend for Michele Turner-Bernhard to facilitate weekly meetings with the NHS Writing Group, and to oversee the publication of Synapse in Fall 2003 and Spring 2004. This project will have the effect of bringing student voices to the whole school and community of Northampton by publishing student work.

03S-3: Books Touch Lives
Rich Winnick and Sally Wylde; NHS, $470

This is a proposal to stimulate students’ interest in reading and increase the use of the NHS library through the display of books that have had a significant impact on the lives of NHS faculty and staff. The books, along with descriptions and brief statements from the faculty and staff about how particular books changed the way they see the world, will be displayed on a rotating basis on easels in the NHS library.

03S-4: SOCA: Student of Color Association.
Aneesah L. Akbar-Ugdah and Ernie Brill; NHS, $1,500

This grant will provide the seed money to establish a Student of Color Association at NHS. The group began meeting during the 2002-2003 school year but needs funds to get organized and become fully functional. The goal of the group is to create an antiracist and multiculturally aware community at NHS. Planned activities include a Diversity Week in the Fall of 2003; culture nights throughout the school year introducing students to a variety of foods, dances, and music; guest speakers for schoolwide assemblies; attending lectures and workshops in the Five College area; and sponsoring a year-end public celebration of performances, skits, and cultural dances.

03S-5: Northampton History is U.S. History.
Michael Sullivan; JFK, $856

This grant will allow Michael Sullivan to compile 30 binders of primary source material on Northampton’s history to be used in conjunction with the eighth grade social studies curriculum. Northampton’s rich history will bring alive the broader stories and themes of our nation’s past. The primary source material, including old maps, pictures, and articles, has been gathered over the years from local sources and will now be laminated and preserved in binders, which can be used by the 8th grade students throughout the year and shared with other JFK teachers.

03S-6: Gamelan Music
Candy Carlisle; JFK, $675

This grant will fund the introduction of Javanese Gamelan music to 7th graders at JFK. Students will learn techniques to play a nine-part instrumental ensemble. Onemusic class during each of the five exploratory block sessions will travel to Smith College to play authentic Gamelan instruments under the direction of ethnomusicologist Margaret Sarkissian.

03S-7: Literacy, Technology and Real World Connections
Trish Duffy; Bridge St., $2,000

The aim of this project is to increase student literacy through technology, specifically the use of digital cameras to create appropriate reading materials at the emergent reader level. It includes components for the entire Bridge St. elementary school, incorporating professional development for all staff and direct instruction for the grade 4-5 students (and teachers), with the K-3 students and the community program Even Start being the beneficiaries of the creation of 100 emergent reading books by the 4th and 5th graders.

03S-8: Reading Between the Lions.
Donna Park and Trish Duffy; Bridge St., $1,020

"Reading Between the Lions,” a public television (PBS) program series, will be introduced into the kindergarten and first grades at Bridge St. elementary school.The program is set in an extraordinary library that is run by a family of lion puppets and uses stories, music, and lively word play to help young children enjoy and learn about reading. The NEA-recommended program has won many awards for its reading instruction in the areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.The program will be shared with interested teachers throughout the school system at a Professional Development Day during the 2003-2004 school year.

03S-9: Language Sharing Program Curriculum Group
Gwen Agna, Kim Gerould, Maria Garcia; Jackson St., $2,000

This second-year grant continues the work of the Dual Language Study Group begun last year by developing a well-articulated curriculum for the Language Sharing Program at Jackson St. The curriculum will address both language and content-based objectives for each grade, create a logical progression from grade to grade, address the needs of both native Spanish, “heritage” Spanish, and English speakers, develop model lessons in science, social studies, and math that demonstrate best practices in language teaching through content areas, and develop methods of assessment. NEF will fund the teacher time necessary to meet these objectives, and also provide for professional development opportunities in the areas of second language/world language pedagogy, curriculum development and program design.

03S-10 Teaching Through Simulations
Ann Walaszek, Carol Smith, Pixie Holbrook; Ryan Rd. $1,609

This grant will bring history to life in 5th grade classrooms at Ryan Rd. School, through the implementation of historical simulations. Students will become active learners of history by assuming new identities and working cooperatively with their classmates. There will be opportunities for decision-making, and for students to employ their learning strengths. The enactment of the historical simulations will also include artwork, music, acting, advanced mathematical reasoning, lots of reading and writing, record keeping, scientific studies, and lots of hard work and fun. NEF will fund the purchase of the historical simulation kits, as well as materials and teacher planning time to organize and implement the projects.

03S-11: Academic Support Room
Gwenn Dzierzamowski, Pixie Holbrook, Mary Lorenz; R.K. Finn/Ryan Rd., $1,090

Project leaders seek to bridge the gap between special education and regular education students needing a little bit of help by piloting an Academic Support Room at Ryan Rd. School. The room will be open daily from 2:30-3:00 p.m. and will serve the needs of 4th and 5th grade students who require minimal special education support or who need support but do not qualify for special education. The focus will be on helping students to build study skills and organizational skills, but will include specific skills reinforcement. Students will be referred to the room for two-week rotations, where they will be assigned a study carrel, given a set of study tools, and will work on their individual goal/contract.


Last Updated: January 9, 2008