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Northampton Education Foundation
P.O. Box 299, Northampton, MA  01061
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2006-2007 Funded Projects

Fall 2006 | Spring 2006


FALL 2006 AWARDS - $17,670.00 awarded! (Projects to be completed between 1/1/07-6/30/07)

F06-01: Transition Book for Incoming Sixth Graders $1200
John Crescitelli; JFK
Students create a book, Through our Eyes - Life at J.F.K., for incoming sixth graders, explaining the ins-and-outs of JFK. Incorporating technology and language arts by using digital photography, publishing software, expository writing and website design, students create both the book and a website. The books distributed by this project in past years have been most welcome by Northampton fifth graders, and also by secondary school schools throughout the US, who learned about it through the website. The project received rave reviews when presented at the New England League of Middle Schools Annual Conference in the spring of 2006.

F06-2: Bridge Street School Fourth Annual Science Fair $1,275
Joan Tabachnick, Johanna McKenna, Karen Hurd; BSS
Over the years, the BSS Science Fair has grown to include more than half of the student body at BSS. Teachers work with students in grades 2-5 to develop science projects tied to their educational curriculum and suitable for exhibition, helping those interested in participating in the science fair. If out-of-class time is necessary, students may participate in any one of five days of a week-long after-school clinic. The science fair will be held over the course of two days, and each student will receive a “winner’s certificate” for successful participation.

F06-3: Alternative Renewable Energy Sources $2,000
Douglas Andrew, Ellen Kennedy, Jim Kohrman, Brandon Abbott; JFK
This project entails showing and using models of many different alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen fuel cell cars, solar panels for cars and houses, wind turbines, and hydroelectricity. The equipment purchased by this grant will be available to all 8th grade students. Some will build the models and the others, together with the 6th and 7th graders, will be invited to demonstrations.

F06-4: Developing Reading Fluency Through Picture Books $1,600
Pamela Gauthier-Lynes, Ann Walasek, Joan Leonard, Patti Chandler; JFK
All JFK students in the reading program will complete an in-depth study of selected picture books, do oral presentations for their class, take part in classroom presentations by a children’s author and an illustrator, and read to pre-school children, including once at Forbes Library’s story time.

F06-5: Family Empowerment Project $1,950
Mary Cowhey, Kim Gerould, Eneida Garcia; JSS
This project will cultivate family and community leadership, especially among low-income families and people of color, to collaborate in creating a model to close the achievement gap. The project involves identifying and meeting with family member and community participants, sending two participants to attend a popular education training at Highlander Research Education Center in Tennessee, and conducting a weekend workshop in which 20-30 family and community leaders take part in community-building activities, facilitated discussions, communal meals, cultural activities, and generation of action plans.

F06-6: Bridget Street School Newspaper $910
Jane Fleishman, Johanna McKenna, Mary Tighe; BSS
With guidance from parents and teachers, students will take key leadership roles, identifying a process for submitting materials, selecting materials, notifying students of their selection, layout, printing, and distribution. Content will include artistic and written work, including interviews of students and faculty.

F06-7: World Rythms and Les Ballets Africains: West African Connections $2,000
The band World Rythms will conduct a 2-3 day intensive residency on West African culture, music, storytelling, and dance, for grades 2-4. The band leader, Tony Vacca, will be a delegation member on a trip to Senegal in February, 2007, and will communicate experiences to JSS and other schools around the country via a website. Also included are performances of Les Ballets Africains at each of the elementary schools.

F06-8: Family Writing Nights $525
Leslie Skantz-Hodgson; SVAHS
The project will improve reading and writing skills, promote parental involvement in student learning, and celebrate diversity. Students and parents will write about a randomly chosen topic, then discuss the various viewpoints, responses, and genres used, including how culture informs responses. Another session will involve creative writing prompts and letter writing activities designed to lay the foundation for longer pieces.

F06-9: The NHS Community: A Visual Celebration $1,000
Martha McCormick; NHS
Students in the Printmaking and Book Arts Class will learn from a local printmaker the techniques of monotype printing and the incorporation of these prints into collages. Students will create printed papers for collage, then reflect on their community in the high school and produce at least six collaborative works exploring this theme.

F06-10: Under One Sky, Part Two $2,000
Beth Brady, Barbara Dihlmann, Paula Drabek, Cindy Berry; RKFRRS
Second grade teachers will help students to interview family members, map their country of origin and learn about their own ethnicity and culture of origin through songs in different languages and dance. Roger Tincknell, a musician, will then be invited to conduct a 4½-day residency, facilitating the teaching of the Social Studies curriculum “E Pluribus Unum” through music and folkdances from many cultures. The residency will culminate in performances of songs and dances to an audience of kindergarten and first grade students.

F06-11: FLC Mindfulness and Stress-Reduction $2,000
NHS/FLC
This project is designed to introduce interested juniors and seniors to a variety of self-reflection/-awareness, stress-management, and coping tools, such as Yoga, meditative breathing, visualization, reiki, acupuncture, and other techniques. Studies have shown that these techniques help increase focus, self-discipline, self-awareness, and healthy behavior, while reducing stress and anxiety among teens. The project will integrate these techniques into several classes, create and run an intensive spring seminar, and educate FLC staff in restorative techniques so that they may also benefit personally and maintain the continuity of the practice beyond the scope of the grant.

F06-12 Friends of Charlotte $1,210
Susan Lavallee, Barbara Kowalski, Lynne Lovett; RKFRRS
Fourth graders will read Charlotte’s Web and, together with kindergartners, create a story board to depict each chapter. They will then take part in drawing lessons, create “Barnyard posters” to be displayed in the schools’ entry, and write. Finally, fourth grade and kindergarten students will attend a live theater production by THEATERWORKS USA.

SPRING 2006 AWARDS - $27,577.40 awarded! (Projects to be completed between 7/1/06 and 6/30/07)

06S-1 A Celebration of Ancient and Classical Greece $1,000
JFK Middle School: Tracy Dawson-Greene, Diana Ajjan, Nick Kachulis

During the last two years a pilot project involving a team of two teachers, Nick Kachulis, and 50+ students per year has taken place at the school. Based on this successful experience, the current program extends the project, using NEF and other grant funds, to include two additional 7th grade teams, four more core curriculum teachers, and four specials teachers. The project is an integrated learning program about Ancient Greek mythology, history, and culture, using stories, art, music, dance, dramatic play, technology, research, and classroom projects for 240+ 7th graders. Mr. Kachulis will work with teachers to plan, create and implement lesson plans and extensions for the program. A student showcase, professional development, curriculum development, and a community service learning program are included.

06S-2 Ryan Road Garden Project $1,840
Ryan Road School: Andrea Egitto, Beth Brady, Susan Lavallee, Pat Erikson, Barbara Dihlmann, Diana Ramsden

The kindergarten through second grade students at R.K. Finn Ryan Road Elementary School will design and develop landscaped flower beds and a vegetable garden in courtyards in and around the school grounds. The project will enhance the current Language Arts, math, and science curricula by creating meaningful learning experiences addressing an authentic need for planning, researching, record-keeping, measuring, and discovering the life cycle of plants. The gardens will also offer a place for children to go who are having a rough time in class to find solace and offer constructive tasks to blow off steam.

06S-3 Understanding Issues to Close the Achievement Gap $1,225
Ryan Road: Barbara Black, Mary Ellen Reed, Diane Connors

Teachers will meet to discuss readings related to closing the achievement gap. Teachers will read and discuss The Shame of the Nation, by Jonathan Kozol, and selected related articles. They will then develop an action plan to address the achievement gap, and begin implementing it. It is anticipated that the action plan will be incorporated into the school’s Improvement Plan.

06S-4 Community Members and Children Read Together $2,000
All schools: Johanna McKenna, Janet Gary

The idea of this proposal is to give volunteers training in tutoring reading so that thy are more effective and feel more confident as reading tutors. The project consists of a series of workshops offered to community volunteers in the fall of 2006, and repeat for a second group of volunteers in the spring of 2007. Dr Donna Park, a retired NPS Reading Specialist, will lead the workshops. Tutors will learn techniques for helping children read, and methods of tracking progress through record keeping, feedback, and reflection on their experiences as reading tutors. This program will provide tutors with literacy knowledge and confidence in tutoring children at any school in our city. Bringing community members into the schools will give them insight into the challenges of educating our children and the notion that they can make a difference.

06S-5 Kindergarten ABC Book $450
Ryan Road: Sue Lucey, Margaret Riddle

Students in grades 1 and 2 will write and illustrate an ABC book specific to our school, to be copied and given to incoming kindergarten students the next year. The students creating the book will be resource room students, who need to practice literacy skills in an authentic format with a real audience.

06S-6 Shakespeare & Company Performance and Workshops $2,000
JFK Middle School: Diana Ajjan, Elaine Kachavos

This project includes a performance by Shakespeare & Company for all eighth grade students, as well as three workshops supporting a Banana Split and Blue Dolphin student production of A midsummer Night’s Dream. The project is a springboard for a unit on Shakespeare, in which students will delve deeper into the life of Shakespeare, research Elizabethan culture, and read, analyze and perform the play. The participation of Shakespeare & Company will take place in one school day in April, 2007.

06S-7 Phonics Curriculum Collaboration $2,000
Bridge Street and Jackson Street Schools: Mary Bates, Patty Dubiel, Alice Mahar, Beth Monopoli, Shirley Skorupski

This is the second year of an interschool collaboration between first grade teachers from the two schools. Last summer, they designed Word Study activities and materials to support the first sequence of lessons from the Phonics Lessons program. This summer they plan to develop the materials, picture and word cards, games, and other activities needed to support the next sequence of lessons. These materials will allow teachers to implement the program from the fall into the spring in upcoming year(s).

06S-8 R.K. Finn Ryan Road School Family Literacy Project: A Home-School Partnership
$1,200

Ryan Road School: Carlene Osborn, Beth Brady, Andrea Egitto, Patricia Erikson, Diana Ramsden, Barbara Dihlmann, Paula Drubek, Mary Lorenz, Susan Lucey, Portia Keating-Heller
The school has several large boxes of unleveled single-copy books in its Literacy Resource Center. Training on leveling will be provided to school staff so that they may organize the books by independent reading levels. A brochure will be developed for parents/caregivers, providing instruction on helping emergent readers. Staff and volunteers will assemble book bags for children and families to borrow, including level-consistent books, the brochure, and a response sheet.

06S-9 Building Our Community $1,202.40
Ryan Road School: Margaret Riddle, Susan Lucey

ESPs (educational support personnel) and teachers will read selected chapters from Creating a Safe and Friendly School, and use the ideas to develop further their implementation of Responsive Classroom philosophy, particularly as they affect recess and lunch. By providing time for them to meet, the project addresses the need for these two staff groups to coordinate the Responsive Classroom philosophy.

06S-10 Engineering is Elementary $2,000
Jackson Street School: Gwen Agna, Eidan Webster

JSS plans to build on their success in the spring of 2006 in introducing a new Boston Museum of Science engineering curriculum. They piloted the unit in the 3rd grade, made the materials available to the pre-school for activities, and the 5th grade is scheduled for activities in May, 2006. JSS now proposes to expand the units in an age-appropriate way for the remaining grades, and also to provide support to teachers in the 3rd and 5th grades who try to teach this on their own in the 2006-2007 school year. Finally, the project will continue to offer books, lesson plans and experience to interested elementary school teachers from the other NPS schools.

06S-11 The JFK Youth Radio Project $1,965
JFK Middle School: Dinah Mack

The project will offer students an opportunity to write, record, edit and produce radio programming to be aired on Valley Free Radio 103.3, and to form a Radio Club. In the 2005-2006 school year, students on the Big East Team (7th grade) worked to create 10-15 minute radio programs about child labor as part an integrated Social Studies and English unit on globalization and child labor in Southwest Asia. The unit will be repeated next year with the support of this project. Another unit, called Collecting Oral Histories, will explore ageism. Students will record the stories of the elderly within our community and share their own experiences of ageism against children. The project will teach radio skills and also lead students to be more involved in their community.

06S-12 Utilizing GPS in Education $2,000
JFK Middle School: Keri Camarigg, David Driscoll, Lee Mollison, Sharon Carlson

This grant allows the Physical Education Department to reinforce and enhance students’ math and science skills through the use of a hand-held GPS device while learning the skills involved in orienteering. After teaching basic compass navigation skills, students will practice using a GPS to locate designated targets. Project leaders will try to develop a “geo-caching course.”

06S-13 Down the Hall, Across the Divide $2,000
JFK Middle School: Julie Spencer-Robinson

JFK is home to the Pre-Vocational I program of the Hampshire Educational Collaborative, under which ten students with developmental disabilities, including cereral palsy and Asperger Syndrome, are educated by Kevin Mulvaney and his staff. A few doors down the hallway, Ms. Spencer-Robinson teaches her sixth grade regular and special education students. Both of these groups of students are visible to one another and curious about each other. This project will provide an opportunity for these two groups of students to study together, and to learn about and from one another. They will read and discuss books, create art projects, interview and write about each other, hold social events, and go on a field trip together.

06S-14 A Closer Look $1,695
All Elementary Schools: Trish Duffy, Camilla Munska

During the 2005-2006 school year, NPS implemented a new science curriculum. This project creates multimedia presentations and books for the grade 1 science topic “Living Organisms.” Using photographs and media clips from a digital microscope and/or a video camera, the project will create PowerPoint presentations for guppies, bess beetles, millipedes and snails. The presentations will be posted on the Internet and burned to CDs fro classroom teachers, with accompanying books for research and reference for each classroom. The project addresses the need for more science materials, technology, and age-appropriate reading materials at the lower elementary level.

06S-15 Multi-Cultural Celebrations and Diversity Week $2,000
Northampton High School: Carolyn Gardner, Beth Dichter

The project aims to support activities hosted by SOCA (Students of Color Association) during its multi-cultural celebration and diversity week. The week’s activities will promote dialogue among SOCA’s members and the NHS community through workshops and guest speakers who will address issues such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. In addition, the project will connect NHS SOCA members with SOCA members in other school districts, or with long-distance speakers, through the use of NHS’s video conferencing equipment.

06S-16 Forensics Field Trip $1,000
Northampton High School: Kate Dollard, Susan Lincoln

Students from NHS’s Forensics class will visit the Springfield College Cadaver Lab and the Forensics Labs at Travelers Insurance in Windsor, CT. Students will see and experience instrumentation and real forensic evidence at Insurance Company. At the Cadaver Lab, students will see how an autopsy is done. About 100 students will take part, and apply what they see and learn to case study work in class.

06S-17 Project Smart $2,000
Northampton High School: Beth Singer, Lisann Giordano, Heather Teed, Sam Intrator

SMART is a partnership program between NHS and Smith College that works to close the achievement gap and to help under-privileged students pursue more rigorous high school studies and to prepare for college. The program is designed to help these students be successful and comfortable in the higher level high school courses. Activities will include: arranging visits to college fairs and colleges, providing access to the Internet and to other educational tools, developing instructional materials for students and classrooms, and arranging tutorial support in high school classes by Smith students.


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Last Updated: January 9, 2008