NEF Logo
Northampton Education Foundation
P.O. Box 299, Northampton, MA  01061
NEF Home   |  Endowment  |  Small Grants Program  |  SOS Book Fund  |  Spelling Bee  |  Forms  |  Contact Us


2007-2008 Funded Projects

Fall 2007 | Spring 2007

FALL 2007 AWARDS - $16,042 awarded! (Projects to be completed between 1/1/08 and 6/30/08)

07F-1 JSS- Families with Power/Familias con Poder (2nd year) $2,000.
Mary Cowhey, Kim Gerould, Luz Eneida Garcia, Maria Aguilar-Gawle.
This project intentionally cultivates family and community leadership, not just involvement, especially among low income families and people of color to collaborate in creating a model to close the achievement gap. The project strives to empower these families/leaders to actively name the problem rather than being named the problem and to develop plans of action to improve the situation rather than have other people talk about “those children in the achievement gap”. It will build upon its past successes to enhance the program further. Current plans include the expansion of cultural organizing and starting a musical group for children and parents in the Puerto Rican tradition, additional popular education workshops with PWP/FCP parents assuming a leading role in running the workshops and a six week Family Writing Project.

07F-2 Leeds – Inspiring Young American “Leed-ers” (1st year) $1000.
Karen Bryant, Denise Wood, Suzanne Scallion.
The project will help Leeds School students learn about civic values (courage, integrity, respect, responsibility, justice, perseverance, and initiative) while they learn about a variety of famous American citizens who embodied these values. Each of 17 classes will choose an extraordinary historic person to study and will examine his/her life, values, ideals and behaviors. Through performance, writing, music and art, individual classes will demonstrate their understandings to the large Leeds community during their bi-monthly school wide Community Meetings.

07F-3 NHS – Expressing Identity: Inspired by African Beaded Sculpture (1st year) $600.
Martha McCormick.
Inspired by the exhibit “African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment” at the Smith College Museum of Art, this project is a unit of study for the 3-D Design and Sculpture Class, exploring the use of glass beads in the art of three distinct areas of Africa with students creating their own works of art reflecting social and political aspects of their own experiences/lives. The exhibit focuses on the cross cultural nature of beaded art as well as the political (colonialization) and social aspects of these creations. The students would visit and view the exhibit and create their own works of beaded art that reflect the artistic, social and political elements of their own lives. The project builds collaboration with Smith College as well as contributing to the NHS goal of working toward becoming a multicultural school.

07F-4 RKF Ryan Road - Ryan Road Garden Project (2nd year) $500
Andrea Egitto.
The students at RKF Ryan Road School will continue to plant vegetable and flower gardens in the courtyards and school garden. The students will compost lunch and snack waste to create rich soil for their gardens.

07F-5 JSS- Dandelion Paper: Science Art Journals (1st year) $1500
Molly Burnham, Brigitta Sebesta, Sheryl Jaffe, Rob Adams.
In this 10 day extended event, all 3rd grade students and teachers at JSS will make paper by hand from plants collected on school grounds and will create their own books from the paper. These books will become a centerpiece of the student’s science curriculum unit: plants and environment. Each student will make the paper, sew the pages, write and illustrate their own book. Finally, students will share the books with other students at an authors’ tea where parents and the school community will be invited. The books will be displayed in the library.

07F-6 NHS – Forensics Field Trip to Traveler’s Insurance Company (2nd year) $825.
Kate Dollard.
NHS Forensics classes will visit and tour the forensics laboratory at a private company that has a large forensic work force. They will meet with the senior forensics scientist at Travelers who has worked in forensics for 25 years and serves as an expert witness in questioned documents, arson investigation and food contamination. Since most people associate forensics with police work, this field trip and tour will give students a new way to think about forensics as a career choice. The students will see techniques employed and instrumentation used that they have studied. As with the trip to Smith and Wesson in June, 06, there may very well be unexpected learning outcomes from this experiential research opportunity.

07F-7 Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School- Reading the Forested Landscape (1st year) $1470
Jonathan Parrott.
Students participating in this project will measure the age (dendrochronology) and heights (geometry) of several common tree species in different woodlots. This participatory activity will allow students through their collected data, to compare the growing conditions between forest lands. Comparisons will lead to discussions of underlying soil conditions, succession, and forest hydrology.

07F-8 ECE Dept – The Incredible Years Parent Training Project (1st year) $1956.
Cynthia Monahon, Erika Frank.
Pilot parent training for 12 Northampton parents whose young children struggle with aggression, non-compliance, and poor social competence. Parents of children ages 3 through 8 will be eligible for participation in this group-based training. This collaboration between N’ton public schools and the local Cutchins Children’s Clinic will permit the first western Massachusetts application of the “Incredible Years”, an evidence-based and award-winning parent training program developed by psychologist Carolyn Webster-Stratton in Washington State. Research on children’s readiness to learn consistently underlines the importance of individual emotional, social and behavioral capacities rather than intellectual ability. Children with significant emotional and behavioral problems experience greater difficulties meeting learning objectives throughout their school years and can interfere with the learning needs of other students. Two leaders who are trained, senior-level child clinicians) will run a twelve week program for up to 12 parents. Sessions include dinner and childcare. Participation is voluntary on the part of parents who are screened by leaders for appropriateness for the program.

07F-9 NHS – Design and Construction of Portable Display Boards and Exhibition Space for Art Dept at NHS (1st year) $1000.
Lisa Leary, Greg Kochan.
This project will increase visible display space within the school for students in the Art Dept. Both permanent and portable exhibition space will be constructed for greater visibility as well as critique exhibition. Exhibition space will be in various locations throughout the high school including the theater and auditorium to coincide with musical and theatrical productions. The art department will collaborate with the maintenance department at the High School to create these display boards and exhibition spaces. Students will be engaged in the production of the display boards as well as have the opportunity to exhibit their work.

07F-10 NHS – WWII History through Artifacts and Survivor Stories $400.
Mark Baldwin, Kate Todhunter, Scott Mahar.
The proposal requests funding to visit two museums related to WWII, one related to naval warfare, the other related to the Holocaust. This partial funding will enable students to visit the Holocaust Education Center to add to their understanding of the historical events of WWII through experiential learning. The students will complete pre- and post trip writing assignments. They will see “history come alive” through actual artifacts, exhibits and primary sources.

07F-11 Leeds – Introduction to Orienteering (1st year) $1291.
Andrew Foster, Annette Bischoff, Hannah Kristek.
Fourth and Fifth grade students at Leeds will complete a series of six orienteering courses on the school grounds. Courses will be completed in either the late winter or early spring. They will be designed by an outside consultant in conjunction with Leeds staff. The courses will focus primarily on map skills and physical education goals however students will be developing a broad range of sills related to orienteering including but not limited to : map reading and interpretation, team building an cooperation, problem solving, physical and mental exercise, and environmental studies. Students will begin traditional map skill work in the classroom. They will continue group building as preparation for the orienteering courses and will develop a repertoire of physical activities during regular PE classes for use at the orienteering checkpoints. By making connections between class work and real life encounters (map work and orienteering), students have a greater likelihood of experiencing learning that will be profound and lasting. The project will extend to 110 students in the first year and the materials generated by the program can be used for years to come in future orienteering efforts at no additional cost.

07F-12 NHS…BSS Collaboration - Teaching Chemistry (2nd year) $2000.
Susan Biggs.
In its second year, this project will again provide another chemistry option to more of the high school students than the current high school chemistry curriculum can accommodate. It allows students to continue to probe the concepts of chemistry they learned in their first year while sharing their interest in the subject with elementary students. The high school students will work in small project groups of 4 – 6 students who will be matched with two same grade-level elementary classes. In coordination with the elementary teachers, the team will develop lesson presentation complete with demonstrations and experiment material for their assigned elementary classes. Each lesson will be supported by written work appropriate to the grade level it is taught to. The students will travel to the elementary school to present their lessons, return to NHS to improve on and revise the lesson, and return to the elementary school a second time to present the same lesson to their second same grade level class. Twelve different lesions will be produced and taught during the course of the semester. It is an innovative way to provide a win, win, win for elementary and high school students alike.

07F-13 JFK – Music of Greece, the Balkans, and the Middle East (1st year) $500.
Rob Urbank, Steven Hinks, Nick Kachulis.
This project is aligned with the 7th grade music curriculum around World Music, instrument families, and meter and sub-divisions of the beat. The project is timed to coordinate with A Celebration of Ancient Greece, a multi-disciplinary learning program using storytelling, art, music, drama, computer technology, reading, writing and research projects to teach the history, mythology and culture of Ancient Greece for the 7th grade. The musical ensemble wishes to offer four hands-on workshops for 7th grade students in Music exploratory block classes and a concert for Big East 7th grade students. Approximately 80 students will attend one of the four workshops and ninety students will attend the concert.

07F-14 JFK – Focus the Nation: Sustainability, Renewable Energy and Conservation $1,000.
Douglas Andrew, Ellen Kennedy, Jim Kohrman.
This project has as its goals to use a nationwide curriculum adopted by many colleges(including Smith College), and high schools to empower students to make a change in their own and others’ daily habits regarding energy usage and global warming. It will also strive to educate the students to advocate for change in public policy. The students will use JFK as a laboratory to examine the school environment regarding sustainability issues and to brainstorm with other students about ways to make JFK more energy and cost efficient. They will participate in creating science projects regarding solar, wind and bio-diesel power. They will participate in a national Focus the Nation Day.

07F-15 Florence Learning Center – Improvisation Class (1st year) $500.
Chip Kaufman, Heidi Haas
The goal of the improvisation class is to provide another venue for kids who otherwise are not easily engaged in a traditional learning environment to rekindle their interest in school. Students will be working towards a performance, created by the students, at the end of the semester. They will be writing and performing their own material which will strengthen writing, speaking and listening skills. Additionally, theater can promote tolerance, boost confidence, improve social skills, and help create and strengthen a sense of community.

SPRING 2007 AWARDS - $17,258 awarded! (Projects to be completed between 7/1/07 and 6/30/08)

07S-1 Creative Moviemaking – Take 1 (JFK Middle School) $2,000
Katherine Fleming
This project will introduce the use of video technology in classrooms and teach students and staff how to produce and edit documentaries and drama. They can also use the technology to assist in and language and other class activities.

07S-2 Math Problems Across the Grades (Ryan Road Elementary School) $1,000
Margaret Riddle, Paula Drabek, Barbara Kowalski, Pat Erikson, Mary Lorenz, Beth Brady, Diana Ramsden, Cindy Berry
Ryan Road Elementary School has an excellent math curriculum and program that is based on problem-solving. This project will enhance their ability to modify problems to meet the needs of all learners and to analyze student work for understanding. Teachers will read and discuss a math journal, try out problems across the grades, and analyze children’s work for comprehension.

07S-3 Welcoming Everyone into Our Community (Ryan Road Elementary School) $1,925
Margaret Riddle, Sharon Matrishon, Barbara Dihlman
Ten percent of Ryan Road Elementary School School students live at Florence Heights, and most of them depend on public transportation, which does not come to the school. This project will provide a school bus for these children and families so that they can attend after-school events at our school.

07S-4 How to Talk So Kids Can Learn (Ryan Road Elementary School) $1,800 [second year]
Susan Lucey, Margaret Riddle, Diane Keating, Alison Gleason, Pat Erikson, Diana Ramsden, Adrea Egitto, Michelle Smiarowski-Kay, Carlene Osborn, Pat Connors, Paula Drabek, Cindy Berry, Evelyn Gore, Patty Tosswill, Lynne Lovett
ESPs and teachers must work collaboratively and consistently with students yet they have almost no chance to do professional training together. This is the second year teachers and ESPs will gather to read a Responsive Classroom book that addresses both groups. The intended result is to provide clarity and consistency for students. Last year’s grant was wildly successful, with the group of participants growing at each session. The positive effects of this initiative are noticed every day.

07S-5 Nostalgic Old Fashion Fun (Ryan Road Elementary School) $900
Susan Lavallee, Barbara Kowalski
The two teachers of Kindergarten and 4th grade, respectively, will welcome VINS volunteers into their classroom for up to six ½-hour periods to teach the children to play board games appropriate to their age level. After several months the classes will partner to practice their game skills together. Families will also be able to borrow the project’s board games for playing at home.

07S-6 The Bridge Street Chess Club and Tournament (Bridge Street Elementary School) $500
Johanna McKenna, Pamela Schwartz, Laure Sperry
This project will launch an after-school chess club. Its first year will include fourth and fifth graders, with a tournament to further engage and reward participants and to generate school-wide interest. In subsequent years the club will expand to include second and third graders.

07S-7 Salsa and Swing: Dancing with the Students! (Bridge Street Elementary School) $1,255
Johanna McKenna, Pamela Schwartz, Craig Murdoch, William Duffy
Learning salsa and swing dance provides an opportunity for students to be introduced to different cultures and styles through movement. In this project, students will learn about dance history, technique, musicality, and dance patterns. Fifty-five fourth graders will learn the two dances with a professional dance instructor and the school’s PE teacher, then perform them during a school assembly.

07S-8 The JFK Youth Radio Project (JFK Middle School) $878 [second year]
Dinah Mack
JFK Youth Radio got underway in January, 2007, and now meets once a week. There are 19 members signed up, from the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, with more asking to join daily. Ms. Mack trained the original group in digital recording and the editing software, and the students themselves have been training the newer members. Students have created programming on local hunger and Greek philosophy, both to air on Valley Free Radio. The current grant will support the club for another year and provide more equipment and supplies.

07S-9 Literacy Through Photography: Closing the Gap for Underachieving Students (Northampton High School) $2,000
Kate Way, Michael Jabson-Hardy
Twenty to thirty students will borrow the project’s cameras to document their lives, both in and outside of school. The focus will be on combining written and visual literacy as a means of expression, and on producing work of quality and depth which reflects the students’ lives. Photographs and writing excerpts from each student will be shown at Forbes Library next spring and possibly be published in a book.

07S-10 Veterans in the Classroom (Smith Vocational School and Florence Learning Center) $2,000
Robert Wilson, Kathy Brown, Bill Brown, Arthur Apostolu
The project will bring volunteer veteran speakers, trained by the Veterans Education Project (VEP), into classrooms to give presentations that will complement the History, English, Health, Violence Prevention, and Substance Abuse Prevention curricula. Speakers will share compelling stories about important historical eras, drawn from wartime and civilian life experiences, from the 1940s to the present.

07S-11 Down the Hall, Across a Divide (JFK Middle School) $2,000 [second year]
Julie Spencer-Robinson
Ms. Spencer-Robinson notes that the first year of this grant provided one of the best experiences of her teaching career. Ten students with developmental disabilities spend time with a sixth grade reading class of regular and special education students. This project provides a weekly opportunity for the two classes to learn about each other and from each other, through reading and writing on themes including disability. In addition to classroom shared activities, the two classes have social events and a field trip to the Eric Carle Museum.

07S-12 Engineering is Elementary (Jackson Street School) $1,000 [third year]
Gwen Agna, Dan Berger
In the first two years of this project, mechanical engineering was taught in the 3rd and 5th grades, agricultural engineering was taught in the 4th grade, and some short units were introduced in grade 1. The activities, developed by the Boston Museum of Science,
have been led by a graduate of the Smith College Engineering program. Classroom teachers are on hand so that they might lead the activities in future years. The goal in the third year of the project is to introduce more units of the curriculum.


Last Updated: September 15, 2009