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Northampton Education Foundation
P.O. Box 299, Northampton, MA  01061
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2008-2009 Funded Projects

Fall 2008 | Spring 2008


Fall 2008 AWARDS - $24,891 awarded! (Projects to be completed between 1/1/09 and 6/30/09)

08F-1 Inspiring Young Writers (1 st year) RFKRR $1,991
Margaret Riddle, Paula Drabek, Cindy Berry, Sara Simmons
The goal of this project is to inspire students to write fluently. A consultant will lead a series of eight writing workshops in each third grade classroom. As a result, students will be able to recognize the strengths in their pieces and teachers will learn how to lead the workshops themselves. Each student’s favorite piece will be published in a class booklet. In addition, a writing workshop for the entire faculty will be offered so that other grade levels may benefit as well.

08F-2 Kindergarten and the Bauhaus(1 st year) RFKRR $2,000
Andrea Egitto, Michelle Smiarowski, Susan Lavallee, Ann Desmond, Barbara Kowalski Kindergarteners and their fourth grade learning buddies will explore the study of form and design using teaching styles from the Bauhaus art school in Germany. The students will visit the Bauhaus exhibit at the Smith College Museum of Art and subsequently create collages, weaves, block structures, mosaics, and together with a master carpenter they will build tables and benches for their classroom.

08F-3 Enchanted Circle Theater Arts Residency (2 nd year) JSS $2,000
Holly Ghazey, Paula Welchman, Kathleen Bredin, Mark Dean
An Enchanted Circle Theaterartist will spend 3-4 months working with 5 th graders, who will research, write, improvise, produce, and perform plays for local public performances. Students will identify stories on themes including local history, conflict, and community resolution. The NEF grant will be supplemented by three other grants for this project.

08F-4 Rhythms of the World (1 st year) JSS $1,700
Kim O’Connell, Leslie Farlow
Two artists from The Bamidele Dancers and Drummers will work with K-5 students on songs, dances, and instruments of West Africa. The music teacher will work with students on pieces in preparation for an all-school concert.

08F-5 Smile – Photography and Bookmaking (1 st year) JSS $2,000
Maria del Carmen Garcia, Mary Ellen Reed, Parmalee Jones
This project will integrate photography and literacy for Kindergarteners. Students will receive disposable cameras and be invited to take pictures at home and in their neighborhoods. The photographs will be turned into books which each student will write or dictate. Parents will be involved in various aspects of the project.

08F-6 Families with Power/Familias con Poder (3 rd year) JSS $1,000
Mary Cowhey, Kim Gerould, Janet Namano, Norma Cardona
This project uses basic concepts from the National Writing Project, with local family leaders modifying them for our community. A Family Writing Project will be held at the Meadowbrook Apartments Community Room over six weeks. Two-hour sessions co-facilitated by FWP parents and teachers will feature free writing, sharing published writing, and modeling particular writing styles. The project will conclude with a published bilingual anthology and community reading. The results of the project will be documented to make it replicable.

08F-7 Plena Drumming Artist Residency (1 st year) JSS $2,000
Mary Cowhey, Eneida Garcia, Lesley Farlow
Last school year an after-school plena (Puerto Rican) drumming program resulted in the formation of a student drumming group called Los Pleneritos. The current project will revive Los Pleneritos, featuring its members as “teaching assistants” to the third, fourth and fifth grades, during the artist residency classes led by professional plena group, Los Callejeros. Subsequently Los Callejeros will perform for the whole school. Finally, Los Pleneritos and Los Callejeros will offer a ten-week after-school drumming program for students and their families.

 08F-8 For Whom the “Belle” Tolls (1 st year) JSS/NHS $1,390
Susan Ebitz, Suzanne Strauss
After studying aspects of Emily Dickinson’s biography and poetry, students at NHS and fourth graders at JSS will partner four times for the purpose of developing and deepening their understanding of Dickinson and the beauty of her work. Docents from the Emily Dickinson Museum will visit and share artifacts and background material appropriate to the development of the students. Later, the two school groups will visit the museum together and use Dickinson’s poetry as a model to write their own at the very place where she composed 1800 poems.

08F-9 Creating a School Garden (1 st year) JSS $2,000
Mary Bates, Mary Ellen Reed, Jen Reed, Brigitta Sebesta
The goal is to create a school garden that functions as a viable outdoor classroom. A garden educator will assist teachers and students in the design and planning of the garden, with an emphasis on spring and fall crops. Teachers will use the garden for hands-on, place-based investigations, and real-life applications of concepts and skills in the areas of science, social studies, and math. The timeline for this project necessarily extends from the spring into the fall of 2009.

08F-10 Dance! Baile! Drum! (1 st year) JFK $1,000
Julie Spencer-Robinson
Seventy-five sixth-graders will learn Latin American and West African dance from native teachers. The two weeks of intensive dance and drumming instruction complement the varied approach to teaching about Latin America and Africa, which will also include: reading and writing, researching chosen topics, cooking food from the regions, and creating Latina American and African art projects.

08F-11 Middle School Science Fair (1 st year) JFK $1,386
Joan Tabachnick, Lesley Wilson, Kate Parrott
During class, and in after-school sessions, teachers will work with students to develop projects tied to the science curriculum and well-suited for exhibition. A science exposition will then be held over two days, with students presenting their work within the school. The PTO will host an evening reception for students, parents and teachers, in which three experts from the community will examine the projects and present each student with a winner’s certificate for successful participation.

 08F-12 Monumental History of the Pioneer Valley (1 st year) FLC $2,000
Randy Gordon, Jason Scavotto
Students will research a given town in Hampshire County, visit the chamber of commerce and/or historical society, locate and identify all known statues or other monuments, photograph them, research the significance of each in terms of local and national impact, and create a web page with the findings. A print book will also be created and presented to each town that was studied.

08F-13 Theater Improv (2 nd year) FLC $2.000
Chip Kaufman, Heidi Haas A theater consultant will meet with students twice a week throughout the spring for warm-up, check-in, and theater improvisation games. Students will also read plays, watch videos, and attend one or two live performances, focusing on three African American female artists. Students will have the option to perform either their own work or their adaptation of these playwrights’ works.

08F-14 Rags to Stitches: Enriching Middle Eastern Curriculum (1 st year) NHS $1,350
Ernie Brill, Sheryl Jaffe
A unit on Islamic/Middle Eastern literature will include studying the history of bookmaking, calligraphy, and papermaking in the Islamic world. Students will create their own handmade paper, books, and calligraphy, inspired by their readings and study of Islamic culture.

08F-15 Science Olympiad (1 st year) NHS $1,434
Susan Biggs
Forty-seven AP Chemistry students will attend the local Chemistry Olympiad competition in March, with the prospect of sending individuals on to the national and international Olymiads. NHS teams have had impressive results in past years, including, in 2004, sending two students to the nationals.

SPRING 2008 AWARDS - $19,271 awarded! (Projects to be completed between 7/1/08 and 6/30/09)

08S-1 How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (3rd year) RFKRR $900
Susan Lucey, Margaret Riddle, Patty Tesswill, Cindy Berry, Lynne Lovett, Pat Connors, Evelyn Gore
ESPs and teachers must work collaboratively and consistently with students yet they have almost no chance to do professional training together. 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. The positive effects of this initiative are noticed every day.

08S-2 Peer Educator Participation for Summer Adventure and Leadership Inst. (1st yr) JFK, NHS $2,000
Keri Camarigg, Salem Derby, Gail Scordilis
Twelve to fifteen incoming 9th grade students will be identified for participation based on risk factors. The goal of the program is to provide these students with support and strategies for improving in the identified categories of risk, through their participation in The Summer Adventure and Leadership Institute. The Institute will take place over five weeks, starting in July, 2008, and be led by high school students who have completed a semester-long Peer Educators course. Programming will include kayaking, rock climbing, problem solving, trust building, mountain biking. The project will receive substantial in-kind contributions from the Smith College, and the Northampton Athletic Club.

08S-3 Building Bridges (1st year) NHS $2,000
Maureen Moore, Yajaira Fuentes, Kathy Goodwin-Boyd, Ellen Hirschberg

This project provides an academic support component to at-risk students involved in the Summer Adventure and Leadership Institute. It will be carried out through the students’ first semester at NHS via in-class supports, and after-school tutoring and activities to help bring them. Skills learned during the summer will be reinforced on a consistent basis throughout the fall to help in a successful transition to NHS.

08S-4 Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble Residency (1st year) NHS $2,000
Stephen Eldredge, Jane Madden
The Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble residency will introduce NHS theater arts students to the methodology and techniques of physical theater through a 3-day intensive. The methodology used will explore “the actor’s readiness and availability, dramatically speaking.”

08S-5 Literacy Through Photography (2nd year) NHS $2,000
Kate Way, Michael Jacobson-Hardy
This year-long project will serve up to twenty “underachieving” students, who 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. The final phase of the project will be to select and combine various photographs and writing from each student into a group show to be exhibited in the area. At each step along the way, students will be learning skills deeply embedded in both language and image-based literacy.

08S-6 Down the Hall, Across a Divide (3rd year) JFK $1,000
Julie Spencer-Robinson
Ms. Spencer-Robinson notes that the previous years 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.

08S-7 Parent Math Nights (1st year) Leeds $1850
Michelle Subocz, Ruth Mackenzie, Kathleen LaJoie, Dar Cote-Houghton
The goal of this project is to increase mathematics achievement at Leeds School by providing information to parents so they can support their children in making sense of mathematics. Three evening sessions will be held.

08S-8 20th Century Irish Literature (1st year) NHS $2,000
John Selfridge
This project is the development of a multi-media course in Irish literature. The course would bring reading, writing, and research together to foster an understanding and appreciation of an important national literature, and will include an internet exchange between NHS and Irish high school students.

08S-9 The Bridge Street Chess Club and Tournament (2nd year) BSS $886
Johanna McKenna, Pamela Schwartz
This project will allow for the continuation of an after-school chess club and in-classroom chess teaching. It will include third through fifth graders, and will culminate in the second annual chess tournament.

08S-10 Geography Studies (1st year) BSS $635
Susan Carroll Hanno
There will be 10 after-school study sessions for all interested 4th and 5th grade students. They will use maps, atlases, study guides and websites. The project will culminate in voluntary participation in the National Geographic Bee, in January, 2009.

08S-11 Culinary Competition (1st year) SVAHS $2,000
Nelson Lacey
All interested students take part in eight weeks of after-school training in the areas of menu building and design, food cost %, plate presentations, garnishing, hands-on practice with different foods, equipment and cooking methods, and practicing working in competition-like conditions. Five students will be selected to take part in the state-wide Pro-Start culinary competition, with a chance at advancing to the national level.

08S-12 Veterans in the Classroom (2nd year) SVAHS, FLC, NHS $2,000
Robert Wilson, Kathy Brown, Chip Kaufmann, Ernie Brill
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.

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Last Updated: January 21,2009