This fall the Somerville Education Foundation received numerous worthy requests during the first grant cycle for the Innovation In Education Grant Program. We were so impressed with the initiative and creativity of all the teachers who applied. After reviewing all of the proposals, we are pleased to announce the recipients of this fall’s Innovation in Education Grant Awards, and that grant dollars will benefit students across the district, from early education to high school.
Matthew Yiu, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Capuano School - Funding was given to Mr. Yiu to purchase magnetic puzzles for use in the classroom to be incorporated into math and early literacy curricula. Puzzles were identified as a way to access children where they are after extended isolation at home, thus enhancing equity in the classroom.
Helen Schoeder, Integrated SEI Kindergarten Teacher. East Somerville Community School - Ms. Schoeder was given funds to purchase decodable books for early readers. These decodable texts will benefit student literacy skills, including decoding, segmenting, and blending CVC words.
J. Stuart Whitney, 6th Grade Teacher, West Somerville Neighborhood School - Mr. Whitney’s grant will provide him with the funds to purchase the First Lego League Challenge Class pack. This pack includes all the support materials and curriculum needed to run the current LEGO league challenge, an after-school middle-grades coding and engineering club. What is learned and experienced in the club will translate into curriculum changes/enhancements in the classroom.
Francesca Shaw, Clinical Coordinator/School Adjustment Counselor, Winter Hill/AIM Program and WSNS/Promise Program- Ms. Shaw was awarded a grant to purchase therapeutic supplies as well as attend a series of online training in the Social Thinking curriculum to help support social-emotional skills for students in two specialized SPS programs--The Promise Program at WSNS and The AIM Program at WHIS.
Tania Connor, English Teacher, Somerville High School- Ms. Connor was awarded a grant to put on a Coffeehouse Night at the high school, during which students may sign up to sing, dance, read poetry or other creative work, perform stand-up comedy, etc.
Erika Reddington, Teacher Counselor, Next Wave Full Circle - Funds provided to Ms. Reddington will cover the technical software program license and technical training for a new class in which students will ultimately explore Somerville, learning to observe, map, and analyze their urban setting, utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS).
Lisa Machnik, K-12 World Language Supervisor, Somerville Public Schools- Dr. Machnik was awarded funds to support a multidisciplinary project as students explore the Arabic influences on blue tiles in Morocco as they study French, in Portugal for Portuguese, in Spain for Spanish, and in Italy for Italian. Their vocabulary will expand as their cultural understanding deepens. There will be a culminating event that showcases the students’ finished tile work during World Languages Week.
Evan Perry, Director, El Sistema Somerville - Funds will allow for performances/workshops by professional musicians. Musicians will expose El Sistema students to a wide range of music styles from diverse cultures.
Board Member Marian Berkowitz recently organized a coat drive and received many coats from Lesley Ellis in East Arlington. She did her first drop-off to Mary Lou Sturniolo, family liaison at the Winter Hill School!
Thanks to SEF funding, Farrington Nature Linc delivered programming during April vacation weeks 2021 to children from the Y@PHA and Mystic Learning Center (MLC). The Farrington Nature Linc’s mission is to connect youth who have limited access to nature. With the help of the SEF, the Farrington Nature Linc provided three days of 1-1.5 hour programs in outdoor, green spaces located near partner sites in Somerville (e.g. Lincoln Park, MLC's yard area, Blessing of the Bay riverside pathway) as well as one 4.5 hour field trip to FNL's site in Lincoln, MA.