Excellence in Education Grant Program funds educational opportunities across the city’s public school community
WALTHAM, Mass. – March 26, 2014 – The Waltham Education and Beyond Foundation (WEBF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to building excellence in education for Waltham public school students, announced the recipients of nine Excellence in Education grants. The Excellence in Education Grant Program (EEGP) is the cornerstone of WEBF’s efforts to provide meaningful and enriching educational opportunities for students in the Waltham public school community.
The 2014 Excellence in Education Grant recipients are:
MacArthur Elementary School, Listening Center – $1,200
Additional CDs and accompanying books will help support the “Listen to Reading” station at MacArthur Elementary School. These stations are part of the Daily 5 curriculum and a district-wide goal for all elementary school teachers. The curriculum requires students to listen to approximately two stories per week and this grant allows students to meet that goal. The stations give students the ability to hear and see words simultaneously, building their vocabulary, and fostering a love for reading.
Kennedy and McDevitt Middle Schools, Rachel’s Story – $3,000
This assembly will be presented twice to each middle school. The presentation entitled “Rachel’s Story” introduces students to Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School massacre, and her challenge to deliberately reach out to others with kindness. The Columbine tragedy is introduced at an intensity level appropriate for middle school students. Rachel’s story is told through the eyes of family members and shows the profound positive impact students can have on those around them by simply paying attention to the little things they do and say every day.
MacArthur Elementary School, Digital Cameras – $900
The purchase of digital cameras will help support elementary school students with multimedia projects, giving them the ability to use technology for research, problem-solving and communications. Access to this type of technology fosters 21st century technology skills while enhancing knowledge and understanding of grade-level specific curriculum concepts.
Kennedy Middle School, 1:1 Learning Environment – $1,094
The Special Education 1:1 Learning Environment requires a shift from the traditional classroom set-up now that students use iPads on a daily basis. The classroom will now be divided into learning zones that support the 1:1 learning initiatives. A standing table and monitor will help support the “Discovery Zone,” giving students a work space to gather and synthesize information and investigate and solve problems.
All Elementary Schools, Elementary Honors Chorus – $2,100
The Honors Chorus consists of fifth grade students from all elementary schools and provides an ensemble experience where students take part in the joy of singing through developmentally appropriate repertoire and healthy vocal techniques. Students in this ensemble are able to collaborate, rehearse and perform with their older peers in the Middle School Honors Chorus. This was previously supported through the Sally Elizabeth Peters Enrichment program.
Waltham High School, “On the Ball in the Classroom” – $1,650
Using stability balls as chairs in the classroom has been shown to improve student behavior, promote brain stimulation, increase blood flow, improve focus and posture, and encourage exercise. When a student sits on a stability ball, both sides of his/her brain are engaged in order to keep his/her body centered on the ball. The stability ball will be introduced to all students in the health education classrooms at the high school level.
Northeast Elementary School, Leapfrog Tag Kindergarten Reading Center – $1,942
This project will provide students in a kindergarten inclusion class the opportunity to increase oral reading, vocabulary development and comprehension abilities while staying engaged and motivated to read. The Leapfrog reading center will allow students to explore books in a more tactile and interactive way as students can tap into individual parts to help them sound out and read the words.
Stanley Elementary School, Elementary Cultural Enrichment Program – $1,500
This grant brings unique learning experiences to supplement the curriculum for each grade at Stanley Elementary School. This program strives to provide educational and engaging speakers, assemblies and presentations to each grade level by bringing in the “field trip” to foster multi-sensory learning, diverse experiences, reduction in travel times away from school, and eliminate bus expenses, all while giving teachers the opportunity to choose and tailor the content.
In addition to the Excellence in Education Grant Program, WEBF will also recognize the recipient(s) of the Sally Elizabeth Peters Enrichment Grant. This program is made possible by a personal donation from Dr. and Mrs. Alan Peters in memory of their daughter. Sally was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and came to the United States with her parents and older sister in 1966. She was a student at the MacArthur Elementary School and attended the Waltham Junior and Senior High Schools. Sally earned college degrees from Bay Path College, Boston University, and Framingham State College. She was also a member of the Waltham Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the Reagle Players and a keen photographer, prior to her death in 2006. This year, the Sally Elizabeth Peters Grant will fund:
Waltham High School, “Synthetic Biology and iGEM Team”, $4,700
The International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Jamboree is an international competition for high school and college students in the field of synthetic biology. Students build novel biological systems from a registry of standard DNA parts and place them in living cells. The iGEM competition is an exciting experience that opens up the world of synthetic biology to high school students from across the world. Last year, 30 high school teams participated in iGEM, including 17 teams from Europe, Asia and Central America. This grant proposal is to fund the Synthetic Biology Club and Waltham High School iGEM team for 2013-2014.
Proceeds for the grant program will be raised at WEBF’s “Educate Your Palate” wine tasting event. The fundraiser, now in its seventh year, will be held on Thursday, April 10th at the Robert Treat Paine Estate in Waltham. Guests will enjoy food prepared by the Waltham High School culinary team, artwork and music from Waltham High School students and wine donated by Glendale Package Store. Ticket’s for this year’s event are available at www.waltham-ebf.org.
About the Waltham Education and Beyond Foundation
The Waltham Education and Beyond Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides grants to students and teachers of Waltham’s public schools. Formed in July of 2007, the Foundation raises money to help develop and support programs not funded through tax dollars. The program offers small grants of up to $1,000 for projects typically benefitting a single classroom, and major grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 to benefit a larger number of students. For more information, please visit www.waltham-ebf.org.
Jennifer Shelby, CPSM
Rhino Public Relations