Schenectady Educational Foundation announces grant recipients
Posted on 11/17/2017
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Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation Board of Directors recently announced the recipients of the fall 2017 grants. There were 63 applications totaling $76,635 and the Board of Directors awarded grants to 28 applicants in fifteen schools for a total of $20,172.

Reading is the key to all learning and the foundation recognized this with grants to a number of teachers. Keri Barber and Melody York are working with the art teacher at Hamilton.  Students will read and analyze poetry; they will choose a favorite line from a poem and then create a tee shirt to illustrate the idea in the line.  The fourth grade students at Pleasant Valley will create a book which will be published by Student Treasures.  Victoria Abdulla at Oneida is using “It Takes A Village Community Reading Program” to have her students read culturally relevant books. Lastly, Stephanie Parrella will provide her students with sets of books for summer reading in an effort to build on the work done during the year and encourage reading in the home. Stephanie’s grant is being funded by the AAUW in cooperation with the foundation.

STEM education is vital for students to be able to function in the world. Kristyn Mantei at Howe and Tanya Viveiros at Lincoln will use refurbished computers and Sumdog to help their student improve their reading and math skills. James Hutson at Oneida will purchase Mosa Mack which will allow students to engage in hands on lab work and science films. Also at Oneida, Jackie Rowen’s seventh grade students will use K’nex Thrill Rides to engage in problem solving and apply lessons from math, science and technology as they build rollercoasters. The CMOST Traveling Museum will present Busy Builders, Animal Tales, Kitchen Science and Solar System programs to over 260 Pre-K-2 students at Pleasant Valley. Elicia Williams will use Time for Kids providing students with readings, videos, and virtual field trips dealing with STEM concepts.

Field Trips are a vital way for teachers to stimulate student interest in STEM.  The fourth grade teachers at Keane will take their students to the New York State Museum for Science Day.  Jennifer Dreher will take her Schenectady High School Forensic Science students to the New York State police laboratory.

The arts have always been a focus of the SCSDEF.  Therefore grants have been awarded to Krista Hawk and Dave Gleason to purchase key boards for the high school music students and to Lisa Longe to buy percussion pads for her students at Howe and Pleasant Valley. Meghan Phelps will buy an assortment of percussion instruments for her students at Woodlawn. Jennifer Lamb and her students will create a percussion ensemble using percussion instruments from around the world.

The schools and teachers are dedicated to helping the students develop into good citizens.  That requires that students understand history. Kerri D’Alessandro and Barbara LeBarron will take their fourth graders to the Mabee Farm to learn about colonial American life. Elizabeth Mark will take her Mont Pleasant Middle School ENL/ESL students to the Mabee Farm and to the Stockade.  There is nothing like being where it happened and experiencing aspects of life in the past. Of course we want students to learn to apply these lesson in the world today, so Cassie Plumadore at Washington Irving will work with students to create a community service project. Carrie White and Robert Flanders will use their grant for students to create skits, songs, etc. to encourage positive behavior and good school citizenship.

Learning how to deal with the world is often a difficult challenge for students.  Fishing requires patience physical skills, and an appreciation for nature and these qualities can translate into solid academic work, so Barton Metzold is creating a fishing club for Central Park Middle School students. At Washington  Irving, Maria Klein and Mary LaFountain will use Brain Tap Technology, the Calm Classroom Kit, and EmWave to help students understand how the mind and body work and develop strategies for dealing with tension and conflict. Monica Peek will use Social Thinking curriculum materials to help her Paige students develop the understanding and skills need to work with others and succeed in reaching their goals.

One of the goals of the schools is to help students look forward to the future and to develop high expectations for themselves. In support of this goal. Molly Schaefer will take 150 grade 8 Social Inquiry students on a field trip to a community college, a SUNY school and a private college as part of her college and career unit. Sarah Scott will take 30 ELL students to HVCC and SUNY Cobleskill.  Molly and Sarah are trying to create aspirations for higher education and are building on experience they have had with students in the past.

Students also need basic life and survival skills. Marcella Tebbano at Central Park Middle School will use Bulzbucket games with her physical education students so they can develop lifetime physical skills and learn how to do physical activities they can use throughout their lives. Deanne Slater-Johnson will buy CDTA passes for 48 students at Oneida so they can learn how to use public transportation for job and recreational possibilities. Jessica Shaver’s Steinmetz Career and Leadership Academy autistic students will learn how to plan a cooking activity, budget the money for weekly shopping for food, and how to prepare meals.

Congratulations to the grant recipients and the other teachers who had the dedication to take the time to apply for grants to better the lives of their students. The foundation encourages staff members to submit proposals for the next round of grants in the spring of 2018.  Visit our web site for more information.  Like us on Facebook.  If anyone wishes to support learning activities such as these, they may do so by attending our Education Celebration at Proctors on January 18 or by making a contribution to the Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation, Box 3956, Schenectady, N.Y. 12303.

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