Spring 2014 Mini-Grants

The Melrose Education Foundation awarded nearly $3,000 in mini-grants to educators across the MPS system in May 2014 to support their planning and professional development this summer. The 12 mini-grants awarded to educators spanned all grade levels – from the Early Childhood Center through Melrose High School. The mini-grant awards will fund summer professional development opportunities (online and in-person), technology purchases, new tools for classroom assessments, and curriculum materials to enhance ELL and special education programs, math fluency, elementary literacy, and the foreign language learning. See the full list of spring 2014 mini-grant recipients below:

All Schools

Elementary School Social Studies: Materials for Summer Professional Development

Paula Jones and Cynthia Santosuosso, Instructional Coaches, Melrose Public Schools, K–5

The two elementary school instructional coaches will use this grant to purchase materials to supplement a professional development program this summer on mapping in social studies for elementary teachers. These materials will help provide quality resources to teachers as they develop social studies units to use with students and have the potential to impact every student across all five elementary schools.

Melrose High School

Writing Evaluation 2.0 Using EssayTagger.com at MHS

Megan Kisling, Melrose High School, English Grade 10

This grant would enable Ms. Kisling to pilot the use of EssayTagger.com to evaluate students’ writing electronically; collect, visualize, and analyze class data more easily; and meet the diverse needs of students. By using EssayTagger to help evaluate student writing assignments, Ms. Kisling hopes to provide more timely and comprehensive feedback and collect a wide range of specific data on her students’ writing. With access to quantifiable writing trends at the class level, Ms. Kisling will be able to target instruction in a much more useful way. Additionally, the website enables teachers to compile real examples of students writing to show in class, such as “topic sentences that scored a 4” and “topic sentences that scored a 3” in order to improve students understanding of writing.

French Vertical Reading Program at MHS

Jon Morisseau, MHS, 9-12, French/Spanish

The grant will pay for a one-year full subscription to the news articles and weekly special reports published by www.1jour1actu.com, a French site dedicated to providing contemporary news stories to an audience of young native speakers of French. By reading, annotating, and responding to news and current-event articles designed for an audience of young native speakers of French, Melrose students will be better able to understand and respond to authentic target-language non-fiction texts, a skill important to students’ foreign-language acquisition and expression, literacy skills in other disciplines, and success on standardized tests. All Melrose students of French would benefit from access to these authentic news reports as they progress through the required years of study and onto the upper levels of French. In addition, reading and responding to a variety of non-fiction articles on environmental, political, economic, technological, and social issues is essential to supporting our students taking National French Contest exams and the French AP exam.

Elementary Schools

Summer Professional Development on Differentiated Instruction and Assessment

Melanie Acevedo, Lincoln School, Grade 4

This grant will enable this fourth grade teacher at the Lincoln to take two online summer courses to strengthen her practice of differentiated instruction and assessment. The two courses – one focused on instruction, the other on assessment – together will enable this educator to better reach the needs of all learners in the fourth classroom and beyond. As a member of the school’s Instructional Support Team, Ms. Acevedo will share knowledge of differentiation with teachers who may be struggling to reach specific students/learners in their classrooms.

Project Read at Hoover

Frances Ingram, Hoover Elementary, grades 1-3

This mini-grant will enhance reading and spelling skills outcomes for struggling readers and special education students in grades 1-3 at the Hoover School, a goal outlined in the Hoover School Improvement Plan. It will fund additional instructional materials to support the Project Read program (already underway) to promote skill acquisition, practice and reinforcement.

Document Camera for Lincoln School 2nd Grade

Carolyn McElligott, Lincoln School, Grade 2

This mini-grant will help enhance interactive learning across all disciplines for the 61 students in 2nd grade classrooms at the Lincoln School. The grant will fund the purchase of one HoverCam Document Camera for Education, which will be used to display student work in ELA and math and encourage to students to present their ideas to fellow students. An added benefit of the grant is that the educators anticipate a significant reduction in copying costs because materials can be displayed for the entire class rather than copied for each student. Additionally, this grant – along with two others funded this fall – will help the Foundation to determine how document cameras are being utilized in classrooms across the district and whether more are needed.

Improving Math and Reading Fluency at Lincoln

Carolyn McElligot, Michael Oginski, 2nd Grade

This grant will equip second grade classrooms at the Lincoln school with two oral reading fluency kits as well as a base-ten demonstration board, which will help students develop the oral reading skills and base-ten mental math required to enhance math fluency and reach Massachusetts benchmarks.

Movement-based Learning Tools at the ECC and Horace Mann

Jennifer Papasodoro, OTR/L, Horace Mann Elementary: all grades/subjects and The Franklin ECC
Our preschoolers love to move! With this grant, educators at the ECC will purchase equipment that engages students in movement based learning. The new equipment will be used at the ECC and the Horace Mann School to support small group activities that focus on using movement to integrate all areas of the brain for enhanced learning.

Understanding Language-Based Learning Disabilities at Lincoln

Jessica Patti, Integrated Kindergarten

Having an array of teaching strategies to pull from is vital in addressing language-based learning disabilities. This grant will enable Ms. Patti to strengthen her special education expertise by attending a two-day professional development workshop at the Landmark School in Beverly on identifying and understanding language-based learning disabilities.

Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training for Hoover

Jennifer Sinapius, Hoover School Academic Interventionist

This grant pays for a portion of the cost for Ms. Sinapius to attend a 30-hour/4-day professional development workshop on the Orton-Gillingham approach to literacy instruction. Strategies gained from this training will help Ms. Sinapius’ students at Hoover master the English language through the use of multisensory techniques in conjunction with the current programs already in use (such as Project Read and Read Naturally). Additionally, Ms. Sinapius will share strategies and workbooks with fellow academic interventionists, classroom teachers, and special education teachers, with the aim to have all Hoover students meet the benchmark for the DIBELS reading assessment in coming years.

National Geographic “Reach” ELL Materials at Roosevelt

Judy Swanson, Roosevelt, K-5th grade ELL

This grant will support the purchase of non-fiction National Geographic texts to expand the Roosevelt School’s instructional materials for English Language Learners. The books will complement the regular education program already being utilized and will help students in all four domains of English Language (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing). The National Geographic Reach curriculum aligns to district and school curriculum goals and to the common core standards.

Music, Movement, and Learning to Read at the Horace Mann School

Nicole Wells, Wendy Florino, Mary Ellen Carideo, Horace Mann

Learning to read should be a fun and multisensory process for our youngest learners! This grant will support the purchase of interactive materials to provide Horace Mann students with additional exposure to oral kinesthetics, imagery, hand cues, music and mnemonic stories as a means of developing initial reading skills.


Fall 2013 Grants

The Melrose Education Foundation awarded grants totaling nearly $18,000 to Melrose Public School educators during its inaugural grant cycle. Recipients were notified on December 20, 2013.

The Foundation received 25 grant applications from educators who work with students in every school in the district, from the Franklin Early Childhood Center (ECC) to Melrose High School. All applicants received at least partial funding of their grant request.

The initiatives for which educators requested funding cut across all academic subjects and grades. See the full list of fall/winter 2013 grant recipients below.

All Schools 

Melrose Professional Development Goes Live

  • Paula Jones and Cynthia Santosuosso, Instructional Coaches, Melrose Public Schools, K–5

This grant will fund video equipment for recording professional development sessions and parent workshops that instructional coaches provide to educators and parents across the district during the school year. The equipment will also be used to record coaches modeling lessons with students in the classroom and to record teachers demonstrating best teaching practices or to facilitate study groups with their peers. Videos of these sessions will be posted on YouTube, enabling educators and parents to access sessions on demand. With the potential to ensure every elementary school teacher in the district has access to quality and ongoing professional development – and that parents have access to the tips and tools that will help them reinforce at home what their children learn in school – this grant has the potential to impact the entire K–5 student population.

Enabling 21st Century Music Education: Orchestra Room Apple TV Device, Projector, and iPad

  • Luke Miller, Orchestra Director, Melrose Public Schools

This grant will provide the technology that enables music students to compose and record music as well as strengthen their knowledge of music theory and appreciation. The use of these technologies would enable students to interact with applications that help them learn rhythm, music theory, composition, and sound mixing. In addition, music students will gain wider access to recordings and sheet music; experiment with innovative types of music; and record, play, and evaluate their work to help them improve their technique, understanding, and appreciation. This grant will benefit all music students at Melrose High School and Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School, as well as those elementary students in the Melrose Youth Orchestra.

Melrose High School (MHS) and Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School (MVMMS)

2014 Summer Institute for Educators: Best Practices in Teaching 21st Century Skills

  • Angela Singer, Department Chair, English, MHS and MVMMS
  • Kim Talbot, Dept. Chair, Global Languages, MHS
  • Bryan Corrigan, Dept. Chair, Social Studies, MHS
  • Julie Shea, Dept. Chair, Science, MHS
  • Christina Cardella, Dept. Chair, Math, MHS

This intensive summer professional development workshop will offer all Melrose Public School teachers of English, global languages, social studies, science, and math in grades 6­–12 the opportunity to improve teaching practices and investigate content in their areas of expertise. Educators across these academic disciplines will work together with consultants and specialists in their fields to improve communication and collaboration among staff and students, establish pedagogy to improve student performance on all standardized testing in English, support speaking and listening skills in all global languages, strengthen students’ research, analysis, writing, and presentation skills in social studies, and improve instruction methodologies in science and math. The new teaching strategies and methods educators learn this summer is expected to benefit all 1,800 students enrolled in the middle and high school. The use of new targeted methodologies will be assessed during the 2014–2015 academic year.

Generation Citizen: Teaching Civics Through Engagement and Action

  • Bryan Corrigan, Dept. Chair, Social Studies, MHS
  • Kevin Tierney, Social Studies Teacher, MVMMS
  • Mike Noone, Social Studies Teacher, MHS

Generation Citizen (GC) will teach high school and middle school students enrolled in Civics and Legal Issues classes direct political action.  Through an innovative in-class curriculum, students work with local leaders to fix local problems. Over the course of the in-class program, students choose an issue they want to tackle in their own community, develop a focused, strategic plan to address an issue they care about, and then take real action on it. Action may include: lobbying elected officials, writing opinion pieces for newspapers, or even making documentaries to advance solutions to important community issues. Through direct engagement in real-world advocacy, guided by college students and teachers, students gain the civic knowledge, skills, and motivation necessary to effect change in their communities. The final project requires students to speak, listen, research, analyze, synthesize, and present – all skills that will benefit them in their other academic subjects and beyond. This grant will enable the district to pilot the GC program with the goal to bring this program to every student as part of the regular history curriculum.

The DBQ Project

  • Hannah Edsall, US History II Team, MHS
  • Bryan Corrigan, Dept. Chair, Social Studies, MHS

This grant will enable the US History II educator team at Melrose High School to incorporate inquiry-based units that inspire clear, evidence-based, argument writing in their students. The grant funding will be used to purchase “Mini-Qs in American History Volume 2” from the Document-based Questions (DBQ) Project. This curriculum combines engaging questions and the use of primary and secondary sources to give History students in their junior year at MHS the opportunity to investigate history from a variety of perspectives, learn to analyze primary and secondary sources, wrestle with conflicting perspectives, draw inferences, and use factual evidence to write argument essays. This curriculum helps teachers implement rigorous writing and thinking activities that are requirements of the Common Core State Standards.

Blended Learning and Digital Learning Strategies for Grades 612

  • Josh Cristiano, Academic Facilitator, MHS
  • Wendy Arnold, Library Media Specialist, MVMMS

“Blended learning” and “flipped classrooms” generally turn traditional classroom instruction on its head by focusing class time on having students apply content they’ve learned to solve problems or work through tasks. In a blended learning model, content material is often accessed online by students at home. The benefits include students being able to work through material at their own pace and empowering students to participate in class regardless of his or her learning style. Through blending learning, students often gain a more personalized learning experience. This grant will enable the grant applications to enhance the nascent blended learning program at MHS and MVMMS by providing them with the funds to attend the full-day “Build a Successful Blended Learning Environment for Your School or Classroom” workshop, as part of the LeadingFutureLearning 2014 Conference organized by MassCUE and EdTechTeacher. The knowledge gained will enable the applicants to develop a blended learning action plan for grades 6-12 at MPS. In addition, the grant will also enable the applicants to purchase the video equipment needed to improve existing blended learning and digital learning opportunities in MPS. Students who will benefit immediately from this program include, grade 7 botany students who will create a digital knowledge library to probe, create, and share research; and potentially grade 8 history students, who may incorporate digital learning into their year-end inquiry projects. The potential to bring blended and digital learning opportunities to all MHS and MVMMS students will be explored as the applicants work with department chairs during the school year to identify inquiry projects suited for blending learning and facilitate an end-of-year workshop to help teachers find opportunities to incorporate blended learning techniques into their classrooms. 

Architectural Model Kits for MHS CAD Students

  • Betsy Giovanardi and Jennifer Sloan-Green, Teachers, Technology Education, MHS

This grant will providing hands-on, reusable architectural model kits for students enrolled in computer-aided design classes at Melrose High School. The kits will improve students’ design and visualization skills as well as inspire students in the area of architectural design.

Melrose High School Art Department iPad

  • Kristen McCarthy, Teacher, Art, MHS

This grant will enable the purchase of an iPad and associated equipment for use by the MHS Art Department. This new technology will be used to bring art and art education to life for several hundred students annually, both inside and outside the classroom.  Students on art field trips will use the iPad to record images of the work they see, record videos of their travels, and write about their experiences and blog to share their learnings and insights with others. Within the classroom the iPad will allow art instruction using state of the art digital manipulation and applications, and to create “augmented reality art” and incorporate that for the first time into the annual MHS Art Show.

Bullying Prevention

  • John Buxton, Director of Guidance, MHS
  • Rebecca Henry, School Psychiatrist, MHS

This grant will support the creation of a robust reporting system at Melrose High School to allow anonymous reports of bullying claims.  The overall desired outcome is to reduce incidences of bullying and cyberbullying among students at MHS, and this reporting system is one important component in an overall program that is a priority for the district.

Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) Conference

  • Kimberly Piper, Teacher, Music, MHS

This grant will enable 3 music educators teaching at the elementary, middle, and high school level attend the MMEA annual conference in March. Attendees with learn from national and state music educators about new common assessments and best practices for teaching students with special needs as well as those at honors levels in order to enhance music instruction at all Melrose Public Schools.

LBGTQ Inclusion at MHS

  • Elizabeth Gartley, Library Media Specialst, MHS
  • Holly Staples, Teacher, Pupil Personnel Services, MHS
  • Hannah Edsall, Teacher, Social Studies, MHS

Through this grant, students and teachers will have access to print and digital resources related to LGBTQ history and topics, which encourage diversity, complex thinking, and a more-inclusive learning community.

ELMO MO-1 Visual Presenter Devices

  • Eric D’Antonio, Teacher, Science, MVMMS

The 7th grade science program will receive three high quality visual presentation devices that allow the projection of small or difficult to see items onto the smart board.  This allows the 300 students enrolled in 7th grade science better access to the materials or experiments being discussed, and creates a new opportunity for the visual learning oriented students to access the instruction.

Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages (MATSOL) Conference

  • Alicia Serafin, Teacher, English Language Learners, Lincoln
  • Judy Swanson, Teacher, English Language Learners, Roosevelt
  • Irina Kouznetsova, Teacher, English Language Learners, MVMMS

This grant will enable two ELL teachers to attend the two-day 2014 MATSOL conference in May 2014, which will enable them to hear from, discuss with, and learn more about effective English as a second language strategies that improve student performance.

Research the Arts

  • Heather Aziz, Teacher, Art, MVMMS

This grant will pay for a classroom subscription to Scholastic Art Magazine. The subscription will provide an additional non-fiction print resource for 8th grade art students writing research papers about artists and art styles. The subscription will also be used by 6th and 7th grade art students and will provide art teachers with activities and ideas that enrich classroom curriculum.

Technology for Today: Bringing Chromebooks to 9th and 10th Grade History Students

  • Gerard Tannetta, Social Studies, MHS

9th and 10th grade US History and World History classes are currently using Google Chromebooks to strengthen research and writing skills as well as to practice using presentation applications. However, three additional Chromebooks are needed to be able to provide all students with access to a device during class time. This grant provides the funding that will enable Mr. Tannetta to purchase the additional devices.

Elementary and Early Childhood Education

Dyscalculia and Visual Perceptual Dysfunction Resource Study Group

  • Jennifer Papasodoro, Occupational Therapist, Pupil Personnel Services, Horace Mann
  • Laura Kent, Special Education Teacher, Pupil Personnel Services, Horace Mann

This grant will enable occupational therapy and academic special education professionals to develop an integrated approach to treating students with math disabilities that combines developing their numeric skills with the visual and perceptual skills needed to comprehend, visualize, and manipulate numbers. While estimates of the percentage of Americans affected by learning disabilities and disorders vary widely (anywhere from 5% to 20%), early intervention is essential to lessening their effects. This grant will provide Horace Mann Pupil Personnel Services educators with the professional development resources they need to improve the identification of students with specific math/perceptual limitations, develop more-effective treatment approaches, and improve student learning. The grant will pay for a DVD entitled “Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, and Dysgraphia: an Integrated Approach to Treatment,” as well as workbooks and text books that will enhance teaching of students with specific learning disabilities related to mathematics. The grant will immediately benefit the content of a weekly occupational therapy/academic support math group at Horace Mann and eventually will benefit students across the district as Ms. Papasodoro and Ms. Kent share knowledge with their peers on creative, multi-sensory approaches to teaching number sense.

Art Education Curriculum Writing

  • Meredith McGowan, Teacher, Art, Lincoln and Hoover

This grant will be used to purchase art education resource books that will provide the common resource material the Visual Arts department requires to develop a cohesive K-12 curriculum.

Incorporating Social Thinking into Preschool and Kindergarten Curriculum

  • Joyce Schlenger, Educational Team Faciliator/Psychologist, Lincoln
  • Jaime Wicklund, School Psychologist,  Horace Mann
  • Kerrie MacDonald, Lincoln
  • Jessica Patti, Teacher, Lincoln

This grant will fund a pilot program using “The Incredible Flexible You Social Thinking Early Learners Curriculum” that will support the teaching of social, self-regulation, and collaborative skills to elementary and pre-school students. These skills form the foundation for productive learning as students mature.

Using Technology to Engage Young Students in Math and Literacy Learning

  • Jill Tully, Teacher, Pre-K, Franklin Early Childhood Center (ECC)
  • Donna Rosso, Director, Franklin ECC

This grant will enable the Franklin ECC to purchase and pilot the use new technology to engage early childhood students in learning math and literacy while building their digital tools skills. Applicants will use the funds to buy an iPad, math and literacy apps aligned with pre-K math and literacy frameworks, a flat screen television, and connecting cables. Research indicates that the use of technology motivates and increases student engagement. The apps provide hands-on multi-sensory approach to connect instruction to a diverse group of learners.

A Preventative Approach to Improving Student Behavior

  • Betsy Lamore, Educational Team Faciliator/Psychologist, Hoover

Schools that demonstrate a common understanding of student behavior and have a system for implementing positive support show better academic achievement among its students. This grant will enable the Hoover Elementary School to implement the Seven Habits of Happy Kids positive behavior support system. The grant will pay for an outside expert on the model, who will provide small and whole group training to Hoover educators during the school year in order to calibrate and deepen educator understanding of this model and to endure success.

HoverCam Solo 5 Document Camera

  • Rebecca DiLeo, Teacher, Roosevelt

This grant will enable kindergarten classrooms at the Roosevelt school to purchase and use a HoverCam Solo 5 camera that integrates with classroom Smartboards to enable students to share their work and for teachers to project learning material onto the Smartboard, demonstrate handwriting techniques and other fundamental skills, record and play back lessons, enlarge text for improved visibility, and zoom in on science experiments and specimens. 66 kindergarten students at the Roosevelt will directly benefit from this grant. This grant enables the district to pilot the use of this technology and compare it with other document cameras available in the market.

Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages (MATSOL) Conference

  • Alicia Serafin, Teacher, English Language Learners, Lincoln
  • Judy Swanson, Teacher, English Language Learners, Roosevelt
  • Irina Kouznetsova, Teacher, English Language Learners, MVMMS

This grant will enable two ELL teachers to attend the two-day 2014 MATSOL conference in May 2014, which will enable them to hear from, discuss with, and learn more about effective English as a second language strategies that improve student performance.

Learning Farm

  • Sandra Mullen, Teacher, Roosevelt

This grant will pilot the use of LearningFarm.com, an online learning tool aligned with Common Core standards. LearningFarm will support classroom instruction, enable students to review math and ELA content at their own pace, and allow students to experience questions similar to what they will encounter on the MCAS and PARRC assessments.

Building Fluency

  • Michael Oginski, Teacher, Lincoln

This grant will enable Mr. Oginski to purchase a reading fluency kit that will allow second grade students at the Lincoln school to practice their reading fluency with both fiction and non-fiction text.

PixWriter for Special Ed (Sped) and English Language Learners (ELL) Students

  • Pam Osborne, Pupil Personnel Services, Lincoln
  • Alicia Serafin, English Language Learners,  Lincoln

This grant will enable Sped and ELL specialists at the Lincoln School to purchase PixWriter software to further differentiate instruction based on student needs.


Please note: In connection with the Melrose Education Foundation’s fall grant cycles, the Foundation serves as the administrator of $10,000 in City of Melrose Innovation Grant funds, and such administration will, at all times, be subject to the review, authorization, and approval of the Mayor of the City of Melrose, or his designee.