Spring 2015 Mini-Grants

The Melrose Education Foundation is proud to announce that $5,200 in spring mini-grants have been made to Melrose Public Schools educators. Grants were awarded to all schools, from the Franklin ECC through Melrose High School. Read the press release.

Read descriptions of all 2015 Spring Mini-Grants below:


Melrose High School (MHS)

Economist for Economics

Bob Coughlin, US History and Economics, Grades 10-12; Bryan Corrigan, AP Economics, Grades 11-12

This mini-grant funds a one-year subscription to The Economist magazine, which will provide economics students at Melrose High School with more current, high-quality, non-fiction resources to help students develop higher-level thinking skills. The subscription includes access to print, digital, audio, and video sources.

US I Resource Kits

Mike Noone and Gerard Tannetta, Grade 10 History

This mini-grant funds three US history resource kits from Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, an award-winning provider or history resources to schools and educators. The kits will provide US History I students with primary sources, essays, multimedia, and visuals on the Founding Era, Slavery and Abolition, and the American West.


Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School (MVMMS)

Active Seating in the Classroom

Bryan Corrigan, Social Studies Director, Grades 6 – 12; Beth Colgan, Grade 6 ELA; Amy Dylengoski, Grade 6 Social Studies

Studies show that many students gain positive benefits in focus simply by sitting on stability balls: “Indications are that the tiny movements kids make while balancing stimulate their brains and help them focus,” according to Dr. John Ratey, a professor at Harvard University. Active seating helps promote attention and concentration, increases circulation (especially to the brain), strengthens core muscles, and improves balance and coordination, along with other positive physical outcomes. This grant supports a pilot “active seating program” in two teams in 6th grade, an idea spurred after seeing a similar program in action in another district. Students will be surveyed multiple times on the use of the stability balls, and educators will provide observational data. Results of the program will be shared with MVMMS colleagues at the end of next school year.

Civics in Action

Jenna Carideo, Maureen Connell, Michelle Sewyck, and Bryan Corrigan

This grant provides electronic and print resources for a new elective civics course available to all 8th grade students at MVMMS.  The course was developed by several members of the Social Studies department in response for the need for civics education for all students entering high school.

Geography Card Games

Rob Mahoney, Hannah Reagan, and Amy Dylengoski, Grade 6 Social Studies

Developing a mental map of the world is an essential skill for students inside and out of the classroom. One way to develop these important skills is through fun and interactive games. With a grant from the Melrose Education Foundation, educational games will be purchased to provide a student-centered, challenging method for students to test their mental map skills, and focuses on the growth of students’ knowledge.

Increasing Student Comprehension of Rigorous Texts and Student Ability to Generate Complex Questions 

Adam Azia, Sarah Haney, Alison Hurney, Grade 7 ELA; Charesah Agha, 7th Grade Special Education

This mini-grant pays for one general ed and one special ed teacher to attend a workshop aimed at increasing students’ ability to use writing as a tool for reading comprehension, to generate complex individual questions, and increase accountable talk in small group discussion. The workshop,  “Content-Area Literacy: Comprehension, Collaboration, and Inquiry,” will provide strategies to help students develop the critical and analytical skills required for college and career.


All Elementary

After School Advanced English Arts Enrichment Groups: Grade 4-5 

Joyce Schlenger, Lincoln School Principal; Jenny Corduck, Hoover School Principal; Mary Beth Maranto, Roosevelt School Principal; Mary Ellen Carideo, Horace Mann School Principal; John Maynard, Winthrop School Principal

With the help of this grant, principals at all elementary schools will implement year-long units of study in after school enrichment settings for children in grade 4-5 who have been identified as students who can be further challenged in English language arts. The program will be implemented in the fall of 2015 and the grant funding will be used to purchase sets of 10-12 literature books to support the needs of all of students.

After School Advanced English Language Arts Tasks: Grade 3

Joyce Schlenger, Lincoln School Principal; Jenny Corduck, Hoover School Principal; Mary Beth Maranto, Roosevelt School Principal; Mary Ellen Carideo, Horace Mann School Principal; John Maynard, Winthrop School Principal; Cynthia Santosuosso, Instructional Coach; Paula Jones, Instructional Coach

This grant will provide resource kits of advanced performance tasks for grade 3 students who are in need of further enrichment throughout the city. Teachers and principals strive to support the needs of all students including those struggling to meet grade level expectations and those in need of enrichment and challenge.  The kits, which will be implemented beginning in the fall of 2015, will allow teachers and principals to develop a plan to implement performance tasks either during school or after school time.



Building Students’ Social Thinking and Self-Regulation Skills for Improved School Functioning

Samantha Leney, School Psychologist, and Sara Mestjian, School Social Worker, Lincoln and Hoover Elementary Schools

Identified students will benefit from learning explicitly taught “social thinking” through and self-regulation skills. “Social thinking” refers to the thinking that we do when we interact with other people and how this affects our behavior, others’ responses to us, and our emotions. Students lacking self-regulation skills will gain understanding of their alertness levels, how their behavior impacts those around them, and tools to manage their feelings. Materials purchased with funds from this grant, including the “Zones of Regulation” curriculum, will support at least 150 students across the Hoover and Lincoln Elementary Schools, and allow specialists to extend their individual or small group instruction into the larger classroom setting.


Horace Mann

Desk Conversion Kit

Elisabeth Horn, Grades 3-5

The desk conversion kit converts a typical/standard student desk into one that is tall enough to stand at. Studies show that because 15% more blood circulates through the brain when one is standing up, this position leads to increased learning and retention. Students will be able to use this desk during instructional time in the LBC classroom as well as the general education classroom setting.

Google Boot Camp

Kim Barbagallo,  Grade 3

Technology skills are becoming critical for educators at all level of the school system.  This grant will provide access to a Boot Camp that will provide hands-on experience for this educator, better equipping her to utilize recently purchased Google ChromeBooks which are now in use in the Horace Mann School.  With this Boot Camp, this educator will be enabled to take the certification to become a Google Educator / Trainer in the fall of 2015.

Positive Behavior Intervention

Jamie Wicklund, School Psychologist; Whitney Simpson, Teacher, Grade 5; Mary Ellen Cobbs, Principal

The curriculum materials purchased with this grant will assist in the implementation of a school-wide positive behavior system in classrooms across grade levels. Two sets of books will provide rich, high quality, and current content related to behavioral and social expectations that foster the use of problem solving and higher-level thinking skills.

Professional Development for Executive Function Strategies in the School Setting

Jennifer Papasodoro, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Grades Pre-K­–5

This grant would provide an educational opportunity for learning practical tools and strategies, as well as environmental modifications, that would improve all students’ organization, time management, impulse control, goal directed persistence, and executive skills that are critical for more independent functioning/learning in the school setting.



Building Students’ Social Thinking and Self-regulation Skills for Improved School Functioning

Samantha Leney, School Psychologist, and Sara Mestjian, School Social Worker, Lincoln and Hoover Elementary Schools

Identified students will benefit from learning explicitly taught “social thinking” through and self-regulation skills. “Social thinking” refers to the thinking that we do when we interact with other people and how this affects our behavior, others’ responses to us, and our emotions. Students lacking self-regulation skills will gain understanding of their alertness levels, how their behavior impacts those around them, and tools to manage their feelings. Materials purchased with funds from this grant, including the “Zones of Regulation” curriculum, will support at least 150 students across the Hoover and Lincoln Elementary Schools, and allow specialists to extend their individual or small group instruction into the larger classroom setting.

Science Materials for Second Graders

Michael Oginski, Grade 2

This grant will support the purchase of one collection of science books on topics including plants, weather, animals, sky and land, nutrition, and agriculture.  Utilized by the 2nd grade team, the books will be an essential element of the 2nd grade research project, providing students with high quality and age-appropriate science resources.

Strategies for Assisting Students with Learning Disabilities

Maureen Cronin, Special Education Grades 2 – 4

This grant will provide the educator an opportunity to attend a professional development course designed to increase and improve strategies for assisting students with language based learning disabilities. Knowledge gained will be shared with the Lincoln Special Education team.



Roosevelt School Garden

Rebecca DiLeo, Grade K; Linda Fargo, Grade 2; Krista Murthy, Grade 5

This grant will help renovate the Roosevelt garden and support an outdoor learning environment to enhance programming across the curriculum and grades. In addition to links to the science, all Roosevelt educators will be encouraged to relate experiences in the garden back to other areas, such as writing, social studies and math. The garden will provide additional opportunities to teach nutrition and encourage healthy eating, as well as foster an understanding of where food comes from and positive attitudes toward healthy foods. An after-school gardening club will extend the learning opportunities. Excess harvest from the garden will be donated to the food pantry, affording opportunities for philanthropic and civics lessons as well.

Social Thinking Curriculum

Aly Puzzo, Speech-Language Pathologist

This grant will fund “The Incredible Flexible You” program, a social thinking curriculum designed to support students with social-emotional challenges to better access and participate in the general education curriculum. The program combines engaging and easy to understand storybooks, detailed lesson guides and opportunities for family involvement. Students will be able to learn and apply complex social concepts in a meaningful and motivating way.



Solar Robots

Sue Herook, Grade 3

This grant will support project-based learning in grade 3, combining aspects of the ELA and engineering curricula.  Students will read about robotics using the Story Town books as well as leveled science readers to gather background knowledge on robots and their uses. Then, working in teams of two, students will use the solar robotics kits purchased with this grant to design their robot using the engineering design process. The kits will provide students the opportunity to put their design into action. Knowledge gained will be shared with grade-level teams throughout the district.

Second Grade Social Studies Literature Library

Jeanne Orlofski, Amy Ogiba, Elena Krystofolski, Grade 2

This grant provides for the purchase of current literature to enhance the teaching of second grade social studies frameworks. Through the use of this literature, students will be exposed to a variety of social studies concepts in the areas of history, geography, civics, and economics, and it will allow teachers to accomplish cross-curricular learning objectives in the areas of social studies and language arts.


Franklin Early Childhood Center

The Use of PreK Math Books to Build a Solid Mathematical Foundation

Darlene Cianci, Multi-Age Preschool Teacher; Donna Rosso, Director

This grant will provide books that will allow Franklin teachers to engage all students in Pre-K Common Core math learning activities. Providing teachers with books connected to the Pre-K math standards will support their efforts to employ purposeful and deliberate planning that is designed to enable all students to achieve a high level of content mastery and skill development.

Professional Development for Executive Function Strategies in the School Setting

Jennifer Papasodoro, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Grades Pre-K­–5

The goal of this professional development is to improve the overall executive function skills of students in grades pre-K through grade 5, as well as to educate other staff about classroom strategies and modifications that can greatly improve their students’ ability to learn and produce work.  These strategies assist students in becoming more organized with classroom management skills (such as managing daily routines, initiating and completing work, and managing classroom time). The grant will provide staff with access to strategies to increase student independence and their ability to learn.



Fall 2014 Grants

The Melrose Education Foundation – in partnership with the City of Melrose – awarded grants totaling approximately $27,000 to Melrose Public School educators during its 2014 fall grant cycle. (Read the press release.) Recipients were notified by email on November 25. A complete list of grant recipients is posted below.

Melrose High School (MHS)

Advanced Placement Global Languages and Social Studies Saturday Sessions for Students and Training for Staff

Marianne Farrell, Principal; Jason Merrill, Assistant Principal

Melrose will be the first district to extend the tenets of the Mass Math + Science Initiative (MMSI), to AP students enrolled in other subject areas, and the Foundation is proud to make a major contribution to this effort.  The largest grant of this cycle will help ensure that the AP offerings in global languages and social studies achieve equity with offerings in English, math and the sciences.  This grant will support both professional development opportunities for educators who teach in certain subject areas, as well as special Saturday sessions for AP students.  Twenty teachers from the English, math and science departments have been trained as a result of the MMSI program at Melrose High School, and the Saturday sessions for science began in October 2014.  This grant will provide students in AP global languages and social studies classes an equitable amount of instruction and support in preparation for the advanced placement exams.

Electronics in Engineering

Betsy Giovanardi; CAS and Intro. to Engineering; David Carbonneau, Physics

This grant will support the purchase and implementation of a series of inquiry-based, hands-on projects to help students gain an understanding of the essentials of electricity, electrical circuits, and binary code. Project-based-learning is particularly important to understanding concepts in engineering, and this grant will immediately support over 110 students enrolled in Physics and Introduction to Engineering at Melrose High School.

Extending the Collaborative Arm: Laptop for Library Media Specialist

Thomas Scudder, Library Media Specialist

This grant will fund the purchase of a dedicated teaching laptop for use by the school library media specialist. The additional laptop will enable greater teacher collaboration and the ability to instruct in new environments beyond the limitations of the two computer labs.

Supporting 21st Century Skills in Freshman Seminar

Kim Talbot and Bryan Corrigan, Curriculum Directors and the interdisciplinary team of Freshman Seminar teachers and supporters: Lisa Lord, Social Studies; Lisa Donovan, English; Steve Wall, Social Studies; Gerard Tannetta, Social Studies; Tim Alpern, English; Meghan Kisling, English; Sara Cain, Global Language; Tom Scudder, Library Media Specialist; Josh Cristiano, Academic Facilitator

Freshman Seminar is a required course for all 9th grade students with several objectives including developing studying, library, and research skills; developing social, collaborative, and organizational skills; and developing technology, problem-solving, and study skills. Technology is a key component of helping students to develop all these important skills. With a grant from the Melrose Education Foundation, equitable access to technology will be provided to all freshmen participating in this course through improved wireless access as well as classroom technology.

Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School (MVMMS)

Expert in Residence

Elizabeth Colgan, ELA; Wendy Arnold, Library

With the help of this grant, Middle School students will benefit from an Expert-in-Residence, a local author who will partner with educators throughout the year to weave strategies from the professional world of writing and publishing into classroom learning and grade-level curriculum.  Students will learn about story creation, characterization and setting, and how to use virtual storyboards to organize their writing.  This grant represents a partnership with the McLaughlin Foundation, in its mission to support the MVMMS Library Program, and the MVMMS PTO.



Brendan Kent, Physical Education and Athletics Coach; Lauren Doherty, Physical Education; Steve Mirasolo, Physical Education, Fitness, Intro to Medical Field, and Athletic Trainer; Pat Ruggiero, Physical Education Dept. Head and Athletics Director; Kevin Fessett, Wellness, Strength and Conditioning, and Athletics Coach; Susan Fogarty, Wellness, Athletics Coach; Debbie Cole, Wellness; Mike McLaughlin, Wellness

FitnessGram is a comprehensive tool used to assess physical fitness and physical activity in children.  Historically Physical Education and Wellness class have followed the FitnessGram guidelines, but have never purchased the necessary software to allow teachers and students to track and analyze student data surrounding fitness levels. With a grant from the Melrose Education Foundation, the department will be able to better assess students’ fitness and the role physical fitness plays in success in other areas of the classroom, assess resource allocation, and establish benchmarks to evaluate students’ individual and collective physical fitness throughout the academic year.

Flipping Learning

Josh Cristiano, Blended Learning; Wendy Arnold, Library

This grant builds on the blended learning and flipped classroom initiatives already underway at the high school and middle school by providing the funds to purchase the technology devices and infrastructure required to run static and mobile Flipping Studios. These studios will provide the space and equipment for students to interact with digital content as both independent learners and in blended learning classroom opportunities. Devices to be purchased include an iMac, two iPads, an Apple TV device, and a video camera tripod. The studios will provide all learners an equal chance to participate in flipped learning opportunities and innovative methods of expression. Professional development, led by Arnold and Cristiano, will support teachers’ growing efforts to connect traditional classroom learning with 21st century digital learning practices.

National Council of Teachers of Mathmatics Professional Development

Christina Cardella, Math Director

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Meeting and Exposition will bring mathematics educators from around the country to Boston in the spring of 2015.  Boston last hosted the conference in the mid 1990s.  This convention is a valuable professional development opportunity for mathematics educators and – with a grant from the Foundation – Melrose will be represented. After the conference, the attendees will share professional development information and materials with colleagues, allowing all mathematics teachers for grades 6—12 to benefit from this opportunity.

MHS and MVMMS Summer Institute

Angela Singer, ELA Director, English Language and Composition Teacher

The Melrose Education Foundation will once again be funding a two-day professional development opportunity for MVMMS and High School educators in the summer of 2015.  These programs have been highly successful and very well attended during each of the previous two summers, and last year the program was extended to newly hired educators. The Board of the Melrose Education Foundation has voted to fund this initiative each summer going forward, taking it out of the competitive grants process, and to work with the administration to ensure that the program is innovative in terms of program offerings and potential funding opportunities.

All Elementary

A Family Engineering and Math Night

Paula Jones, Instructional Coach, K-5; Mary Ellen Carideo, Principal, Horace Mann; Jenny Corduck, Principal, Hoover; Mary Beth Maranto, Principal, Roosevelt; John Maynard, Principal, Winthrop; Joyce Schlenger, Interim Principal, Lincoln

This program expands on last year’s successful Family Math Night sponsored by the Melrose Education Foundation where parents and students participated in grade-specific math activities in a fun and engaging way. Building on last year’s event, the program enhances the Museum of Science Engineering curriculum that each K-5 classroom is using and provides an engaging evening for parents and students to explore some of the science practices through investigative experiences. By bringing all five elementary schools together and providing an opportunity to increase the home/school connection, the program engages stakeholders to improve science instruction at the elementary schools.

Expanding Writer’s Workshop Curriculum

Cynthia Santosuosso, Instructional Coach

The writers workshop curriculum has been successfully implemented across all Melrose elementary schools. Currently the curriculum spans grade level and students use the same curriculum from year to year but with different topics. This grant provides funding that allows the curriculum to be updated across all elementary schools and grade levels over the next two academic years, allowing greater variation and increased learning experiences.

Horace Mann

The World at Our Fingertips: Expanding Exposure to Fine Arts, Science, and Social Studies Through the Literacy Block

Mary Ellen Carideo, Principal; Giuseppe Delisi, Grade 1

This kickstart grant will allow the Horace Mann library to expand their ongoing Guided Reading Program through the purchase of books and teacher resources specifically relating to non-fiction reading materials focusing on the fine arts, science, and history. The purchase of these materials will provide rich, high-quality and current content that fosters the use of higher level thinking skills.


Bioengineering for Elementary Students

Sandra Mullen, Grade 3

This grant will pilot the use of student story books that go along with a new science unit called Just Passing Through: Designing Model Membranes, being introduced by the district. The books pose real world engineering problems in a story format for students to solve by designing and building their own membranes out of household materials.

Global Education Melrose

Sandra Mullen, Grade 3
Mary Beth Maranto, Principal

The goal of this grant is to prepare Roosevelt students to be global citizens. Global Education Melrose (GEM) is a school-wide initiative to infuse multi-cultural and global learning into the K-5 curriculum, culminating in a World Cultures Fair for students to showcase their knowledge of geography, demographics, political systems and cultural information of one or more countries. GEM programs have been implemented at the MVMMS and Melrose High School, and this grant is an innovative attempt to bring GEM to elementary school students across all grade levels.

Mentor Texts Inspire Writers

Mary Beth Maranto, Principal

Young writers can be motivated and inspired by the availability of high quality literature. Classroom instruction with literature, versus worksheets or handouts, can be more engaging, interesting and inspiring. With a kickstart grant from the Melrose Education Foundation, the Roosevelt School will be able to purchase several high-interest mentor texts and a Teacher’s Guide. The books will support, inspire, and motivate students in the area of narrative and informational writing.

Using Technology to Engage Special Ed Students

Lisa Mendonca, Special Education, K-5; Jen Wheaton, Special Education, K-5

This grant will fund the purchase of one iPad and specialized apps to engage special education students with a hands-on, multi-sensory learning approach in math and literacy. This grant will help to address the limited accessibility that special education teachers and students have to iPads.


Aquarium Habitat

Jennifer Mazzei, Grade K; Charmaine Ziolkowski, Grade K; Milissa Churchill, Grade K

The three-way aquarium tank will provide a rich sustainable environment for kindergartners to to observe and record the  living creatures in a habitat.  By providing an enhanced resource, children can explore a variety of land and water creatures and fully engage in the investigation of the scientific process.  This resource also encourages collaborative planning and sharing information among grade teachers which enhances the learning process for all Winthrop kindergartners

A-Z Science Leveled Readers

Susan Herook, Sally Hatch, Stella Harris, Grade 3; Sally Pelletrino, Special Education

The purchase of a subscription based web tool, Science A-Z, for third grade classrooms. The tool will offer printable and projectable materials to teach comprehensive science units within life science, earth science, physical science, and process science. This tool will support science topics being covered along with providing access to material based on student interest.

Engineering Books

James Yeaton, Grade 5

This grant will pilot the use of fifth grade science books that accompany a new Museum of Science engineering kit introduced by the school district. The pilot will enable educators to determine whether use of the non-fiction books enhances students’ ability to learn about the effects of oil spills and how they can be cleaned, and experiment with different techniques for cleaning a spill.

Student Response Clicker System

Meghan Lewis, Grade 5

Student response remotes are an engaging technology that ensures universal participation, immediate feedback for classroom instructors, and immediate individualized assessments. Clicker systems are not widely used throughout the district. With a grant from the Melrose Education Foundation, fifth grade students at the Winthrop School will pilot the system and teachers and administrators at the Winthrop will evaluate wider application of the system.

Franklin Early Childhood Center

Family Engagement Kits

Jill Tully, Preschool/Multi-Age

This grant provides the funds for the ECC to conduct a home-school partnership pilot program that seeks to raise student performance in regards to Common Core math standards, especially for those students who do not attend school as often as their peers enrolled in 5-day programs. Student-centered take-home activities will focus on developing number, addition, subtraction, and measurement sense, as well as pattern recognition. Through pre- and post-unit formative assessments, family surveys, and observation, this pilot will gather the data which can then be used to improve instruction and help students and families become more successful.

Multisensory Pre K Classroom Interventions

Jennifer Papasodoro, Occupational Therapist; Andrea Serino, Special Education

The Early Childhood Center will receive funding for multisensory and developmentally appropriate “Handwriting Without Tears” tool kits, which will enable more seamless planning for and integration of general education and special education student learning. This will enable the integrated Pre-K classroom teacher and Occupational Therapist to help their students develop a more solid foundation of number, math, literacy, and language skills.

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.