2015-2016

During the 2015-16 school year, the Melrose Education Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $36,000 to Melrose Public School educators. Scroll down to see the lists of spring and fall grant recipients.

Spring 2016 Grants

The Melrose Education Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $6,000 to Melrose Public School educators during its 2016 spring mini-grant cycle.

Melrose High School

Social Emotional Learning Book Study

Jason Merrill, Assistant Principal, Grades 9-12

Social emotional learning has been a focus for the district leadership over the past year, and therefore a goal for our high school and Crisis Team at MHS. Purchasing 10 copies of “The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students,” by Jessica Minihan will allow the Crisis Team to form a study group to learn and discuss ways to support our student body. Teachers will share and/or present information from the book with MHS educators during faculty meetings. Additional study groups can be formed during the year, to broaden and deepen social emotional learning for all students at MHS.

Test, Prep, and Source Material for New US History AP Course

Gerard Tannetta, Advanced Placement US History I, Grade 10

Melrose High school is offering a new Advanced Placement course for sophomores in US History This grant pays for resources that will give students strategies for taking the AP tests. It will also provide more primary sources to be used in all US classes as well as example questions and open responses which students can use to practice and receive feedback on during the year.

Work Skills Curriculum for Special Ed. Students

Jennifer Papasodoro, Occupational Therapist , Grades K-5, 9-12

This grant will allow the occupational therapist, speech therapist, special education teacher, and job coaches in the MHS life skills classes to have a consistent and organized approach to introducing and educating high school and post-grad students with special needs to the hands on skills and language needed to work in the community. Grant funding pays for the “I Can Work” Curriculum set (presented as a booklet and CD), which is a five-module program designed to integrate communication skills along with hands-on pre-vocational training in the areas of job readiness, clerical, retail, food service, and grocery. The knowledge gained through this grant can be shared with middle school life skills and special ed. staff, so that the transition of skills from middle school to high school is consistent and streamlined.

Robotics Curriculum from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Robotics Academy

Betsy Giovanardi, CAD, Intro to Engineering, Robotics Teacher

By purchasing the curriculum developed by CMU’s Robotics Academy to teach robotics and programming using the Lego EV3 platform, students will be exposed to computer programming and robotics while requiring precise logical thinking, using data to make decisions, analyzing problems, and building solutions in teams. Because the students will access the curriculum on computers with associated videos, students can work at their own pace to accomplish each unit. Curriculum may also be shared with students enrolled Intro to Computer Programming at MHS. The curriculum may also be made available to any other district teacher or program (Elementary, Middle, iRaiders Lego Robotics teams) who may want to use it as a stretch assignment.

Van de Graaf for Electrostatics

Blair Cochran and Dave Carbonneau, MHS Physics

By purchasing a kit to build an electrostatic generator to use with our classes in the study of electrostatics, MHS physics students can experience strong electrostatic fields and their influences. This aligns with the school goals of connecting learning to the world around the students. The ability to demonstrate how something like lightening happens is superior to a simulation or picture explanation. Once the generator is assembled and working, it will be used in all physics classes.

Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School

Museum in the Classroom

Bryan Corrigan, Morgan Crooks, Amanda Prouty, Kevin Tierney; Social Studies

This grant provides funding for a 7th grade “Museum Day” in the MVMMS library. The Social Studies department will contract with Historia Antiqua to set up a mini museum of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifact reproductions — including statuary, pottery, glassware, coins, household items, models of Roman siege machines, and a full-size suit of Roman armor. During available blocks, students from other grades will be given a chance to view the museum as well.

Choices Magazine Subscription

Kimberly Nardone, Health, Grades 6-8

This grant will provide 30 subscriptions to Choices scholastic magazine, a monthly publication covering teen health and life skills. The information available through articles in Choices will help all MVMMS students discuss real life issues they are facing, equip them with strategies to handle everyday pressures, and enable them to make positive and informed decisions.

Hands-on Topography Lesson

David Stanton, Sarah McLaughlin, Tracy Waters; Science, Grade 8

This grant will provide the opportunity for all 8th grade students to make a 3-dimensional topographic map of Hawaii with foam board. This project-based learning assignment will give students the skills to read a topographic map and build a model.

Franklin Early Childhood Center (ECC)

Supporting Social and Emotional Learning

Donna Rosso, Director

By funding a facilitated professional development opportunity for teachers at the ECC, this mini-grant will support the district’s strategic priority to include social emotional learning in the classroom. Using the book “Anxiety and Depression in the Classroom: A Teacher’s Guide to Fostering Self-Regulation in Young Students,” teachers will gain skills and strategies to support the emotional wellness of all ECC students.

All Elementary

Developing Growth Mindset with Picture Books

Melanie Acevedo, Instructional Coach, Grades K-5

This mini-grant enables the purchase of grade-level-appropriate picture books to encourage current and future students in all grades and at all Melrose elementary schools to develop a growth mindset and perseverance. Additional supporting resources, including lesson plans and coaching, will also be developed for teachers to use to support proficiency-based and student-centered learning.

Fostering Social and Emotional Learning With Books

Paula Jones, Instructional Coach, Grades K-5 

Elementary school is a time for tremendous academic, as well as, personal growth. This grant will be used to create a social and emotional book box for each school to use to help foster children in their journey to becoming caring, considerate, confident citizens. Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health problems for young students, and can be particularly hard to detect and support. The books are a critical feature of a four step lesson plan that reinforces the character trait featured in each story, which includes, talking about the main point of the story and connecting it to real life, demonstrating what the character trait looks and feels like, practicing the featured character trait, and encouraging children to engage in behavior that demonstrates the character trait. Catch them being kind, flexible, honest, confident.

Hoover Elementary School

Gross Motor Sensory Integration Classroom Equipment

Christine Bossalini, Integrated Kindergarten Teacher

A key to helping students learn is embedding gross motor opportunities into their day. This grant will pay for gross motor equipment to provide students opportunities for body and kinesthetic movement breaks that are integrated into classroom learning centers.

Social Emotional Learning Book Studies

Jenny Corduck, Hoover School Principal

Earlier this year, Hoover staff participated in an introductory professional development seminar to understand student anxiety and depression. This grant would help further this discussion among Hoover staff participating in a book study group. Funds would pay for “Anxiety and Depression in the Classroom: A Teacher’s Guide to Fostering Self-Regulation in Young Students” by Nadja Reilly which would be the material source for the study group.

Lincoln Elementary School

RAVE-O Reading Toolkit

Ed Keenan, Stacey Sewcyk, Laura Dennison, Maureen Cronin, Special Ed., Grades 1-5

This grant pays for a RAVE-O toolkit, which is a small-group reading intervention that targets serious reading challenges. RAVE-O materials provide ample teacher support and highly engaging, multisensory student materials, including a technology-based fluency program. Much of the engagement of RAVE-O is achieved through hands-on activities using many kinds of materials, which literally allow students to play with language —breaking apart words, learning common letter patterns, examining morphological roots and affixes, and identifying grammatical uses and multiple meanings. Lincoln school Special Education staff attended RAVE-O training for 12 hours at Tufts University and will share information and facilitate training for Special Education staff throughout the district.

Roosevelt Elementary School

Classroom Document Camera

Emily D’Errico, First Grade Teacher

Grant funding will provide for a document camera for the first grade classroom to assist with instruction. Children will benefit from a visual example that will help them better understand directions for assignments. The camera will also enable students to share work and model how they approach a task. In addition, the camera can also be used to record students’ work, including for those students who are reluctant to speak in front of a classroom of students. The camera will be accessible to surrounding classrooms to borrow.

Close Reading in Kindergarten

Jill Tully, Kindergarten Teacher

Grant funding will be used to purchase multiple, smaller copies of the Reading Street Curriculum books used in class so that students can practice close reading of the texts at their tables. This will help the children develop crucial comprehension habits that they will continue to learn and apply as the get older. A teacher action research project will be conducted throughout the school year to determine what are the best practices in the area of close reading. Findings will be presented at the 2017 Teacher Action Research conference.

Curriculum Materials

Gale Barry, Linda Fargo and Anne Zaccardi, Grade 2

This mini-grant funds materials that will enhance and supplement current curriculum aligned with Common Core standards. Students will increase their exposure to the required Dolch words and benefit from personalized, consumable anchor charts. These materials are required to enable best teaching practices; results and data will be shared with third grade teachers.

Social Emotional Learning

Mary Beth Maranto, Principal; Gale Barry, Grade 2; Jennifer Crittenden, Grade 4; Linda Fargo Grade 2; Julie Norman, Grade 1; Tami White, Special Education Teacher; Anne Zaccardi, Grade 2

All schools in Melrose are expected to have a clear and concise social and emotional learning (SEL) philosophy embedded in their school community. Grant funding has been awarded to provide six copies of the book “Anxiety and Depression in the Classroom” to help create a comprehensive, student-friendly SEL program that includes common language, and pre-determined, non-academic competencies that are consistent throughout the school. These competencies will foster student social and self-awareness, self- regulation, responsible decision making and an improved attitude about self and others, resulting in a rewarding, social, and academic experience for all students.

Special Education iPad

Maureen Aleksa, Special Education, Reading, Writing, Math, Grades K-5

This mini-grant will facilitate the purchase of an iPad for Special Education students’ use. The iPad would allow students (currently without computer access) to use writing programs such as Co:Writer and Clicker 6. This purchase aligns with district goals of using technology to support curriculum for all children regardless of their ability, and could also benefit Special Education students during summer school sessions.

Supporting Students Through Visuals

Janelle DeMerchant, Special Education Teacher

Many of our special education students require visual supports in order to access the curriculum. This grant will pay for an iPad app that translates speech to text or symbols to help students who have difficulty understanding text and/or oral language. The app will help students who often miss out on what peers and their teacher are saying and struggle with writing and reading comprehension. This app will save countless hours of time that it takes to assign a visual image to each piece of text that a student is reading.

Understanding Assessment Measures

Christine Rice, Special Education

This mini-grant will allow one special education staff member to attend a two-day professional development seminar on how to use educational assessments and analyze the results to identify students with disabilities. The curriculum supports grades K-5 and takeaways from the seminar will be shared with other staff members to better serve students’ specific academic needs.

Fall 2015 Grants

The Melrose Education Foundation – in partnership with the City of Melrose – awarded grants totaling more than $30,000 to Melrose Public School educators during its 2015 fall grant cycle. (Read the press release.)

Melrose High School (MHS)

Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma Program Training

Marianne Farrell, Principal, Jason Merrill, Assistant Principal

By training an additional staff member to implement the Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma Program and to teach AP Seminar in 2016/17, we will be prepared to work with students to investigate real-world issues from multiple perspectives, gathering and analyzing information from various sources to develop credible and valid evidence-based arguments. MHS was accepted into College Board’s Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma Program this year.

Advanced Placement for Social Studies & Global Language: Supporting Saturday Study Sessions and Professional Development

Jason Merrill, Assistant Principal, Bryan Corrigan; Director of Social Studies, Kim Talbot; Director of Global Languages

This grant provide opportunities for staff and students in Advanced Placement Social Studies and Global Languages courses through professional development, training, and student support. Three Saturday Study Sessions will expose students to additional class time, content, and instruction in the AP curriculum. In addition, the grant allows one teacher to be trained in AP U.S. History and five Global Language teachers observe/train in our dual enrollment experience at Salem State. This prepares our teachers to bring Salem State courses to the MHS campus.

If I Only Had a Brain: Human Brain Model for Psychology Students at MHS

Kimberly Hubbard, Psychology, grade 12

The purchase of a model of a human brain will enhance student conceptualization of the human brain and the physical relationship of its parts in a concrete way. This model will be used in the units covering the biology of psychology and the biology of the brain. This model will be available to all of the Psychology teachers and each of their sections classes, including AP Psychology, Honors Psychology and CP Psychology.

LED Lighting Design Project

David Carbonneau and Blair Cochran, Science Dept.

With a grant from the Melrose Education Foundation, Melrose High School physics students will research, test, and design their own light-emitting-diode (LED) display.  Students will be meet challenges where they must meet a lighting product design objective and will be able to develop and conduct experiments to investigate the properties of LED.  The project will be able to be replicated year after year and – in future years – the grant winners envision curricular integration with environmental science and chemistry classes.

Non-fiction Texts on Underrepresented Groups in American History at MHS

Tom Scudder, MHS Library Media Specialist, Bryan Corrigan, Director of Social Studies

This grant will fund the purchase of 20-25 non-fiction books to support a more diverse selection of books available to sophomores and juniors completing the required non-fiction text reading assignment in U.S. History class. These books also will help provide teachers with more resources to teach about the history of minorities and underrepresented groups in American History.

Sprinkler Corrosion Chemistry

William J. Hurley, Jr., Brittney Martin, Jon Morris – Melrose High School Science / Chemistry

With a grant from the Melrose Education Foundation, some chemistry students in Melrose High are going to help identify and solve an important problem.  When sprinkler heads prematurely corrode, it’s important to understand why it’s happening and what can be done to solve the problem. The goal of this project will be to research, analyze, experiment and report upon the very real problem of sprinkler head failure.  The project will culminate with a collaborative report and a presentation to the administration to present findings and provide recommendations to remediate the issues.

MVMMS and Melrose High School

Implementing Proficiency-based Study in Global Languages

Kim Talbot, Director of Global Languages

This grant will allow educators in the Global Languages Department at MVMMS and Melrose High School to embrace the progressive movement toward true language proficiency teaching and assessment. Proficiency-focused programs are the gold standard of foreign language programs, according to national global languages organizations. They emphasize comprehension, biliteracy and biculturalism in all four domains of language – speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Here is one way to understand the difference between demonstrating “performance” in foreign language (as measured by more standard assessments and teaching methods) and true proficiency:

* Performance: A teacher has been teaching her students about food in Italian. She takes her students to the North End so they can order in an Italian restaurant.

* Proficiency: While they are eating at the restaurant, a patron comes up to a student and begins a conversation in Italian. Can they react and respond proficiently in this situation?

Personalized Learning through “Fuel Education”

Joshua Cristiano, Academic Facilitator

This grant combines the best of classroom and online learning to serve two distinct groups of students: those who are at risk of not graduating, and those who are unable to pursue a passion because it is not supported by the current curriculum offerings. This customized online resource will allow for personalized learning opportunities through Fuel Education, which will be coordinated and facilitated by the secondary education Academic Facilitator. Working closely with classroom educators, this grant will allow the Academic Facilitator to pursue an innovative way of offering credit recovery in core and elective courses, and will encourage students to engage in a wide array of new learning opportunities.

Robotics Engineering

Betsy Giovanardi, MHS Engineering and CAD and Michael McLoughlin, MVMMS Computer Science and Technology

The grant will fund the purchase of additional LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits and a First Lego League Field Set Up Kit that students will be able to use to explore the fundamentals of multi-disciplinary robotics engineering. Additional Lego Mindstorms Robots will lower the student to robot ratio—enabling more direct hands-on learning for each student.

Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School (MVMMS)

Accept the Challenge: Learning to Understand All Types of Differences at MVMMS

Jessica Weber, Grade 6, ELA

This grant funds 6th grade participation in the “Accept the Challenge” educational program to help students learn the importance of accepting one another regardless of physical or intellectual challenges or differences. Students will participate in class activities that challenge fine motor, memory, listening comprehension, and communication skills and then engage in an in-class discussion about what they experienced through these various challenges.

Document Cameras in the Classroom

Angela Singer, ELA Teacher Grades 6-8

This grant will allow for nine document cameras to be purchased for the ELA classroom. The cameras will be used daily and will allow teachers to easily project any document immediately without the need to transcribe. This grant will benefit all MVMMS ELA students.

Expert in Residence: Writing with Technology

• Beth Colgan: English Language Arts (ELA) teacher, Grade 6
• Wendy Arnold: Library Media Specialist, Grades 6-8

This grant will support a year-long program in which students will develop curriculum-based writing strategies and technology skills through three project-based challenges in collaboration with published author Jennifer Malone, creating original short stories and sharing them with a public audience. The program will focus on using the fundamentals of effective storytelling to write an original piece, as well as finding an audience. Students will use technology to create, innovate, research, collaborate and critically critique emerging work in alignment with the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) student learning standards.

One School, One Book

Adam Azia, Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School

With a grant from the Melrose Education Foundation, all MVMMS students will read participate in a school-wide community reading event.  Students will read Seedfolks, a short novel about the development of a community garden in a diverse neighborhood in Cleveland.  Students will be engaged in discussion and follow a curriculum that will focus on connections to between communities – specifically as they relate to the MVMMS community. Each student will have the opportunity to experience what it means to be a community. Through reading, writing, and discussion students will challenge themselves to reflect on our own present level of community and make plans for a more interconnected future.

All Elementary

Expanding the Youth Band Library

Matthew Repucci, Band Director, Grades 3-12

This grant enables the purchase of specific music pieces to add an exciting and engaging selection to their current library. Enrollment of elementary school students in the band program has increased over the years and this library expansion can provide students with an exciting curriculum material and a fun environment to match the growing interest in the program. One of the goals of the program is to have the MHS and MVMMS students participate as mentors and teachers to the younger students, making it an enriching experience for all.

Inquiry-Based Science for All Elementary Schools

Paula Jones, District Instructional Coach, K-5

Students in grades K-5 will benefit from more hands-on, inquiry-based science units thanks to this grant, which serves all elementary schools. The grant will fund books and materials for one science unit for each grade level district-wide, and will correspond to training that the district is providing for educators during the January 2016 professional development day.

Loyalist or Patriot?  The American Revolution Comes to Life

Melanie Acevedo, District Instructional Coach, Melrose elementary schools

With a grant from the Melrose Education Foundation, fifth grade teacher across all elementary schools will be provided with resources for a project-based unit on the American Revolution.   Project based learning is a student-driven approach to learning. It is highly inquiry-based and focused on students uncovering information to construct new meaning rather than being taught it from a textbook or direct instruction. This grant will promote this process and encourage teachers to promote inquiry based thinking.

Hoover Elementary School

Applying Mindfulness to Reduce Student Anxiety at Hoover

Laurie Truesdale, Special Education for grades 1 and 2

This grant provides training in mindfulness and integrating mindfulness into the classroom. The knowledge will be transferred to other educators through presentation at a Teacher Action Research conference and through Instructional Support Team meetings, allowing the reach of the grant to go beyond one school.

Investigating Rocks and Minerals

Joellen Beaudet, 4th grade teacher

This grant will fund the purchase of the Rocks and Minerals unit available through the Science Technology Concepts Program. It includes curriculum as well as all the materials needed to engage students through hands-on approach as they observe, test and record their findings on this subject.
The kit matches Melrose district’s goals to strengthen students’ ability to work through investigations, maintain a quality science notebook, and communicate their results in various ways. By providing these tools, students are able to experience these materials firsthand and participate in what real 21st elementary science education is all about.

Horace Mann Elementary School

Document Cameras for K-5: A Collaborative Approach to Brainstorming, Drafting, Revising, and Celebrating Student Work

Mary Ellen Cobbs, Principal

This grant will provide document cameras to Horace Mann elementary school classrooms. Teachers will be able to share authentic student work or mentor texts with the entire class simultaneously. The cameras will be used in all K-5 classrooms, which include 261 children.

Lincoln Elementary School

Acoustical Engineering Inquiry-Based Learning Project for 4th Graders

Alyssa Iuliano, Grade 4

This grant funds materials to support a month long engineering curriculum and enhances and extends students skills and knowledge about the subject through inquiry-based learning. Students will gain a better understanding of the engineering design process through hands-on learning and complete engineering design projects using knowledge they have learned about acoustics and how sound interacts within our world.

Active Seating Pilot Program

Brienne Thibodeau, Kathy Tarpey, Holly Schoen, Jessica Patti, Kindergarten team

Innovative seating approaches are currently being piloted at the MVMMS to increase student focus and balance while providing an outlet for excess energy in the classroom. This grant will fund a KORE active seating pilot program at the Lincoln School to be used by the Kindergarten team. The goal is to provide support to kinesthetic learners and increase student engagement for longer periods of time throughout the school day.

Epson Projector for English Language Learners at Lincoln

Carolyn McElligott, K-5 ELL Teacher

This grant will support the purchase and implementation of a projector. A projector will provide visual support for English Language Arts Learners to reinforce vocabulary and contact concepts. The English language learner will be able to see what is being addressed in conjunction with listening to information. As the projector is free standing, it may be used in other classrooms throughout the building to display other students’ work and teachers’ models.

MATSOL Conference Presentation

Allie Cooke, K-5 ESL and Carolyn McElligott, K-5 ESL

This grant will provide funding for two Melrose Elementary ESL teachers to attend and present at the Massachusetts Educator of English Language Learners (MATSOL) State Conference in May 2016. Their presentation will focus on pre-writing strategies, including graphic organizers, to support English language learners in the areas of idea development and organization. The teachers plan to share this presentation with Melrose teachers in staff meetings, or in-service professional development to help all Melrose teachers with strategies to support the growing population of English language learners in the city.

Public Speaking and Presentation for 3rd Grade

Susan McBrine, 3rd Grade

This grant will pay for a six-week residency with Underground Railway Theater to teach Lincoln third graders public speaking through poetry. The curriculum complements the 3rd grade poetry unit and focuses on vocal support, posture, storytelling, poetry interpretation, and integration of visual aids and/or props. The final workshops will culminate in a poetry slam, where students act as both presenters and audience, providing and responding to peer feedback.

Winthrop Elementary School

5th Grade American History Readers at Winthrop

James Yeaton

This grant will support the purchase of readers used to examine various primary sources from early American History. Students will learn to read, interpret and write about primary sources that will assist them in the creation of Document Based Questions. Students will be asked to examine individual sources for information and bias.

Standing Desk Conversion Kits

Carol Bodnar, Occupational Therapist

Three desks in a second grade classroom will be converted to standing desks to accommodate students who have difficulty staying seated for long periods of time. This will increase movement which will help to support learning, as well as help increase concentration, posture, memory and on-task behavior.

Franklin Early Childhood Center

Mathematics for Young Minds Series at the ECC

Donna Rosso, Director, and Heather Wells, Academic Interventionist

All ECC students will benefit from access to concrete math materials, as this grant adds to the STEM library collection for ECC educators. Teachers will now have Mathematics for Young Minds to use in the classroom, a math series that harnesses young children’s natural enthusiasm for learning about the world.

STEM Early Learning Kits at the ECC: A Project-Based Learning Approach

Donna Rosso, Director

ECC educators will be provided with access to several science, engineering, and problem-solving STEM early learning kits in their STEM library, thus opening up new project-based learning opportunities for all ECC students. These kits support the pre-K science standards and ongoing work to implement project-based learning at the ECC.