During the 2016-17 school year, the Melrose Education Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $27,000 to Melrose Public School educators. Scroll down to see the lists of spring and fall grant recipients.

Spring 2017 Grants

The Melrose Education Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $5,200 to Melrose Public School educators during its 2017 spring mini-grant cycle.

Note: This year, the Foundation was proud to partner with the MVMMS and MHS PTOs to support two ELA grants (Tools for Note taking in ELA and Reading Study for ELA Educators). These mini-grant applications were submitted to the Foundation but were funded by the PTOs. We appreciate their partnership and support.

Melrose High School

Tools for Note taking in ELA

Lindsey Dobbins, ELA teacher, Grades 9-12

This grant supports supplies, such as reusable “sticky-note” wall pads, to expand the note-taking capacity of students and for the charting and sharing of information and feedback in ELA classrooms at Melrose High School. At the conclusion of this grant, each ELA teacher at MHS will have compiled permanent student notes usable in the future for re-teaching materials, permanent gallery walk notes for student presentations that can be used as models in the future, and teacher and student note-taking and analysis charts. This grant has been funded in partnership with the MHS PTO. 

Advanced Circuit Design

Betsy Giovanardi, Technology, Advanced CAD, Robotics, Engineering, Grades 9-12

This grant provides supplements for existing electronics kits that will expand electrical engineering lessons allowing students to pursue more challenging designs as well as potentially expand the curriculum of multiple technology classes. The supplies provided by the grant will also allow for project-based learning as well as Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Edible Garden

Shawna Carr and Patrick Dayton, Developmental Learning Classroom and Access Program

This grant provides funding to purchase supplies to create and maintain an edible garden. Students will be responsible to plan a budget, purchase supplies and create a growing environment to start and maintain an edible garden. Through this exercise, students will also learn about nutrition and healthy eating. This hands-on project is expected to support multi-level learning in math/money skills, life skills, and science skills. Upon completion of the project, the garden will be open to all teachers and staff who are interested in learning about the project in order to share information throughout the school.

AP Capstone Training Materials

Jason Merrill (MHS Principal), Tom Scudder (AP Capstone Teacher, MHS LMS)

This grant provides funding for materials to be used in the continued development and execution of the AP Research program at Melrose High School. AP Research is the second half of the AP Capstone program, an innovative AP program designed to develop skills in research and argumentation needed for success in college and careers. Training materials purchased with this funding will provide support for the first cohort completing the AP Capstone program in the 2017-2018 school year.

Time management tools for Developmental Learning Classroom and Post Graduate Students

Jennifer Papasodoro, OTR/L, Grades 9-12

This grant provides funding for the purchase of tools that would support the training of MHS special education students and post graduate students.  By utilizing these tools, students will develop improved time management for learning and life skills. This grant would support school goals by teaching students to more independently initiate, plan and execute tasks. Knowledge will be shared via collaboration and consults that naturally occur, as well as via potential informal in-servicing as necessary.

Compact Video Camera, Melrose High School
Anna Maria Melito, M. Ed, Visual Art, Grades 9-12

This grant provides funding for the purchase of a compact video camera for use in the filming of art tutorials. and instructional videos for the classroom.

Classroom Map

Hannah Edsall, Social Studies, Grades 9-12

This grant provides funding to replace the existing classroom maps in Room 222. The updated classroom maps will not only provide a more useful visual cue to combine history with geographic knowledge, but will also be instrumental in helping students with language based processing issues or vision issues to access the important geographic components of the history lesson.

Geometry 3D Printing Materials

Scott Thornton,Geometry, Grade 9; Tom Scudder, LMS, Grades 9-12,

This grant provides funding for advanced 3D computer aided design software.  Through the use of this software, students will be challenged to apply principles of basic and advanced geometry and create original architectural designs in a project-based learning environment.  This grant will also support existing 9th grade geometry curriculum to enable students to work toward mastering geometric principles, multiple technology standards and benchmarks from the grade 9-12 MPS Technology Plan.

Gamifying Geopolitics for Current Events

Alex Pennachio, Current Events/History, Grades 10-12

This grant provides funding for the purchase of an online fantasy platform to gamify and grown student engagement with domestic and international current events. Students will build their news literacy and research skills while allowing teachers to create a variety of assignments aligned with the game that can be used to match the skills of different learners.  An online platform will allow students to draft countries or states which they follow over the course of the class.

Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School

Reading Study for ELA Educators 

Angela Singer, Humanities Department Head, MHS and MVMMS

This grant will fund a book study for all ELA educators at the MVMMS during the 2017-18 school year, which will supplement their professional development efforts on the topic of “close reading.” Teachers will meet to discuss their books study at regular intervals. They will read and discuss the text, implement recommendations in their classrooms, and create lesson plans working individually and in groups. By the end of the 2017-18 school year, educators will implement the close reading strategies included in the text. This grant has been funded in partnership with the MVMMS PTO. 

Social-Emotional Fidgets for Students

Molly Magee, Laura Dubiel, Chessie Shaw; MVMMS Guidance Counselors

This grant will provide students with access to a variety of portable tools (fidgets, stress balls, etc.) for stress management in their classes. It will enable the purchase of a large quantity of these tools, which will be distributed to the appropriate students as needed.

Volleyball Supplies

Steven Mirasolo, Lauren Doherty, Anthony Palmeri; Physical Education

This grant will enable MVMMS Physical Education teachers to successfully implement a volleyball unit for all MVMMS Phys. Ed students through the purchase of volleyballs and pinnies. These supplies will enable teachers to hold multiple differentiated, small-sided games that focus on specific skills and support individual students as they grow and learn volleyball basics at their own pace.

Melrose High School and Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School

Virtual Reality STEM

Jon Morris, STEM Director, Grades 6-12

This grant provides funding for the purchase of a Virtual Reality camera and headset as a means to explore the addition of Virtual Reality to classes and the Makerspace. Students and staff can utilize current, innovative technology to enhance virtual lab experiments, student tours, and user interfaces with the structures that Virtual Reality provides.

Horace Mann

Calm Down Corner

Whitney Simpson, 5th Grade Teacher

This grant will provide funding to be used to purchase materials to create a calm down corner in a 5th grade classroom. Students will be able to access this space when feeling stressed, upset, or irritated and access the grant-funded tools to effectively regain focus in a developmentally-appropriate manner.

Hoover Elementary School

Supporting an Active Classroom 

Sophia Stamos and Velika Majka, 2nd Grade Educators

This grant will expand efforts underway in the Hoover School’s 2nd grade classrooms to encourage more movement and engagement during the school day. After piloting several ideas for flexible seating options and new writing instruments, the teachers realized that students would benefit from these active classroom initiatives. Teachers expect an increase in student engagement, and will share the knowledge gained through this grant with others throughout the Hoover School and other Melrose Public Schools districtwide.

Hoover and Roosevelt Elementary Schools

Social Problem Solving Curriculum

Amy Cesar, Hoover/Roosevelt K-5, Speech Language Pathologist

This grant provides funding to enhance social thinking and problem solving for early elementary school students experiencing communication impairments. Through the Social Problem Solving program, students will be given the opportunity to strengthen their social communication and problem solving skills. The curriculum includes materials that will be available for students’ use at home and in the classroom.

Lincoln Elementary School

Social Communication Disorders and Executive Function Continuing Education

Jessica Patti, Integrated Kindergarten Teacher

This grant provides funding for continuing education to obtain knowledge and tools to teach children necessary social communication skills. Teachers will attend a two-day training course offered by the Landmark School Outreach program and share their findings and materials in classes throughout the Lincoln School.

Winthrop Elementary School

Magnets and Stem Project/ Maglev Car & Track Race

Sue Herook, Kim Dulong, Kelly Constantine, Suzanne Rabinovitz; 3rd Grade Teachers

This grant will provide funding for a 3rd grade project answering the question: How Can Magnets Be Used to Levitate an Object and Cause Motion? This project supports district goals, including STEM objectives, and will focus on developmentally appropriate reading, writing, and physical science skills regarding magnets. This project will culminate in the Science Inquiry Presentations in late Spring.

All Melrose Public Schools

Earth Science Big Books, 1st Grade

Melanie Acevedo; Science

This grant provides funding for two Earth Science Big Books to support, explain, and elaborate on the stages of a science inquiry model for 1st grade students in all Melrose elementary schools. Funds will allow for the purchase of the textbooks The Solar System and The Four Seasons for each school.

Reducing Anxiety in the Classroom, K-5

Laurel Neubauer, 4th Grade Teacher at Horace Mann; Jillian Duzz, 3rd Grade Teacher at Horace Mann; and Paula Jones, K-5 District Instructional Coach

This grant will provide funding for SEEM Collaborative-sponsored professional development training for three MPS elementary educators. This training will provide insight on supporting students’ social and emotional behavior in the classroom, with a focus on effective coping mechanisms for anxiety. These new strategies will be shared with other elementary grade level colleagues throughout the district.

Mindfulness Continuing Education, K-12

Sheila A. Kelley, PT, District Physical Therapist, K-12

This grant will provide funding for an online Mindfulness course offered through Salem State University. Mindfulness will benefit students at all grade levels, especially students with disabilities who experience anxiety and/or difficulty with executive functions. Mindfulness techniques can be taught to students to positively impact their academic learning and increase capacity for empathy which supports social emotional development. After completion of the course, a summary presentation will be made to the occupational and physical therapy staff to share the information with colleagues.

Fall 2016 Grants

The Melrose Education Foundation – in partnership with the City of Melrose – awarded grants totaling more than $22,000 to Melrose Public School educators during its 2016 fall grant cycle.

All Schools: Elementary, MVMMS & MHS

Melrose Public Schools Orchestras

Composer Residency

Lucas Miller, Music Teacher, Grades 3-12

In celebration of Melrose Symphony’s 100th anniversary season, orchestra students will work with local composer Robert Bradshaw to write a new piece of music for and about the students. Mr. Bradshaw will lead four composition workshops for each orchestra class, focusing on music theory and history, while coaching the students in writing their own music. A video documentary of the composition process and resulting original pieces will be developed in collaboration with MHS Science and Technology Teacher Anthony DiBenedetto and will be shown at the 2017 Spring Orchestra Concert in May.

Professional Development for Music Education

Music Educators at All Levels

This grant will allow educators in the Music Department to attend a professional development opportunity at the annual Massachusetts Music Educators Association conference. An educator at each level (elementary, middle school and high school) will attend the training and will share information gained from the professional development conference with his/her colleagues, allowing for sharing of best practices. 

All Elementary

Number Talks: A core instructional practice for all new elementary teachers

Melanie Acevedo, District Instructional Coach, K-5

This grant will support instructional coaching, books and multimedia materials for all new teachers at the elementary level in an important teaching tool for mathematics: number talks. Students in grades K-5 will benefit from more in-depth use of this pedagogical practice: developing strategies for following students’ own thinking and asking the right questions to build understanding of difficult topics in math. This was identified by the district-wide instructional coaches as an area that is lacking training and materials for new teachers.

Hoover & Lincoln Elementary Schools

Social Emotional Tools for All Learners

Samantha Ruggiero, School Psychologist

By deploying a wide range of books, games and multimedia resources, for use with teachers, social workers and the school psychologist, this grant will allow teachers to incorporate social-emotional learning throughout the school day in a way that addresses their students where they are. This grant addresses a need for up-to-date, kid-friendly, practical resources for interventions and supports, particularly those addressing social skills.

Hoover School

Flexible Seating

Jennifer Flynn and Joanne Kimball Sherman, Teachers, Grade 1

Laurie Truesdale, Pupil Professional Services, Grades 1 and 2

This grant will purchase a variety of flexible seating options to assist students with self-regulation, a key component of social and emotional learning (SEL). These materials will enable all types of learners to better engage within a classroom setting. Hoover School staff will regularly assess the effectiveness of these new tools in supporting students.

Horace Mann School

Calm Down Corner

Mili Jacob, Speech and Language Pathologist K-5 & 9-12

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

This grant will allow the creation of ‘calm down corners’ in 5 elementary classrooms at Horace Mann. These cool down spaces will be equipped with a beanbag chair, a weighted lap/shoulder pad, noise reduction headphones, and a visual 5 minute timer. Students would have access to the area when they feel anxious and seek to employ the self-regulation tactics they have been taught.

Melrose High School

Access Classroom Tools

Susan Olson, School Psychologist

This grant will fund the purchase of items to aid in the social emotional learning of students in the Access Program at Melrose High School, focused on students with challenges in attention and focus. The standing desks, medicine balls and fidget toys will aid in increasing student ability to focus, reducing behavioral challenges and increasing learning time.

Design, Create and Market a Spheros Robot Accessory

Betsy Giovanardi, Technology Teacher, Grades 9-12

This grant will allow for the purchase of multi-color 3D filament to allow CAD students to design and create a custom accessory for the Spheros robots. Students in CAD 2, 3, and 4 will work together in teams to research current accessories, identify a target market for the new design. After the printing of the new accessory, students in the marketing class will create a pitch presentation around the new product, and any education-based accessories will be shared with students in the targeted subject area.

Learning Commons Extended Hours

Jason Merrill, Principal

Tom Scudder, Library Media Specialist

Joshua Cristiano, Academic Facilitator

This grant will support a pilot project to allow the MHS Learning Commons to remain open and available during after school hours to all high school students on a set schedule for the remainder of the school year. Approximately 900 students will be able to use the technology and academic support resources housed within the Learning Commons. MHS staff will survey students and collect data on attendance and needs within the pilot project’s hours to assess future viability of maintaining extended hours for future school years.

Life Skills

Shawna Carr, Special Education and Post-Graduate Students

This grant will allow educators to purchase pre-vocational materials and games that help develop important skills needed in the workplace, benefitting students in the Developmental Learning Classroom and the post-graduate program at Melrose High School. The goal is to help students improve their math skills, problem-solving and workplace behaviors.

Social Studies AP Support

Angela Singer, Director, Humanities Department, Grades 6-12

This grant provides professional development for educators in social studies, as well as enhanced instruction and test preparation for students in Advanced Placement social studies courses such as economics, US History and US government. This grant allows students in these AP courses to receive the same level as support as those pursuing AP offerings in English, math and science. The current enrollment in the AP social studies courses is over 200 students. 

Teaching for Proficiency in Global Languages

Denise Wagstaff, French, Grades 10-12

This grant will support the purchase of professional literature for Global Language teachers on the topic of teaching languages for proficiency, with a focus on creating assessments and curriculum design. The books purchased will help MHS teachers on the “path to proficiency” and are well known in the language community. Teaching for proficiency is part of the Language Department’s long range goals and will enable students to apply and use their language knowledge outside the classroom.


Makerspace Equipment

Jonathan Morris, STEM Director Grades 6-12

This grant will support the addition of physical tools and elements to enhance the current abilities of the new Makerspace in Melrose High School. The goal of the Makerspace is to provide students and staff exposure to state of the art technology and equipment to foster both independent and collaborative innovation, problem solving and entrepreneurship. Staff will be offered professional development each week to acquire training for usage of the Makerspace. These professional development opportunities will help utilize the Makerspace across disciplines and staff can take advantage of providing more innovative ideas in the classroom. 

Generation Citizen Program

Bryan Corrigan, Maggie Maguire, Maureen Connell, Jenna Duncan, Michelle Sewyek

This grant will support the expansion of students’ participation in Generation Citizen and Civics Day by training staff at both Melrose High School and the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School. This expansion will result in the implementation of a teacher-led version of the Generation Citizen (GC) Program. The grant will also support GC orientation for all classroom teachers; ongoing teacher coaching by a GC representative; support for class projects as well as guest speakers, community development and leadership opportunities.


Bouncy Bands

Michelle Kane-Sewyck, Social Studies

This grant will purchase Bouncy Bands which attach to desks, giving students an outlet for extra energy they may have and increasing their ability to stay focused on the academic work in process. According to Bouncy Bands, 88% of students report that the bands help them focus in class and 87% say they feel calmer when taking tests; and 87% of teachers report that movement helps students focus.

Social Awareness and Action Through Theater, Literature and Creative Writing

Adam Azia, English, Grade 7

This grant will support the 8 week residency of actor, director and teacher Steve Kidd. 7th grade students will watch and debrief a performance of Sigh/Omelas, written and performed by Mr. Kidd. The goal of this residency is to help students become more socially aware of people in need of care and support through reading, creative writing and performing.

Stability Balls

Beth Colgan, ELA Grade 6

This grant will support the purchase and implementation of additional stability balls for use in Grade 6 ELA classrooms. A pilot stability ball program has proven successful and this grant will expand the program. Grade 6 students who participated in the pilot program found that the stability balls helped them focus in class by providing a physical output that enabled them to move appropriately while learning. 

Roosevelt Elementary School

Ravens at Recess

Mary Beth Maranto, Principal; Jilly Tully, Kindergarten Teacher

This grant will support high quality and tailored social skills training for the entire Roosevelt School staff. The goal of this training is to strengthen Positive Behavior Interventions & Systems (PBIS) practices while positively impacting student interactions at recess and throughout their day. This training, in partnership with two Boston based social skills agencies, will teach ideologies as well as specific strategies to help students interact in a more productive, positive way. Staff will develop hands-on practices that will allow them to be present throughout all recess areas and help students handle challenging social situations on the spot.

Responsive Classroom Training Materials

Rebecca DiLeo, Emily Savage, Ann Forrest, Julie Norman – Grade 1 Teachers

This grant will support the purchase of training materials to promote social emotional learning from the Responsive Classroom. These materials will help teachers build a foundation of inclusivity and community for students, engage students in a friendly, safe environment and enable students to be risk takers for successful learning. The materials purchased will be shared among the four Grade 1 classrooms to support the yearlong grade level initiative of including social emotional learning into daily routines and lessons.

Winthrop School

Chromebooks for Craniums

Meghan Lewis, Grade 4 Teacher

This grant will fund additional Chromebooks to be used on the fourth grade at the Winthrop School. Chromebooks are currently available at a 3:1 Chromebook to student ratio, and additional Chromebooks will allow increased access to these increasingly important tools. Work done by Chromebook today includes practicing skills across all academic areas, support of small group work, as a way to discover primary sources as part of research projects, to type, edit and share student writing, and preparing to take the MCAS 2.0 online. Specific benefits of this pilot will be important going forward in assessing the technology-to-student ratio across the district.