Your Grant Dollars in Action
Thanks to your support, we regularly hear from teachers about how Foundation grants are a powerful tool for educating students and inspiring teachers. We recently received an email from Kim Talbot, Director of Global Languages, ELL, and Visual & Performing Arts at Melrose High School, who wrote:

“You know, the world is an uncertain place, but I wanted you to know with certainty that the organization of MEF and the innovation it inspires — and its willingness to fund pilots — has implications far beyond the initial allocation of funds. Your support has not only made a difference for seniors in the Global Language program in Melrose and our program offerings, but has impacted the lives of countless others and helped to spread equity and empowerment beyond our own community.”

During the fall of 2016, the Melrose Education Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $22,000 to Melrose Public School educators.

The Melrose Education Foundation has been awarding grants since 2013.


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.