By on December 8, 2014

$27,000 in Grants Awarded; Public Ceremony Is January 27, 2015

 MELROSE, MA (December 7, 2014) – The Melrose Education Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded over $27,000 in grants to Melrose Public Schools educators during its Fall 2014 grants cycle. The Foundation made the awards in partnership with the City of Melrose, and the grants will directly impact students at every school in the district, from the Early Childhood Center through Melrose High School.

Grants will support professional development opportunities, expanded curriculum materials, Saturday sessions for Advanced Placement (AP) students and educators, inquiry-based learning, and new technology pilot programs.

Recipients were notified on November 25, 2014.

“We saw truly innovative proposals from Melrose educators in this crop of applications,” said Kim LaFontana, co-chair of the grants committee. “These included an elementary-level global education program to AP classes for humanities students at the high school.”

The Foundation received 30 grant applications from educators totaling over $56,000 for this competitive fall grants cycle.  The $27,000 awarded is a 50% increase over last fall’s $18,000 grant round. Some grants were funded in full, some were partially funded, including several pilot programs, and some grant requests were not able to be funded.

“On behalf of the Board of the Foundation and our Grants Committee, I thank every educator who applied for a grant, the City of Melrose for its strong support, and all our donors who made this happen,” said Foundation President Lisa Lewis.  “We are thrilled to award grants that will support innovative teaching and learning at every school in Melrose, and we look forward to hearing about the many positive results of the programs, materials and pilots funded this year.”

“The success of the Melrose Education Foundation Grants is an amazing testament to the hard work of all those involved with the Foundation and our public school system,” said Mayor Rob Dolan. “The quality of all the grant applications and the amount of money raised by the Foundation speaks volumes about our community and our educators.”

Fall 2014 grants include:

  • New advanced placement (AP) opportunities for students. Melrose will be the first district in Massachusetts 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 enable Melrose High School to offer rigorous, college-level AP courses to students in global language and social studies classes.  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.
  • Local author “in residence.” With the support of a Foundation 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.
  • Expanded writing focus. The elementary school students at all grade levels will benefit from updated Writer’s Workshop materials, new writing lessons that will challenge and expand their writing skills across multiple genres.
  • Hands-on electrical engineering. At Melrose High School, a Foundation 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.
  • Global learning. 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 a Foundation grant will bring GEM to the Roosevelt School, a pilot for GEM at the elementary school level.
  • Attendance at one of the nation’s top math conferences. Five MVMMS and Melrose High School math educators will attend the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Meeting and Exposition, a leading national professional development experience, which is being held in Boston in 2015 for the first time in 10 years.
  • Home-school partnership pilot. At the Early Childhood Center, family engagement kits supported by a Foundation grant will foster home-school partnerships with fun math-related kits that will not only reinforce learning concepts but also help parents participate in their children’s education.

In addition to these grants, the 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 include newly hired educators in August. The Board of the Melrose Education Foundation has voted to continue to fund this initiative each summer outside of the competitive grants process.

This grant round was made possible by donations from community members; the strong partnership and financial support of the City of Melrose, which made available $10,000 in grant funding; a generous contribution from the Amazing Grace Golf Tournament; and local business and corporate donations.

The recipients of this year’s grants will be honored during a public ceremony at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at Memorial Hall in Melrose, and the public is invited to attend.

The Melrose Education Foundation launched in June 2013. Since then, the Foundation has awarded over $48,000 in grants, including the awards announced today.