The Bedford Education Foundation (BEF) promotes classroom innovation and empowers teachers and students to meet the growing challenges of the 21st century. Through direct grants to individual classroom teachers and school administrators, and by collaborating with other established school organizations, the BEF is dedicated to enhancing classroom curricular creativity and innovation in the Bedford Public Schools. The BEF provides a unique and effective vehicle for the community at large to utilize its fiscal and intellectual capital to ensure that creativity and innovation are staples of any student’s experience in the Bedford Public Schools.The Bedford Education Foundation funded thirteen grants in our 2019 grant cycles, totaling almost $21,000.
Grants Funded at Davis School
- Davis School Science Curriculum Coordinator Kevin Smaldone was awarded a $900 grant for a weather station for all of the Kindergarten classrooms. This grant includes rain gauges, a 5’ windsock and frame, six wireless remote monitoring weather stations, and two jumbo thermometers.
- As part of the new Kindergarten science curriculum, students will be observing and recording the weather each day, looking for patterns, and drawing conclusions. By establishing an analog weather station as well as a digital version, we can empower classrooms to collect the data from their own instruments in their own environment.
- Second-grade teachers Alli Lua and Karen Shamon, and special educator Laura Albonesi, were awarded a $1,500 grant for a Sensory Path to be installed in the hallway at Davis School. The path creates a space for students to have a structured movement break if needed during the course of the school day. This creative addition to Davis School will provide all students the opportunity to access tools that will help them be more focused and available for learning.
- Literacy Specialist Christina Avis and ESL Teacher Lisa Bourgeois were awarded a $1,500 grant to create a child-centered, inclusive learning and socializing space where children feel welcome. This grant provides for materials used to support a diverse literature base in place at Davis school while helping to enhance the opportunities for students to have a window into the various cultures and abilities of their peers, as well as to shine a mirror onto their own. Through this literature, but also through thoughtful crafts, games, and newly organized learning space, this program will allow for the students to creatively access ‘sliding doors’ into the experience of others in a more welcome and inclusionary classroom environment.
Grants Funded at Lane School
- Lane School counselor Jessica Smith, speech and language pathologist Nadia Trant, and occupational therapist Elizabeth Larrabee were awarded a $4,500 grant to bring Brain Power Wellness to Lane School. This grant will provide 12 Lane School educators a full-day training session to give them tools to promote focus, mindfulness and emotional wellness for students. A facilitator will also provide three classroom visits per teacher to model activities in the classroom.
- Lane School art teacher Hailey Yerova was awarded a $3,000 grant for six iPads, cases, an Apple pencil, and a charging cart for dedicated use in the art room. The iPads will further the students’ independence as learners and help document student artwork throughout the year. Students will also use the iPads for a new stop motion animation unit.
- Third-grade teacher Kathryn O’Brien was awarded a $500 grant for ready-made, project-based activities to support the current math curriculum. These materials will help engage students and differentiate the curriculum to meet the needs of all students. This grant will provide over one hundred hands-on, cross-curricular activities from Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace for original educational materials created by teachers. The materials will be shared with all third-grade teachers.
Grants Funded at John Glenn Middle School
- JGMS Librarian Lynda McGraw was awarded a $3,200 grant to bring author Gary Schmidt to the middle school. The two-time Newbery Honor winner will speak to Grade 7 students in January after they finish reading his novel Wednesday Wars. Mr. Schmidt will speak about his writing process, what he wants the students to learn from his novel, and share how literature acts as a window and mirror into their lives.
- Grade 8 teacher Kelsey Little was awarded a $350 grant for a classroom set of headphones for use in her English classes. The headphones, which include microphones, will be used for students to listen to each other reading their written work, verbalize opinions, and ask and respond to each others’ questions. They will also be used for listening to audiobooks, helping to engage struggling readers. This creative approach to increasing access to literature for 8th-grade students falls directly in line with district goals to improve literacy throughout the school system.
- Lauren Noferi was awarded a $400 grant for a Wonderstructs Kit for the JGMS Girls’ STEM Club. The kit includes materials to design and build a rolling ball sculpture involving motors. The club plans to display the finished sculpture on the windows of the JGMS library to be viewed from the courtyard and library.
Grants Funded at Bedford High School
- Academic Achievement Center teacher Zuzka Blasi was awarded a $450 grant to pilot equipment intended to improve the quality of lighting in an AAC classroom. The plan includes full-spectrum lamps and panel diffusers to cover the fluorescent light fixtures in the classroom. Studies show that more natural lighting such as this, designed to mimic sunlight, can help to improve mental health and academic performance in high school students.
- BHS Library Media Specialist Christy Walker Magoon was awarded a $1,800 grant for equipment to extend the capabilities of the growing BHS Library Fab Lab. The grant will provide a crafting station to create glass and jewelry projects and a clamshell heat press to use in conjunction with the existing vinyl-cutting machine. These creative pieces of equipment will be innovative additions to the high school maker space, affording BHS students the opportunity to create a limitless number of projects as they employ their collaborative and problem-solving skills in this highly engaging and hands-on space.
- BHS Science teachers Sarah Leshay and John O’Connor, and STEP teachers Victoria Breslin and Cia Dill, were awarded a $2,200 grant for twelve Root robots for use with students enrolled in the STEP program as well as those enrolled in the Robotics 2/3 elective at BHS. These students will design lessons and opportunities to teach coding to younger students at Lane and JGMS, allowing them to take on a leadership and peer mentor role. Root is a small mobile robot designed to teach logic and coding skills. It can draw, play music, light up, and drive on whiteboards with the help of magnets.
- ESL and Reading teacher Matthew Brennan and Reading teacher Deb Murphy were awarded a $600 grant to develop an online magazine forum for ESL, reading, and foreign language students. Students will publish authentic and engaging stories about their lives in English or other languages. These stories can take the form of memoir, biography, book reviews, artwork, and creative texts as well as podcasts, iMovies, and multimedia stories.
To learn more about Bedford Education Foundation, visit their website!