2012-12-14 / Front Page

More grants are on the way

Education foundation announces $10,000 for classroom efforts
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Last week seven educators in Scarborough got word that their efforts to improve instruction in their classrooms and schools will indeed become a reality.

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Scarborough Education Foundation announced its second round of grants, totaling more than $10,000.

This spring the education foundation handed out more than $11,000 to nine grant recipients at four Scarborough schools.

“Our second round of grant applications confirms what we have known – that Scarborough is a district full of dedicated and resourceful educators. Many times the requests are for under $500, but will achieve amazing results within our schools. We are proud to help bring these incredible ideas to fruition” Jodi Shea, secretary of the Scarborough Education Foundation board of directors, said in the release announcing the grants.

Several of the grants were aimed at bringing technology into the classroom.

JoEllen Clive, a fifth-grade teacher at Wentworth Intermediate School, secured a $570 grant to purchase two document cameras for the school. Document cameras have the ability to project information, documents, or objects onto a flat surface such as a wall or projector screen.

“My big interest is with technology and how it can improve the students’ education,” Clive said. “We try to bring technology into the classroom, but we have limited resources to do that. With the new school coming we will have a lot more technology resources. I really wanted to start to use some of that technology now.”

Clive said technology, especially document cameras, is a “great way to learn.” The cameras will be used for reverse teaching in which students become the teacher.

“This allows them to take on the role of teacher and instructor instead of just the teacher in that role. Having that opportunity is great for the kids. You fully understand something when you have to teach it or explain something to others,” Clive said.

Nikki Vafiades, a Spanish teacher at Scarborough Middle School, was awarded a $3,000 grant for document cameras in all three of the school’s foreign language classrooms, as well as a LCD projector and iPad to help students enhance their language fluency.

Patrick Reagan, a fifth-grade teacher at Wentworth Intermediate School, was awarded a grant to enhance language fluency in a completely different way.

The Scarborough Education Foundation provided Reagan with $400 to help students at Wentworth and Blue Point Primary School create and stage plays. The plays will be based on two books, “Giraffes Can’t Dance,” by Giles Andreae and “Dory Story,” a tale written by Jerry Pallotta that examines the ocean food chain.

“Giraffes Can’t Dance” will be narrated in both English and Spanish. Reagan said second-grade students will narrate the book in English and fifth-grade students will narrate it in Spanish. The kindergarten students will help fill the acting roles in both of the plays.

“The kids will play the various roles, whether it is a link in the food chain or an animal in “Giraffes Can’t Dance,” Reagan said. The plays will be staged at the Winslow Homer Auditorium at Scarborough High School in February.

Bringing plays to life, Reagan said, can often be “the hook that gets the young kids reading.”

Reagan, who has been incorporating plays into his classroom instruction for 15 years, said taking part in these plays, as well as the Wentworth theater club, is a memorable experience for students and a way for them to express their creativity.

“The last five years we have had a theater club at Wentworth. It is a very popular group for kids. They can’t seem to get enough,” Reagan said. “It is a great outlet for them to be creative. We do skits where they can be really imaginative.”

Reagan’s plays will not be the only opportunity for Scarborough students to act, thanks to funding from the Scarborough Education Foundation. Molly Montgomery, the student assistance counselor at Scarborough High School, was awarded a $5,000 grant to partially fund a student-driven film about teen issues through Project Aware, a youth-empowerment organization based in Saco.

Montgomery said she started meeting with the organization’s founder and executive director Carl Lakari last year about Scarborough students creating a film.

“I thought it was a great idea and a great opportunity for students to be involved with a film project start to finish,” Montgomery said.

The funding, however, is only a portion of what is needed to create the film. Montgomery said an additional $25,000 is needed “in order to see the project through to completion.”

Montgomery said many students have already expressed interest in participating in the film. Students will decide what the film will be about. Montgomery said some possible topics include self-harm, bullying, sexual harassment, suicide, mental health issues or emotional abuse.

“Whatever type of film gets made in Scarborough, it will be representative of the type of issues today’s teens are facing,” Montgomery said. “Any or all of those things could become part of the film.”

The Scarborough Education Foundation also awarded grants for $622 for alternative seating in a classroom at Wentworth Intermediate School; $450 to fund experimental learning for students in Scarborough High School’s alternative program and $345 to Blue Point physical education teacher Marcia Grant to purchase a physical education manual to promote lifelong wellness.

“We are, yet again, extremely pleased with the quality and caliber of grant applications we received this fall from our talented educators in Scarborough.

The projects are not only creative in nature, but demonstrate a comprehensive community approach to educating our students that is innovative yet efficient” said Will Leadley, SEF president in a press release.

The education foundation was incorporated in December 2011 to fund projects and initiatives in the schools that were not being funded through the traditional school budget.

The undertaking would not have been possible without assistance from the Louis and Tina Fineberg Trust, a trust longtime Scarborough resident Louis Fineberg created in memory of his wife, Tina.

Fineberg has committed $100,000 over the next 10 years to help the foundation fund grant requests and make sure the district’s nutritional program remains funded.

This spring, the foundation awarded $11,000 to nine grant recipients, including funding for a poetry slam and school store at Scarborough High School, GPS technology for thirdand fourth-grade students at Wentworth Intermediate School, iPads and stability balls at Scarborough Middle School, books for Pleasant Hill Primary School and digital cameras for students at the middle school and Blue Point Primary School.

The foundation also provided funding for a unit on Wampanoags and Pilgrims for first-grade students at Eight Corners Primary School.

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