The Irvington Education Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that funds education enrichment programs for the Irvington Union Free School District, has awarded 21 grants to District educators. The grant awards total $120,033, which will go toward a variety of educational opportunities for students.
“We are so proud of our partnership with the IEF,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kristopher Harrison said. “The grant program inspires so many teachers to enrich curriculum making learning exciting and engaging.”
Dows Lane Elementary School third-grade teacher Elizabeth Winnegar said the IEF grants would make a significant impact for students. Winnegar, along with fellow educators Kate Lalier, Philip Levine, Jesse Lubinsky and Deb Mariniello, are launching a “Maker Thinking” program for second- and third-graders to provide students with an opportunity to discover their passions, transfer what they're learning in content areas to real-life situations and cultivate their problem-solving skills.
“We are very excited to offer this program,” Winnegar said. “The IEF grant will allow us to extend our students’ ideas through avenues they might not have considered. Additionally, we will be able to offer materials, such as robotics, that could answer our students’ problems more effectively. It will also provide those who have not yet identified a passion project with materials to encourage their creativity.”
Below is the full list of grant awards:
1. A Day of Grammar with Jeff Anderson – Judy Nadler and Tara Chillemi will have Jeff Anderson visit Irvington Middle School sixth-grade English Language Arts classes to engage students in noting an author's craft and grammar in an authentic way. This work will be accomplished through the use of his common text, Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth. He will guide the students to notice, imitate and craft sentences. The author's presentation will feature his writing process, including how he moved from his initial ideas to drafts of sections and chapters, and specific features or traits of his writing that made the book compelling to his audience, including voice and narration techniques. Anderson will weave in the importance of good grammar and strong editing at just the right developmental level. Grant Award: $8,265.
2. Map It: A Geometric Journey of Washington, DC by ArchForKids – Gregg Pernick will invite The ArchForKids facilitators to visit Irvington Middle School five times where students will use the basics of scale and proportion to build a 3-D model from a 2-D picture of Washington, D.C. Using a map of the city with a predetermined grid, students will calculate distances between famous landmarks, and then build a 3-D model of an iconic building that they will place onto a scaled floor map. The end product will be a large map of Washington, D.C. with each group's iconic landmark. Grant Award: $4,600.
3. Google Expeditions – David Sottile and Jesse Lubinsky will enable teachers to bring students on virtual trips to places like museums, underwater and outer space through Google Expeditions, which are collections of linked virtual reality contact and supporting materials that can be used alongside existing curriculum. These trips are collections of 360-degree virtual reality panoramas and 3-D images annotated with details, points of interest and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools. This grant will provide all necessary technology for one class set of Google Expeditions that will be available for use by the entire school. The funds allocated for professional development will ensure the District is prepared to begin implementation in classrooms at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. Grant Award: $12,570.
4. 8th Grade Shakespeare Residency – Samanatha Gold will provide students with an opportunity to take part in this intense, on-your-feet exploration of Shakespeare's languages and themes. The emphasis of the sessions will be to allow young people to be excited, not intimidated, by Shakespeare's language using “A Midsummer Night's Dream” as a foundation. Students will gain valuable insight into the genre's complexity and the impact on the viewer, as well as the impact that Shakespeare's themes and character development continue to have on modern culture. Using improvisation and tableaux, students will work in groups to create their own interpretation of scenes. By breaking up the entire play into individual scenes and spreading those scenes throughout each class, the residency will culminate with a final performance that will show students the scope of the play while respecting their own interpretations. Grant Award: $3,750.
5. Be A Friend Project and The Friend Strong Musical – Joyce Chapnick will present the “Be A Friend Project,” which brings peer support to young victims of bullying through deliveries of surprise "Friend Mail" letters of hope and joy from kids to kids, that let them know they matter and they are not alone. The writers get to express their kindness and empathy and make a difference. The program would be part of Main Street School’s October assembly and would launch National Bullying Prevention month. Grant Award: $2,800.
6. Clearwater Sloop Visit – Loren Holand and Julie Rostkowski will take students on a three-hour sail on the Hudson River when fifth-graders have the opportunity to learn about the river while being on it. The experience, which will help recognize, reinforce and celebrate the Hudson River, is a dynamic and lasting way to solidify science concepts that students learn in their classrooms. Grant Award: $7,833.
7. D.A.R.E. – Julie Rostkowski and Irvington Police Department will present the D.A.R.E. program, which has been a part of Irvington's fifth-grade curriculum since 1993. The six-week program teaches students how to recognize and resist the direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs. Along with teaching the students about the dangers of drugs, the program's main objective is to teach them to make healthy choices, such as establishing good friendship foundations and reading into advertising. Grant Award: $2,089.
8. Child's Play Drama Residency – Susan Wallace and Julie Cangelosi will invite two teaching artists from Child's Play NY (a theater-arts program for young people) to create a residency for fifth-graders using creative drama and language arts over a 12-week period. The project will enhance the study of ancient civilizations in Mexico, Central and South America. The focus of the program is to connect the academic work in-progress in the classroom to a visceral format where the students become engaged by stepping into their characters' shoes, while leaving room for their own writing and improvisations within the script format. Students will write monologues, character scenes and generate improvisations during the course of the residency. The culmination of the project will be shown to parents during a performance and/or to other grades during the day. Grant Award: $13,300.
9. Destination Imagination – Joyce Chapnick will bring Destination Imagination to Dows Lane Elementary School and Main Street School. The program encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and service learning. Participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem-solving process. Teams may showcase their solutions at tournaments. Grant Award: $3,554.
10. Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign – Lisa Gervasi and Jessica Knoblich will give students the choice of flexible seating due to the changing dynamic of students in the classroom. Flexible seating allows students to choose comfortable spaces around the room to work, along with the freedom to kneel, stand or sit. Flexible seating can help students grow by giving them the power of choice. It also has other immediate benefits like burning calories, using excess energy and improving core strength. There is also evidence that this kind of movement creates better oxygen flow to the brain, which increases motivation. They will also provide technology to help create a student-centered classroom, where students have the opportunity to work on Project-Based Learning activities and HyperDocs. Grant Award: $12,775.
11. Third-Grade Family Math Night – Christine Rosner will provide parents and students with an opportunity to work cooperatively, solve fun-filled problems and build an understanding of the importance of math in everyday life. Through hands-on activities, the students will gain confidence in math and a deeper appreciation of math. At the end of the evening, each family will receive a packet containing instructions for the games and all of the manipulatives needed to play the games at home. Grant Award: $2,067.
12. "Maker Thinking" Pilot Program – Elizabeth Winnegar, Kate Lalier, Philip Levine, Jesse Lubinsky and Deb Mariniello will launch a “Maker Thinking” program, which is geared toward an active and collaborative way of thinking and approaching challenges. A maker's space is a "do-it-yourself" (or do-it-with-others) mindset that brings together individuals around a range of activities. The goal for the 2017-18 school year is to conduct three pilots of initiatives that focus on "maker thinking" in instructional settings that will enable students to explore and manipulate their environment using science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics skills in a creative and hands-on-environment. The pilot program will be launched in two classrooms (one second-grade class and one third-grade class), as well as in all third-grade classes through Dows Lane Elementary School’s library program. Grant Award: $3,513.
13. Hooked on Sonics In-House Field Trip – Eileen Scanlon will take students on a “field trip” that’s designed to be held in the classroom. Students will discover how sounds travels by conducting fun and informative experiments, working individually and cooperatively on at least five experiments related to sound. Grant Award: $1,500.
14. How Did Geography Shape Our City? – Krystal Mitchell and Dina Lenhart will welcome a history educator from the New York Historical Society into the classrooms to bring the social studies scope and sequence to life for students. Over the course of their visits, students will examine, analyze and discuss primary sources from the New York Historical Society's collections. Using replicas of artifacts, works of art, cityscapes, historical maps and timelines, and documents spanning four centuries, they will do the work of historians as they build critical thinking skills and deepen their contact knowledge. Using the second-grade hallway as a museum, each second-grade class will display a bulletin board representing something learned from one of the sessions. Each class can have a student-led presentation for parents as a culmination. Grant Award: $5,550.
15. Bringing Literature to Life – Krystal Mitchell will allow students to gain insight into theater with opportunities to write, rehearse, perform and understand the excitement, imagination and cooperation that goes into creating theater. The program will allow students to see the connection between the bare performance and literature and how this can be developed and shared using different media. Students' families will be invited to the culminating performance. Grant Award: $9,000.
16. Mad Month of Science – Elizabeth Winnegar will invite a New York Hall of Science representative to provide three 45-minute hands-on science workshops at Dows Lane Elementary School in a three-week succession that will stimulate deeper understanding of each science concept being explored. These include: All Charged Up Electricity (discovering how electricity is produced, build simple circuits and experiment with conductors and insulators), Bright Ideas Light (learning how light can be produced and become familiar with some of its properties) and Micro-Madness Microbiology (using high-quality, portable microscopes to explore the world of animals and protists). Grant Award: $4,000.
17. Hands-on Science Enrichment – Corinne Daniels will invite a scientist to present 90-minute programs throughout the year that are designed to be held in the classroom. The programs include Facts of the Matter, which is an expository look into how heat and cold changes the three forms of matter; Weather Your Right, where the class makes tornadoes, touches "lightning," forms clouds and learns by active experimentation that weather is created by pressure and temperature; Plantastic Plants, which explores how plants work by showing photosynthesis in action, tracking the food chain, analyzing tree rings and performing experiments; and Me and Magnets, which teaches students how magnets work as they build an electromagnet and discover their practical applications in everyday life. Students work individually and cooperatively on experiments and have an end product from each unit of study to take home. Grant Award: $6,600.
18. Storytelling with Folk (& Fairy) Tales – Susan Buck and Mark Rogers will invite two educational consultants from Beauty & The Beast Storytellers. Dows Lane Elementary School students will learn to use facial expressions, body language and vocal intonation to retell stories. This project expands upon a K-1 classroom focus on retelling stories, including key details and story elements. At both the kindergarten and first-grade levels, children learn to respond to literature. This storytelling residency provides the youngest students with the germ of 21st-century skills and dispositions, such as flexible thinking, collaborative learning, creativity and risk-taking. Grant Award: $6,620.
19. Dows Lane Literacy Event (1st Grade Family Reading Night) – Margaret Barrett will present the Dows Lane Literacy Event, which allows first-grade students and their parents to engage in literacy activities for 75 minutes. This teacher-facilitated evening will invite first-graders and their parents to participate in text-based activities that foster an excitement in and enjoyment of reading and will encourage on-going family reading time at home. Throughout the evening, students and their parents will be exposed to and immersed in worthy literature to deepen their understanding of the richness, complexity and power of the reading process. Grant Award: $3,897.
20. PE Yoga and Meditation – Kate Becker will welcome certified yoga and meditation instructor Jennifer Monness to lead a 10-day, five-class unit that combines yoga and meditation with strength and endurance training. The classes will be a part of the Irvington Middle School's physical education curriculum, and it will impact all sixth- through- eighth-grade students. Grant Award: $2,500.
21. PE Yoga and Meditation – Martin Resendiz and Donna Devaney will welcome certified yoga and meditation instructor Jennifer Monness to lead Irvington High School students in a physical education unit that combines yoga and meditation with strength and endurance training. The classes will be a part of the high school physical education curriculum, and it will impact all ninth- through 12th- grade students. Grant Award: $3,250.