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April 8, 2014 > New Haven Schools Foundation recognizes ÔInnovations in EducationÕ

New Haven Schools Foundation recognizes ÔInnovations in EducationÕ

Submitted By Helen Kennedy

The New Haven Schools Foundation (NHSF) delivered mini-grants totaling over $8,000 to teachers and classrooms during February and March. This annual tradition recognizes innovative ideas for learning that may not be covered by normal classroom and school budgets, and winning a grant is an exciting event for the student beneficiaries.

Money for these classroom grants comes from donations to the Foundation, fundraising events, and corporate and government partners. The winning projects this year were primarily focused in the areas of science and math, demonstrating increased interest in making the learning of these often difficult subjects fun.

This yearÕs grant winners included the following:

Kitayama Elementary School Teacher: Legretta Banks, Science Specialist Award: $2,635. The goal of the project is to generate an Òeco-conscienceÓ amongst the students, staff, and community of Kitayama Elementary. The Go Green Science Club will become the point guard for keeping the school clean, spearheading the recycling movement, and beautifying the environment. After a garden area is revitalized, a mature tree will be rededicated as the ÒGiving Tree,Ó that students will visit for reading sessions. The project also includes funds for a Math/Science Nucleus field trip and additional Science Fair exhibits.

Emanuele Elementary School Teacher Applicant: Nancy McDonnough, Second Grade Award: $1600. All of this yearÕs second grade students at Emanuele will have a chance to participate in a science-related field trip to a venue such as the new Exploratorium in San Francisco. The grant primarily covers transportation to and from the museum location, including accommodation for special needs children. This grant will provide early hands-on experience in the sciences.

Eastin Elementary School Teacher: Beth Morris-Wong, Science Specialist Award: $1,300. Experience is often the best teacher, so EastinÕs Garden Club students will learn about the plant food chain by growing vegetables on campus. The program will cover the environmental aspects of gardening for food, including composting, weed abatement, crop rotation, and other maintenance activities. The garden will be created in an overrun area of the campus, setting the stage for a complete transformation as the plants start to grow.

James Logan High School Teacher: Dorothy Allen, Life Skills Award: $2,100. This grant will benefit the two 9th grade African American Girls Life Skills classes in the 2014-2015 school year by building interest in a college career early enough to influence the choices the students will make in high school. The students will visit a local college or university and will attend the Black College Expo in early 2015.

The Foundation also applied for three ÒSupervisorÕs ChallengeÓ grants on behalf of New Haven teachers, for projects that were funded by the office of Alameda County Supervisor, Richard Valle.

Searles Elementary School Teacher: Carole Segall, Science Specialist Award: $500. SupervisorÕs Challenge Grant plus a $500 matching grant from NHSF. The Searles program will leverage resources from the California School Gardens Network and focus on Gardens for Learning. The aim is to link knowledge of nutrition with the benefits of organically grown food, with the end result being healthy dietary choices. Students of all grade levels will be involved, along with teachers, parents and local business.

Conley-Caraballo High School Teacher: Gina Anderson, Math Award: $962. This grant is to purchase for the ALEKS math computer program, which will train Algebra and CAHSEE students of various levels of beginning ability to learn a subject that is difficult for many. ALEKS will be run at the computer lab, where students can work in groups and study material appropriate to their level. The end goal is to enable each student to build a solid foundation of knowledge and to pass the high school exit exam.

Cesar Chavez Middle School Applicant: Mireya Caserez, Principal Award: $200. Cesar Chavez needed only a small amount of seed money to make their garden grow. The school has a number of bare dirt areas on campus which can be put to productive use with just a few resources. The school will start a new Garden Club, where students can learn about the environment, plant biology, and good nutrition. In addition to growing food, the gardens will add to the beauty of the school property.

Every year, teachers have an opportunity to apply for a grant from the Foundation. Members of the Foundation Board of Directors review the applications and select the winners based on the merits of the proposals. Applications for the 2014 Ð 2015 grants will be accepted starting this summer. For more information, visit,

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