The Nashua Education Foundation has approved grants totaling more than $29,500 to support innovative programs and projects that enhance the education of Nashua School District students. Eight elementary schools, two middle schools and both high schools have received funding.
The grants include:
I’m All Ears allows intensive needs students at Main Dunstable Elementary School to enjoy listening to a variety of books on CD as they are brought to life by story tellers. The students will be able to follow along with accompanying books to aid in their comprehension and reading fluency. NEF award: $200.00
Immediately knowing whether students are understanding concepts is critical to effective teaching and can significantly impact student learning. Typically, teachers use a show of hands or a “thumbs up or down” approach. If a student is reluctant to stand out or hasn’t grasped the concept completely, these methods are ineffective. With funds from NEF, two third grade classrooms at Sunset Heights Elementary School will be piloting technology based assessment tools that allow teachers to see understanding instantly. The Mimio Vote System allows students to use “voting” response clickers. Data from the clickers is available on the computer in real time so that instruction can be adjusted. With the Qwizdom Empowering Intelligent Interaction System, both teacher and student get immediate feedback to the student’s response to a question, enabling students to help guide their own learning. NEF combined award: $3,235.00.
Students at Sunset Heights Elementary School will observe, investigate, collect data and experience hands on learning in their new outdoor classroom setting. The project includes a sensory garden, a weather station, water collection area and composting bins. Students will also be able to enjoy the “fruits of their labor” by consuming fresh produce from the garden. Math, science, social studies and writing will be integrated into the lessons taught as part of the Sunset Heights community collaboration. NEF award: $2,000.00.
A classroom projector will be the cornerstone of technology that will accommodate all learners in a Grade 2 classroom at Sunset Heights. Students will have access through technology to curriculum e-books that help further develop comprehension, vocabulary and reading skills. NEF award: $549.00.
Ledge Street Elementary School: Junior FIRST Lego League has arrived at Ledge Street School. Students at Ledge Street got a glimpse of the kinds of projects they would be working on from a visiting Lego League team last spring. With NEF funding, Ledge Street students are using Lego League to demonstrate “The Leader in Me” program in classrooms throughout their school and are excited about competing in the Lego League. NEF award: $1490.00.
Bicentennial Elementary School: All first graders at Bicentennial School will experience hands on learning in their animal habitat lessons as part of the district’s National Geographic science curriculum. NEF provided funding to purchase animal pelts which will be used in lessons several times throughout the year. NEF award: $250.00.
Beneficial to tactile learners at Main Dunstable Elementary School, the Drum Making project, with support from NEF, enables students to participate in the Native American tradition of drum making as part of their third grade social studies program. A culminating “Drum Awakening” ceremony allows students to share their knowledge of Native American culture and demonstrate the ancient drum making tradition. NEF award: $250.00.
The Outside Connections Club at Pennichuck Middle School incorporates service learning, expeditionary learning, and environmental science and provides outdoor recreation opportunities for students at Pennichuck Middle School. NEF funding provided support for the club’s program which successfully mapped new community hiking trails at Nashua’s Roby Park. NEF award: $250.00.
Nashua High School North students were able to learn first-hand from well known storyteller Simon Brooks through a grant from NEF. Students soon implemented lessons learned in their class presentations and even inspired a new version of the classic Little Red Riding Hood from Brooks. NEF award: $250.00.
Amherst Elementary School received technology funding to help improve mathematics. Amherst Street students and their teachers are using document cameras in their Magnifying Math program. NEF award: $630.00.
Students Off And Running (SOAR) at Fairgrounds Middle School received funding to help incoming sixth graders transition to middle school. NEF funds provided supplemental materials to the program which takes place prior to the start of the school year so that sixth graders can SOAR at Fairgrounds from the very beginning. NEF award $600.00.
The Ripple Effect at Nashua High School South is collaboration between High School student writers, singers and artists, The Nashua Symphony Association, composers and Poet Laureate Marie Harris. NEF funding supported student involvement. The collaboration culminates with a performance showcasing student art, choral and orchestral performances and musical compositions inspired by student poetry. NEF award: $1,000.00.
Birch Hill Elementary School’s The Next Step for Effective Instruction program will integrate technology in the classroom to motivate and teach important concepts. Birch Hill School received funding directly from NEF and through NEF partnerships. NEF award: $1,500.00.
Non-fiction books for a Fairgrounds Middle School classroom were provided to supplement and expand reading options for students. NEF award: $250.00.
Math enrichment kits were provided to Amherst Street Elementary School for students to bring home their excitement for math and enable family members to learn the terminology and strategies used to teach math in the classroom. NEF award: $400.00.
Dr. Crisp Elementary School: Second graders at Dr. Crisp will have many more choices in their classroom library this year thanks to a grant from the NEF. Teachers Catherine Kolar and Courtney Tomich needed books of varied levels and interests for their voracious new readers. Sets of books will be purchased to encourage the students to find their favorite genre of literature. NEF award: $850.00.
New Searles Elementary School: The media center at New Searles will jump into the 21st century with the addition of a set of Nooks. The Nooks, which hold large volumes of the most up to date research texts, will allow students to learn about topics without being limited to encyclopedias in the media center. The ability to constantly update these Nooks will guarantee “new” research sources for the students. NEF award: $2,600.00.
Bicentennial Elementary School: The River Classroom Program is a collaborative partnership between schools, the Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA), and Nashoba Paddler (canoe outfitters). Funding from the NEF will allow Bicentennial fifth graders to learn from a NRWA environmental educator 4-5 times during the school year. In addition, a day trip to either the Nashua or Squannacook River will allow students to paddle on the river for half of the day and perform on shore field investigations for the other half of the day. NEF award: $1,000.00.
Amherst Street Elementary School: The music students in Kaitlyn Ballou’s classes at Amherst Elementary School will have the chance to study the clarinet this year! The NEF provided funds for the school to purchase the instruments to add to their classroom orchestra. NEF Award: $240.00.
Amherst Street Elementary School: Musical instruments and materials for students in the intensive needs classrooms. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will experience music through the Kindermusik Laugh and Learn program to help promote language skills, fine and gross motor skills and pre-reading skills. NEF Award: $250.00.
Nashua North – Literacy Day: A volunteer run program for Nashua children and their families to attend a fun filled day to promote literacy and leave with a free book. NEF provided funds for the student books. NEF Award $100.00.
Students in Birch Hill Elementary School will now have the opportunity to learn violin. A pilot strings program will begin with 3rd and 4th graders at Birch Hill with the hopes of expanding to other stringed instruments and to other schools. NEF is providing funds to repair violins and purchase ensemble music. The goal of the program is to eventually have an orchestral program in grades 3 through 12 and to work collaboratively with the Nashua Symphony Orchestra. NEF Award: $1,250.00.
The Literacy Lab at Nashua High School North is a centrally located learning area to support literacy in grades 9 through 12 with the goal of increasing student proficiency in reading and writing. Personalized, direct and systematic instruction and support will be provided for students who are two or more years below grade level in reading. In addition, resources and support will be provided to teachers to help incorporate literacy into all content areas. NEF provided partial funding. NEF Award: $3,000.00.
Two grants were awarded for books and literacy improvement at Fairgrounds Elementary School. Students in Virginia Ferris and Jennifer Gosselin’s classrooms will have more reading resources available to them to help improve their language arts skills. NEF Award: $500.00.
iPad Minis will be an important new learning tool at Amherst St. School’s library. NEF provided funding for the purchase of 10 iPad Minis, together with a subscription to Overdrive, a secure website with a custom collection of over $500,000 e-books and audiobooks. The iPads prove to be particularly attractive to students who are struggling or who are English language learners because the students can select material at their own level without concern for judgment by peers. These devices will be valuable tools in addressing reading and language acquisition, especially in accessing informational text and content specific to grade level standards. NEF Award: $4,837.00.
Building on the incredible success of the pilot strings program at Birch Hill Elementary School, NEF and the Nashua Symphony Orchestra are partnering to expand the strings program to include a broader ensemble of instruments and to allow more students to participate in the popular program. With a grant from the NEF, Birch Hill will expand its program from 12 to 18 students and add two violas and related accessories. Fund will also be used to expand the program from Birch Hill and Amherst Street Schools to a third school in the Nashua School System. The group aspires to eventually expand the program across the district and to make it available to all students in grades three through twelve. NEF Award: $2,088.28