2015 Fall Grants Awarded


Lego Story Starter 
Lisa Garnett – Milford Brook 
($1,091 awarded)

Lego Education Story Starter is aligned with Common Core standards and is designed to help boost student motivation and build strong readers and writers. Story Starter is a unique Lego set combined with curriculum and software designed specifically to teach students the basic mechanics of a well composes story and offers students a foundation to build and share their own story using Lego bricks.


Teaching with reading Assistant Inspires Literacy (TRAILS to success)  
Sari Laurence – Wemrock Brook 
($3,500 awarded)

TRAILS to Success will be implemented as a reading intervention program using Reading Assistant in addition to the Basic Skills Reading program and RTI program. Basic Skills and RTI reading students will participate in TRAILS to Success in the classroom and/or computer lab 3 times each week. This web-based program will also be used at home for further support. In addition, this program will be used as an invention for those students referred to the Problem Solving Committee for reading challenges. Those students will be able to participate in the program with the computers in the classroom during the regular literacy block. Parent and teacher workshops will be held to introduce and sustain the successful implementation of the program


The BASS Project 
Victoria June – Wemrock Brook, Milford Brook, Clark Mills & Pine Brook 
($5,000 awarded)

The grant will be used purchase four basses to further build the string program at MERS and continue the growth of the music program as a whole. Having more basses available will allow more students the opportunity in the future to select and play the instrument. In providing the students with more available access to the instrument, current and future students will benefit from being able to see a visual demonstration on the bass during lessons.


MakerSpace in School Library Media Center 
Gail Murray – Clark Mills 
($2,236 awarded)

A makerspace is a collaborative work space for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools.  These spaces have a variety of maker equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, cnc machines, soldering irons and even sewing machines.  A makerspace however doesn’t need to include all of these machines or even any of them to be considered a makerspace.  If you have cardboard, Legos and art supplies you’re in business.  It’s more of the maker mindset of creating something out of nothing and exploring your own interests that’s at the core of a makerspace.  These spaces are also helping to prepare those who need the critical 21st century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  They provide hands on learning, help with critical thinking skills and even boost self-confidence.  Some of the skills that are learned in a makerspace pertain to electronics, 3d printing, 3D modeling, coding, robotics and even woodworking.


John Spalthoff – Pine Brook
($8,500 awarded)

The grant will be implemented by adding to the existing MakerSpace needed items to give our students the opportunity to continue to discover, design, and create more advanced projects than are currently possible. The requested items will be used to enhance the safety (goggles) aspect of the classroom as well as expand the opportunities for students to create more advanced projects such as coding and robotics. The 3D printer which would accompany the two we currently have will allow more students the opportunity to complete printed 3D projects.


ST Math 
Jodi Pepchinski – Milford Brook, Kerry Marsala – Taylor Mills and Jayme Orlando and Gregory Schmidt – Clark Mills 
($12,600 awarded)

The grant will be used to expand St Math program throughout grades one to five within the district. St Math, a web-based software program created by Mind Research presents a “unique math education process that engages the learner’s spatial temporal reasoning abilities to explain, understand and solve multi-step problems.”  The grant will allow students to use this highly engaging research-proven program both in school and at home to increase their mathematical prowess.


Physics Day 
Sharyn Fisher – Taylor Mills 
($450 awarded)

Rental of an inflatable slide to enable students to design and carry out an experiment that includes a research question, control and variables. Using the slide as a physical model helps students understand basic physics.


Leveled Books 
Allison Rogers and Mindy Musillo – Lafayette Mills 
($1,500 awarded)

The grant is to purchase leveled fiction and nonfiction books for the Lafayette Mills book room. These books will be available to teachers to use in all grade levels. These books will enhance the Guided Reading instruction that occurs in all classrooms. According to the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, research shows, “that students should be reading texts they can read independently, with at least 95% fluency, accuracy and comprehension. Multiple studies have found specifically matching readers to texts supports growth in reading.”