Yarmouth Education Foundation awards first grants for school programs

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YARMOUTH — The Yarmouth Education Foundation has awarded its first round of grants for technology, school nutrition, special education, art and health.

YEF awarded more than $17,000 for 10 new programs for the schools.

Board member Kristina Keaney said YEF plans to award grants each fall and spring. The awards were announced Dec. 6, and Keaney said board members made every effort to tell teachers and administrators in person.

“It was so much fun to see the smiles on their faces,” she said. “We tried to surprise them where we could, handed out the letters and dropped off a few items in person.”

Keaney said teachers, administrators and students submitted applications to the YEF grant committee, which is made up of six community members, four teachers from each school and three YEF board members.

In the first round of grants, the high school received about $5,300for technology, health, science and cultural awareness.

The high school biotechnology lab will receive $3,000 in DNA testing equipment to enhance the biology curriculum and prepare students for college and future career choices.

The high school also received a $500 grant to help fund a student-led project exploring global cultural awareness. The project will feature speakers, events and activities and will encourage collaboration with educators, students and the community.

A $440 grant was awarded to the high school Special Education Department for a Wii Fit. The device will be used to provide students with a way to connect with their peers, improve hand-eye coordination, encourage movement, increase concentration and enable participation in a variety of virtual sports. 

High school and middle school students will benefit from a $1,350 grant for a Google Ninjas Training Program. Students and teachers will be trained in Google applications, with a goal to have a significant group of students who will be able to support classmates, teachers and the community in the use of Google Apps.

An $1,800 grant helped purchase 25 pairs of L.L. Bean snowshoes to increase the middle school physical education program. 

The middle and elementary schools will receive a $300 grant for the Inquiry Book Project. Students and staff will fill sketchbooks with ideas in words or images and then share their interests, questions, ideas and perspectives with the community.

Yarmouth Elementary School received nearly $3,450 in grants.

Third- and fourth-grade teachers received $2,290 to purchase three iPads and related accessories to be shared in the classrooms.

A $200 grant will help incorporate the school garden into the curriculum by providing English as a Second Language students with photo books to extend teaching experiences in the school garden. The books will facilitate math, literacy and writing lessons for ESL students and will help document the vegetable harvest for the school’s lunch program.

With a $960 grant for a fourth-grade artist-in-residency program, artist Henry Wolyniec will teach a four-week program incorporating the writing process and storytelling using sequential imagery in the art form of cartooning. The program is intended to help students with creative thinking and give them the opportunity to express themselves artistically, while enhancing their writing skills.

And at the Rowe School, a $6,200 grant will help fund a pilot program for all first-grade classes to use iPads to support their literacy and math curriculum. The grant funds the purchase of 10 iPads and related accessories.

Superintendent Judy Paolucci said YEF’s organizers have produced a lot in a short amount of time.

“I believe this program will spur a lot of innovation in the district,” she said.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.