The Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on four areas in the District’s seven schools.
Curricular Enhancement: Investing in creative ways to open minds and enhance knowledge while encouraging students to become lifelong learners
Equipment and Supplies: Inspiring innovation and discovery using cutting-edge tools and technology
Programs and Experiences: Generating a spirit of enthusiasm for learning by implementing thought-provoking programs and experiential learning opportunities
Professional Development: Challenging teachers to build their skill sets so they can offer fresh ideas and perspective in the classroom and beyond
Projects for the 2019-2020 school year:
Bee Bots Coding incorporated into the BHES curriculum
Coding incorporated into the BHES curriculum through the use of Bee Bots (robots designed for use by young children). Bee Bot’s are exciting new robots designed for use by young children which are easy to operate and teach directionality, sequencing, estimation and problem-solving. At the core of this grant is the understanding that students need to not only learn foundational reading, writing and math skills, but also need to understand and work with the technology that surrounds them. As a result of participating in activities using Bee-Bots, young students are able to design structures relating to coding activity and anticipated results, provide specific directions and through coding, program the Bee Bot, for example, to start and end at a specific destination. Activities around coding support building group communication skills, team building and participation, creativity, confidence on an individual level and problem solving. Bee Bots can be used in any curriculum area so teachers have flexibility in their use and application. Grant supports purchase of Bee Bot units and online resources.
"Brain break" activities in classes at all elementary schools
Professional development around ‘Brain Break Activities’ in classrooms for all elementary school teachers. This grant funding supports a certified yoga professional to provide instruction around age-appropriate and suitable yoga practices for elementary school students to be incorporated by classroom teachers during the academic day. Generally, brain breaks is a simple technique in which young students are given a short mental break- sometimes at regular intervals- and are usually performed in a classroom setting. Most brain breaks are a few minutes and often include physical activity that can complement sustained, mental energy. Students can feel more focused and in a better mental space to work or complete an activity. Brain breaks are also shown to reduce stress levels in young students while providing, over the longer term, higher engagement levels.
Bilingual news broadcasting station at MKES
Launch of a bilingual news broadcasting station at MKES School of Choice to strengthen reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and give students a real world media experience that complements and supports classroom instruction. The grant is for one-time production and broadcasting equipment to enable all students- but initially targeting 4th and 5th graders- to create a year of planned activity including a broadcast to introduce the station to faculty and students, a broadcast storyboard for the year, departments such as content creation, editing and production, as well as job descriptions which students will apply for. After each broadcast is completed, students will turn-key their responsibilities to other students for the next broadcast. MKES students will benefit from the use of their L1 language but within the context of the broadcasting station, will also work to develop and strengthen their L2 language. The school and community will benefit from broadcasts showcasing MKES School of Choice happenings. The broadcasting station is envisioned to be ongoing and students and faculty will provide ongoing survey feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Experiential learning with PRES Bit of Heaven Horsemanship Project
PRES ‘Bit of Heaven Horsemanship Project’, provides an experiential learning opportunity for 3rd grade students which links curriculum in the areas of literacy, math and science to hands-on activities in a local barn setting. The shared experience involves multi-sensory learning opportunities designed to support various learning styles in keeping with the District’s commitment to inclusivity while giving teachers a framework of experience to build on and support expressive language and vocabulary development, non-fiction writing targeting students’ social/emotional experience as well as opportunities to apply math concepts such as measuring, comparing, sequencing, and problem solving. The Foundation’s support leveraging other funding from the PR PTA, Manhattanville College, the Dutchess County Agricultural Society, the EQuus Foundation Equine Experiential Learning Initiative and NY Agriculture in the Classroom.
Capstone projects at FLMS focusing on multidisciplinary research
Capstone projects at FLMS for 6th and 7th grade students. A capstone project is a multi-disciplinary research project that results in an in-depth understanding of a specific topic and culminates in a hands-on experience. Students are asked to identify an area of personal passion that connects to their learning. The topic they choose is integrated throughout the curriculum (including ELA, Social Studies and Science). Within the context of individual exploration, the focus for 6th graders is on developing invaluable research and note-taking skills and designing a website to showcase their work to build both technology and communication skills critical to their high school success. Building on the 6th Grade program, 7th graders learn to present their research and take action in ways reflective of real world opportunities- for example advocacy or other engagement. Each year, the capstone experience culminates with a trip to places like the Capital Building in Albany to meet with legislators and understand the legislative process or, the Liberty Science Center where students interact with immersive exhibits and professionals in the field.
New books for the FLHS book club
Fox Lane High School Book Club. Grant funds support the purchase of one title for each of the club’s 30 members and other supporting activities. Club members will select four or five books for the year and poll members to determine new books. Recruitment of club members will take place. Student members will read and discuss the series of books throughout the year and possibly Skype with the author, see a related film or select another related activity. This project engages students in dialogue about shared books, brings together students who would not necessarily know each other, provides common ground, increases literacy and helps students identify and have a sense of pride in themselves as readers. In addition, students share ideas and stories and in doing so learn to respect different points of view and perspectives along with learning more traditional literary evaluation skills. The club typically meets in the Library’s ThinkSpace and is led by students- one a rising senior and one a rising junior. Past evaluation shows the club has continued to grow and is supported by teachers. Positive stated outcomes include that reading is seen as a fun and social activity.