SOMERS EDUCATION FOUNDATION
2018 - 2019 Grants Awarded:
- Wide Format Color Printer - (SHS) - The wide format color printer is available in the Media Center for students, clubs and staff to make posters, and create materials that enhance the curriculum.
- Stargirl Society – (MBA) – The Stargirl Society is an after school club that promotes individuality, self-esteem, tolerance, and sensitivity throughout the student body, as well as building a sense of community throughout the school.
- Cursive Club – (MBA) – This club will provide students with instruction, outside of the classroom hours, of the valuable art of writing and reading cursive handwriting.
- Vex Robotics – (SHS) – These microprocessor units include touch screen controls, programming software as well as faster computing speeds. These will be used by the robotics classes, robotics clubs and independent studies.
- Library Media Center Makerspace – (SHS) - A Makerspace is a communal area that provides students with the opportunity to be creative, innovative, and explore personal interests. A combination of technology and crafting, it encourages students to use critical thinking skills through hands on design and construction. While every Makerspace looks different, they all contain some combination of technology and crafting creativity. The technology area will let students to explore new skills before committing to a class, or expand upon skills that they’ve learned previously. The grant will purchase 5 new HP laptops, a 3D printer and pens, and virtual reality goggles. There will be several smaller computer/robotics kits that would also provide students with hands-on opportunities. A SparkFun kit, Raspberry Pi, and different levels of programmable robots will be available for students interested in various types of coding. Their purpose is to build off of the knowledge base obtained through Tech Ed classes at MBA and SHS. The art component of the Makerspace will be an area where students will be able to de-stress or pursue hobbies or talents that do not fit into their current curriculum. It would include a Cricut vinyl/paper cutter, a heat press, a button maker, and a sewing machine, as well as more traditional crafting options such as yarn, beads, coloring books, and origami.
- Mimio Teach: Interactive White Board Displays – (SHS) - Mimio Teach is the new smart board for the classroom. The given grant is to purchase 10 units for our classroom teachers. With a MimioTeach system, you can easily:
- Turn any ordinary whiteboard into an interactive whiteboard.
- Encourage participation at the whiteboard.
- Search the MimioStudio Gallery for ready-to-use lesson content.
- Enliven lessons with audio, video and Flash files.
- Record video lessons to reuse whenever you want.
- Record audio files using your computer’s microphone.
- Import existing lessons from Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat.
- Save your whiteboard notes and drawings to your computer.
- Students Against Drunk Driving Assembly – (SHS) – This grant will allow the High School to have a speaker from Courage to Speak Foundation to speak to the whole student body as well as the entire faculty on the dangers of drug abuse in young people. They will also speak about how to communicate with young people about the dangers of drug use and addiction. This presentation will take place on the day of Somers High School Prom to remind students to make responsible choices before and after prom. Not only will this benefit the student body, but it also further educates the faculty of SHS on what signs to look for in a student who may be under the influence or struggling with addiction.
- Heart Rate Monitors – (MBA) - The heart rate monitor is a personal motivator that provides a high tech, data driven exercise prescription through a one to one personalized learning experience by encouraging students to take ownership of their health. It sends a daily summary report and journaling prompt to both students and parents as soon as class is over to engage and educate families beyond the school day and aggregates the data up from the individual to the district level. MBA would become the first school in the district to integrate this technology, creating a “learning laboratory” for us. The results will forge a pathway to innovative learning and ignite inspired leadership throughout the entire district in physical education and Health. Through goal setting and individual feedback, the heart rate monitor challenges our students to improve their physical health, which can positively influence their emotional health and cognition.
- MBA Courtyard Cleanup – (MBA) – The MBA Environmental Club is working hard to make its mark on the community. This year, they would like to clean up and beautify the courtyard while creating a butterfly habitat that will support the 8th grade science curriculum. 8th graders have been collecting, raising, and tagging monarch butterflies for the last four years, with 100 monarchs tagged this year alone. They will be adding milkweed host plants and flowering food plants to the courtyard to support the 8th grades monarch work. Environmental club students and staff will do the work in the courtyard while soliciting help from Junior Beta Club members who can log their time for community service hours.
- Imagination Playground – (SES) – The imagination Playground strives to transform children’s minds, bodies and spirit through play. It is the kind of play that experts say is critical to a child’s intellectual, social, physical and emotional growth with play pieces that consist of heavy duty foam coated cubes, bricks, cogs, and cylinders. There are loose parts with holes that fit together to allow children to have their own ideas. The children can create ramps to use with balls provided. These activities are also STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and support our science standards. Imagination Playground encourages creativity, communication and collaboration in play.
- Outdoor Music Garden – (SES) – The playground is where kids learn valuable everyday life lessons about interacting with others, social norms and independence, all while gaining important relationship-building skills. Providing opportunities for children to engage in outdoor musical play allows them to practice these skills as well in a fun and unstructured way. Music is a global, artistic language that creates community, connection and a sense of belonging. The primal power of music evokes emotions, memories and images, taking the participant on a magical journey. These innovatively designed instruments are durable, sustainable, and perfectly tuned sound sculptures that enhance any outdoor space. The instruments will include Percussion Play Conga Pair, Zylophone 9 Note Melody, and Rhythm 9 Note Marimba.
- Social and Emotional Learning Initiative – (SES) - The We Thinkers! series is a Social Thinking educational series that combines a social learning framework with music and dramatic play activities for early learners (ages 4-7). Each volume consists of 5 storybooks and a curriculum. The teaching across the series is sequential and concepts build upon each other. Through the adventures of four characters (Evan, Ellie, Jesse, and Molly), children are introduced to and learn about complex social concepts in a language they can understand. Readers journey along with the characters as their adventures unfold in various settings that mirror children’s experiences and inspire their imaginations: in the classroom, on a farm, underwater in the ocean, during a trip to outer space, at the zoo, at a dinosaur birthday party, while on a mystery vacation, and in other child-friendly situations.
The grant program is available to teachers and administrators in the Somers elementary, middle and high schools. Each grant application is coordinated by the school administration and is forwarded to the Foundation. A Grant Review Committee thoroughly examines each application and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for a final decision.
2015 - 2016 Grants Awarded:
- eBooks & Audio Books (MBA) This grant will greatly enhance the eBook offerings for all students and improve the learning experience for our special education students by providing audio books of classroom novels for listening on their iPads.
- Improving Students Keyboarding Skills (SES) The purpose of this grant is to provide a keyboarding program that is accessible from any technology device, and provides individually paced instruction for students starting in grade 1. The ability of students to be able to competently keyboard will impact their ability to perform successfully both in daily work and on assessments.
- Standing Desks for Math Students (MBA) It is reported students are more engaged with the teacher and with their work when they are standing. Standing desks are a fabulous tool for students that tend to be more active, fidgety, or even more tired.
- Presentation System Plan for SHS Music and SHS TIDE Program (SHS) This collaborative effort involves purchasing a new flat screen television for the Graphics Lab to assist in presentations the entire group can participate in while using smart board technology for teaching in the Music Room. This grant was awarded from the Helen and S. Prestley Fund.
- Kids Kore Wobble Chairs for Students with Special Needs (SES) Wobble Chairs help students who have sensory or attention needs that greatly impact their ability to focus throughout the school day. The goal of the chairs is to help the students with sensory processing and improve their ability to learn.
- ergoERGO Seat (SES) The ergoERGO Seat is an ergonomic seat that rocks in any direction and provides an active way for children to sit. It compresses slightly to allow small movements in any direction strengthening both muscles and the attention span of students.
- Making Music (Preschool) Making Music is a program that helps children (young and old!) build upon skills across all areas of development including speech/language, cognitive, fine/gross motor, social/emotional functioning, and creative expression.
- High Interest-Low Level Reading for Students with Disabilities (SES) The purpose of this project is to provide students with disabilities access to high interest books at a lower reading level. These are books that are “high interest low level” so that older students are able to access content and vocabulary that are age appropriate, but that have text written at their individual reading level. This grant was awarded from the Dan and Jane Roulier Fund.
- State Personal Development Grant (PBIS) for SHS (Phase 2 – SHS) Assist in the roll out of the PBIS grant, also known at Somers High School as the “Spartan Code,” which rewards students who go above and beyond to promote respect, responsibility, integrity and kindness.
- NewsELA Pro ( SHS) NewsELA is an innovative way to build reading comprehension with nonfiction that's always relevant. The articles are categorized by subject, reading standard, grade level, and language. It will help students to strengthen their ability to read non-fiction critically and improve their ability to respond to text dependent questions.
- WISE (MBA) The goal of Women Inspired by STEM Education (“WISE”) Project, mirrors the goals of the Federal STEM Education Plan. The intention is to motivate young women in Somers, grades 7 through 10, to engage in STEM activities with the ultimate goal of considering STEM careers.
- Auto Detailing Project (SHS) Supporting a start up program developed for non college bound students to learn the skills of Automotive Detailing.
- Lego Story Starter (SES) LEGO® Education StoryStarter is an innovative and creative hands-on, minds-on literacy activity designed to create confident writers and readers in elementary schools. StoryStarter consists of a unique LEGO set combined with curriculum and software designed to engage and teach students within Language Arts and also focusing on developing 21st Century skills.
- School Store (MBA) A grant was awarded to open a School Store created in conjunction with the Student Climate Task Force.. The store will offer items like pencils that might be left at home and school spirit items.
- Drama Club (MBA) This grant supports a second school play at MBA which will be there Jerry Spinelli production of STARGIRL.
- Music Department (MBA and SHS) Various musical instruments purchased for the Music Department's use at both the high school and the middle school: digital piano, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet and a sousaphone.
- Sensory Tool Kits for Classroom Teachers (SES) With this grant, the classroom teachers have sensory tool kits available in the classrooms allowing them to quickly intervene when students are over stimulated and provide sensory breaks as needed.
- Sensory Calming Classroom (SES) This grants allows the special education teachers to create a special room where students can go to when they become over stimulated allowing them to calm down and focus.
- LEGO Program (SES) With this grant Grade 2 teachers will use LEGO sets to help students solve math problems.
- Pear Deck (SHS) Purchase of interactive software that allows teachers to create presentations right from their computers.
During the 2017 - 2018 school year, the Somers Education Foundation, after review and recommendation by the grant review committee, awarded creative and innovative grants totaling $42,114.
2016 - 2017 Grants Awarded:
- Movement Seats and Desks (SHS) Standing desks and exercise balls with stands requested to achieve the goal of helping students to concentrate and help them to focus. This will help enhance student learning.
- Camera for Art Department (SHS) This grant was for a high quality camera and tripod for the art students to use when recording their work for college entrance portfolios as well as all art programs.
- Motorized Lego’s and Gears (MBA) MBA already has an extensive inventory of Lego building components and gears, so this grant would allow the addition of motors and controllers which will enable students to have more experience with powered vehicles in a lab setting.
- Tuba Request (MBA & SHS) This convertible Tuba allows the music department to use this instrument for either marching band or for concert settings.
- STEM Robotics Programming with NAO Robot (SHS) This Humanoid Robot called NAO is a fully functioning programmable computer that allows students to better their understanding of programming, computer sciences and experience a humanoid robot.
- Leveled Literacy of Students with Disabilities (SES) This kit provides students with disabilities access to authentic texts at their individual reading level.
- Boardmaker software for Preschool (SES) This software will be used by the preschool teachers as well as the Speech Language department to make articulation cards, vocabulary cards, language activities and visuals for correct behavior, plus more.
- Reading Room Make-over (SES) Standing desks and beanbag chairs requested to achieve the goal of motivating students and help them to focus. This will both boost productivity and moods.
- STEM Learning Center (SES) The creation of a STEM station in the preschool classroom allows students to share group experiences in a developmentally appropriate manner to enhance their problem solving skills and overall learning experiences.
- Flexible Alternative Seating in 5th Grade (SES) This grant is for 10 alternative seats allowing students in the 5th grade to use alternative seating to help focus and enhance student learning.
- Naviance College Application Tools (MBA) This software allows the counseling offices to send transcripts and teacher recommendations to colleges electronically.
- Adaptive Seating (MBA Special Education) These alternative seating options allow the middle school students to focus more and increase productivity.
- Chromebooks for math students (MBA) Additional chromebooks for math students to use if their iPads are out for repairs or forgot their iPads at home.
- OSMO: Interactive program for iPads (SES) This set of apps and accessories allows students to use real manipulatives to spell words, solve math problems and create drawings that are read by the iPad camera and displayed on the screen. These apps encourage problem solving as a group.
- TouchMath RTI Kit for Primary Grades (SES) TouchMath is program that is used to supplement the regular math curriculum with a multisensory approach to teaching basic math skills that is fun and engaging to students.
- Discrete Trials Program (SES) This is an assessment tool that measures students progress and assesses their current levels through developmental benchmarks for the preschool students. It allows the teachers to pinpoint specific target areas of instruction which can use to create goals and objectives.
- 6 Month Newsela License (MBA) This database of current event stories allows teachers to customize articles for different reading levels , enabling them to differentiate nonfiction reading.
- Science Vernier Probes (SHS) Vernier sensors are hardware/software used in the science department in the effort to keep up with the new science standards implemented through the curriculum. They are used for various area, but not limited to pH and temperature for Integrated Science, Biology, and Chemistry, Dissolved oxygen and turbidity probes for Marine Science, motion force sensors for Physics and Integrated Science.
- Virtual Reality Classroom Fieldtrips (SHS) The virtual reality holders allow virtual field trips within the classroom, via the Goodle Expeditions app. This breaks the traditional classroom environment , and allows the students to use their phones for educational purposes, and provide an exciting experience that cannot be accomplished using conventional teaching styles.
- Have Them Read: Building an English Intervention Student Library (SHS) This small library of non-fiction texts provides students with some differentiated choice in their reading experience and also provides opportunities to practice reading and interpreting nonfiction texts.
- Printer for SHS Art Department (SHS) The art department will use the printer to print out written student work as well as source photography and media manipulations for art projects.
2019 - 2020 Grants Awarded:
- Lunch Bunch Book Club - (MBA) - This book club is open to all 6th graders and will provide opportunities for reading and discussion. In each session, 6 students will read the same book. The goal is to run 6 sessions so that up to 36 students could be involved during the year. The books were selected in consultation with students. When the books are finished, they will be added to the MBA library collection for all students to read.
- Rachel’s Challenge - (MBA) - A central goal at MBA is to create a culture of kindness. Rachel’s Challenge is a national non-profit organization dedicated to creating safe, connected school environments. Rachel Scott was the first victim of the Columbine tragedy. After her death, her journals were found and identified her affinity for showing and paying forward kindnesses. In a one day presentation with follow up, The Rachel’s Challenge program calls for students to understand the value of kindness and then trains representatives from all grades to develop projects of kindness that can be carried out in the school and/or community.
- Guest Artist Program – (MBA) – This grant would hire 7 high level performers to teach flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, low brass, percussion, and voice. Each professional would come in once per month to work with students for an hour. They would be paid a standard private lesson rate for their time. This instruction would be scheduled during music classes and would take the place of the students’ regularly scheduled pull out lesson, which means students would not be pulled from their other classes for lessons that week. All outside professionals would go through the background check process for the Somers Schools.
- Wobble Cushion – (MBA) – Wobble cushions proved a way for students to sit for extended periods to do work, but to still have enough movement so that they can maintain attention. They allow students to expel energy without distracting others.
- Transition Program Activity Account – (SHS) – Establishing this account will provide students with greater opportunities to grow in each transition area: employment, community participation, and independent living. It will be used to buy additional equipment for the auto detailing business run by the students, underwrite advertising for the program, provide socialization opportunities with other transition students throughout the year, and other program needs. The funds will help the program to become more self-sustaining.
During the 2015 - 2016 school year, the Somers Education Foundation, after review and recommendation by the grant review committee, awarded creative and innovative grants totaling $44,357.
During the 2016 - 2017 school year, the Somers Education Foundation, after review and recommendation by the grant review committee, awarded creative and innovative grants totaling $59,778.
Supporting Education for our Future
During the Fall Semester of the 2019 - 2020 school year, the Somers Education Foundation, after review and recommendation by the grant review committee, awarded creative and innovative grants totaling $13,966.
During the 2018 - 2019 school year, the Somers Education Foundation, after review and recommendation by the grant review committee, awarded creative and innovative grants totaling $67,025.
2017 - 2018 Grants Awarded:
- Digital Piano for High School (SHS) – The digital piano will be used in the chorus, theory and jazz band classrooms as well as for drama performances and concerts.
- Mellophone (MBA and SHS) – This mellophone will be used for marching band functions at the middle school and high school level.
- Digital Microscope (SHS) – The digital microscopes allow the students to view microscopic details as a whole class projected onto the screen in order to explore and discuss topics in class. The digital microscopes will be used in the Biology, Honors Biology, Botany, Microbiology, Anatomy & Physiology, Zoology, Marine Science, Forensic Science and AP/UCONN Biology classes.
- Inspirational Guest Speaker Wendelin Van Draanen (MBA/SES) – We funded this guest speaker with the Somers PTO. Her talk included embracing uniqueness, inclusion, friendship, anti-bullying, overcoming barriers, hard work, and perseverance, along with what it takes to be a successful writer.
- Classroom Redesign (MBA) – Mrs. Scholes pre-algebra purple class worked on this project to make the classroom into a more efficient learning environment for the students. They drew out the plans to scale, measured, calculated cost, used data analysis and calculated the dimensions of the furniture. This pilot will see if a change in chairs will help students to be more focused on the lessons.
- Chill Zone (MBA) – This “Chill Zone” area within the current classroom will provide a “softer” space for calming down, relaxing, overcoming stressful situations and a quiet place to work.
- Sonday Systems Let’s Play Learn (SES) – This system offers structured, systematic multi-sensory practice for preschool through kindergarten students. It is used as a tool to develop foundational reading skills and prevent reading difficulties, or as an intervention for those who need to strengthen pre-reading skills.
- Anonymous Alerts anti-bullying app and safety reporting system and Smart Button silent panic button (SHS) – This system is a simple to use app and reporting system that enables students to quickly report incidents related to bullying, family problems, self-harm, drugs, sexual harassment, campus threats, sensitive student concerns or unusual student behavior.
- Flexible Seating for Struggling Readers (SES) - These alternative seats offer students who find it difficult to sit quietly and remain attentive, an alternative. This allows them to burn focus during class, increasing learning and attention.
- Printer for SHS Art Department (SHS) - This printer will be used in the Art Department to print out artist statements, reflections and critique work as well as source photography and media manipulations for art projects.
- School Messenger (All District) – The School Messenger System allows all teachers, administrations and the Superintendent to maintain essential communications about significant school events, individual child updates, and transportation events. Additionally, it becomes a critical component of the emergency plan allowing the district to effectively and efficiently communicate with parents in the event of an emergency in the schools and/or town.
- Second Step Program (SES) – The Second Step Program is a research-based collection of scripted skill lessons which help to build student’s social and emotional skills. This program provides teachers and staff a program that directly teaches students skills for learning empathy, emotion management, and problem solving skills.
- Technology Grant (SHS) – The Dash robot will be used as part of the Health curriculum to encourage teamwork and community building while encouraging students to use fun activities and make healthy choices.
- Executive Functioning Training (SHS) – BrainHQ is a website and app that trains executive functioning skills with engaging activities, lessons and games.
- Kiln and Vent replacement (SHS) – The Skutt Kiln is an electric Kiln designed specifically for volume production and fast turnaround of high mass loads. This kiln is built to withstand many years of constant use.
- Quizlet Pro (SHS) – The Quizlet Pro system allows teachers to provide all students with an interactive, independent method of vocabulary practice that is also an enriching activity that increases student collaboration.
- Fundations for Tier 2 Instruction (SES) - Fundations is a multi-sensory, systematic, cumulative, and explicit program that focuses on student development by differentiating instruction, and actively engaging students in their learning.
- Spartan News Network Equipment for High School (SHS) – This grant allows the purchase of a Digital Video Mixer, Video Camcorder and Broadcast Video Camera for the High School so that they can provide the students an amazing opportunity to create innovative projects.
- Historical Archive Project (SHS) – This mobile historical library will house tangible, authentic artifacts from various time periods in American history. The goal is to teach history through the use of tangible artifacts and primary sources that the students can see and touch.
- Wobble Stools (MBA) – These seats are ergonomic seats that rocks in any direction and provides an active way for children to sit. This helps improve focus, attention and muscle movements, and enhancing student learning.
- Video Production in Language Arts (MBA) – The Padcaster Kits are portable recording studios that enhance student learning through various video creation projects within the 7th grade Language Arts curriculum.