The Education Foundation Board of Trustees is pleased to make awards totaling $3,533.50 for four of the five applications received in its Spring 2021 grant cycle.
The Board of Trustees voted to approve these grants in early June. The grants were then approved by the BH-BL Board of Education. The grants are as follows:
1. Kevin DeBonis, Nancy Hyde, Devan White & Kelly Fisher: Proposal to equip a “Chill Room” for the O’Rourke Middle School Guidance Department
Currently middle school students who are trying to regulate themselves due to some mental, physical or emotional issue use the conference room between the guidance suite and main office, where they are in view of anyone walking through these suites. This grant will pay to convert an existing storage room in the guidance suite into a “chill room,” dedicated to helping students decompress, calm themselves, and regulate their emotions. The chill room will also be a safety net for students who are anxious about coming to school.
Students will not be allowed to bring their phones into the chill room, and their stay in the room will be for a limited time. Teachers and counselors plan to use the grant money to purchase comfortable furniture, lavender playdough, weighted blanket, twinkle lights, lava lamp, sound therapy machine, fidgets, stress balls, puzzles, glowing bubble tube lights and fiber optic curtain light.
2. Kim Ferrie, Physical Education Teacher: Geocaching Project for Pashley Elementary School
Grant: $600 to purchase several hand-held GPS devices
Geocaching is a fun, outdoor, hide and seek activity that involves physical exercise, technology, and map-reading skills. It is a fresh-air, Covid-friendly game that requires students to work together and solve problems in small groups. Phys. ed. teacher Kim Ferrie plans to have students explore the fields and woods next to Pashley. She will share these devices with other teachers and hopes students will share this new skill with their families too.
3. Patrice Vanheusen and Dennis Harrington: Proposal to use the High School Courtyard as a classroom and performance space
Among the many lessons BH-BL high school teachers have learned from the Covid pandemic is “how to do more with less,” including how to make use of the outdoor but fully enclosed courtyard between the English/World Languages hallway and the Alumni/Social Studies hallway. Teachers and students have used it for mask breaks as well as an informal reading, writing and quiet discussion space.
This grant will be used to purchase 50 stackable, maroon and gray resin Adirondack chairs so that the courtyard can be used for two full outdoor classrooms. The chairs will be easy to circle or rearrange into various set-ups. Teachers also envision them being used for poetry readings, music performances, movie nights, and open-mic events.
4. Kathy Kindl and Wendy McNeal: Proposal to support the return to typical class sizes at Charlton Heights Elementary
Charlton Heights teachers are planning ahead to help students return to larger, more typical class sizes after the 2020-21 school year with fewer children per classroom “pod” and more physical space between individual pupils due to Covid health and safety restrictions. This grant may expand to the upper elementary grades, but it focuses on 2nd and 3rd grade students and their need to re-acclimate to working and playing in larger groups, especially during less structured times of the day like recess. The grant will cover the purchase of equipment for small group activities, such as marble mazes, four-person and two-person walkers, and human hoops, equipment that requires students to work on timing, bilateral coordination, and spatial awareness. Teachers expect to see a reduction in conflict and greater understanding and collaboration among the students.