Concord Education Fund


CPS: K-8

Mobile Science Lab in Middle School

Grant Amount: $21,215

Project Leaders: Tara Fernandez-Davila, CMS Science Department Chair

Science is inseparable from measurement at all levels.  This grant funds a complete mobile science lab that can be used by classes in both Middle Schools at all grade levels.  Collection hardware includes force sensors (ideal for 8th grade physical science), motion detectors (applicable to 6th graders study of plate tectonics), temperature probes (many applications across earth science, life science and others) and gas sensors (for studying photosynthesis and pressure comparisons).  This equipment is extremely flexible and will enhance the science curriculum throughout middle school.

Building Skills that Cultivate Our Students’ Passionate Interests

Grant Amount: $12,500

Project Leaders: Cheryl Shea, Arthur Unobskey, Linda Anderson, Drew Palmore, Wendy Pfaffenbach

The Concord Middle Schools have a rich musical program as part of the school day.  But what about the artistic expression of the non-musical student?  This grant funds a new initiative to provide an artistic outlet to complement the music elective program.  It will provide equipment to offer pottery, woodworking and theatre arts to those students who currently attend only “study hall” during the music periods.  Further, with equipment available, this grant will expand after-school instruction opportunities to include arts, in addition to the existing music and athletic programs.  An innovative and exciting program, “Passionate Interests” will enrich the student experience by encouraging our Middle School scholars to discover and pursue their own unique means of expression.

Mimio Capture Bar Technology

Grant Amount: $11,624

Project Leaders: Lynne Beattie, CMS Math Faculty

Middle School mathematics is highly conceptual and iterative.  If a student loses the flow of a concept during class, it is hard to catch up.  This grant funds the implementation of Mimio technology that captures everything the teacher writes on the board for later, sequential review.  This serves two purposes – it allows visual learners to concentrate on the lesson without diverting their attention to note taking, and it allows the department to compile a library of classroom notes for later review.  Eventually, the hope is that the lessons will even be accessible through the school’s web site, for absent students, or those who need a second look.

Poetic Bridge to China/Poet in Residence

Grant Amount: $2,625

Project Leaders: Susan Erickson, Grade 5 Teacher, Thoreau

In 4th grade, students are exposed to the resonant imagery, mood, and tone of poetry.  Western poetry is highly evocative, but its language is complex, its subject matter often deeply philosophical.  Chinese poetry, in contrast, is far simpler in form and vocabulary, while remaining rich in poetic substance.  This grant enables 4th graders at Thoreau school to enjoy a Chinese “Poet-in-Residence” program that will ignite the discovery of a universal art form – one that will serve them well throughout their school years.

Integrating Probe Technology into 4th Grade Science

Grant Amount: $2,709

Project Leaders: Susan Erickson, Grade 5 Teacher, Thoreau; Genoveva Matheus and Sue Howard, Technology Specialists; Robert Fardy, Elementary Science Curriculum Specialist

It is axiomatic that personal, direct involvement in experimentation makes for more effective learning.  Nowhere is this more true than in science.  The 4th grade curriculum has many opportunities for students become invested in their studies by measuring things – weather variables, pH levels, heat gain and loss, etc.  This grant funds the scientific equipment that allows students to gather and analyze data in an age-appropriate way.  Students thus appreciate the importance of precision and accuracy in science, and see the interaction between science and technology – crucial underpinnings for future success in science.

Enhancing the Link Between Spoken Sounds and Printed Words

Grant Amount: $4,690

Project Leaders: Kathleen Furey, Speech-Language Pathologist; Deborah Cunha, Speech and Language Pathologist; Kathleen Balducci, Jane Downes Costello, Arlene Gluck, Barb Magee, Willard

Proper pre-literacy skills are essential to reading development.  Research shows that one of the most important pre-reading skills is phonemic awareness – the ability to focus on specific sound units which form words.  This professional development grant enables elementary school teachers and reading instructors to incorporate a proven, multi-sensory approach into their pre-reading instruction.  The result will be better literacy overall, and more easily identified indicators of potential reading disabilities.

Fluency Library for 2nd grade

Grant Amount: $3,000

Project Leaders: Bev Gauthier, Language Arts Curriculum Specialist; Jennifer Martin, Kerry O’Rourke, Carol Scott, Alcott

2nd grade is a crucial year for reading development, both to acquire the skills and to cultivate a love of books.  Perhaps the most crucial tool is appropriate books — books that are short, precisely leveled, and interesting.  This grant will fund book baskets for all 2nd grade classrooms at Alcott.  Each unique basket will be rotated from classroom to classroom throughout the year to maximize their value.  Texts will be selected using Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) levels, which are extremely precise and therefore more effective in helping a student find the right level and grow beyond it.

Improving Comprehension Through Making Meaning

Grant Amount: $16,500

Project Leaders: Susan Chafe, Beverly Gauthier, and Marjory Condon, Elementary School Language Arts Specialists at Willard, Alcott, and Thoreau

Recent reading assessments show that Concord students need attention in the area of comprehension skills.  Based on the work of nationally recognized reading experts, Making Meaning is a grade-specific reading comprehension program that introduces nine comprehension strategies that can be applied to a wide range of narrative and expository texts.  Further, when used in classroom discussions, these skills can foster social and ethical understanding.  This grant funds the introduction of this innovative program throughout the Concord elementary schools.

WeatherNet at Alcott

Grant Amount: $7,500

Project Leaders: Justine Hebert and Martha Regan, Grade 4 Teachers; John Peachey, Instructional Technology Specialist, Alcott

Meteorology is a core component of the science curriculum in 4th grade.  Until now, however, students have not been able to gather data for their classrooms in real time.  This grant funds both a weather station at Alcott, and WeatherNet software that enables teachers to fully integrate the data across the curriculum.  While initially focused on Alcott 4th graders, the weather station could ultimately be used by other grades and even in other schools across the system.

Move Over Mozart

Grant Amount: $2,500

Project Leaders: Lynne M. Paradis, Music Teacher, Alcott

When Mozart composed music, he had to “hear” his ideas in his head.  Today, through the use of computer software, young composers can hear their ideas instantly.  This grant funds a program that will allow 5th graders, under the guidance of an artist-in-residence, to compose and perform their own musical pieces, developing the skills necessary to create music.  Will we discover a young prodigy in our midst?  We can all find out, because student pieces will be broadcast on our local cable channel next spring!

Reading Intervention for Special Education

Grant Amount: $10,000

Project Leaders: Diana Rigby, Jessica Murphy, Student Support Services, Concord Public Schools

One of the greatest challenges for Special Education is an out-of-district placement of children for reading difficulties.   Such placements, in private schools outside of Concord, are both expensive for the system and disruptive for the student and his or her family.  This grant funds a research-based reading intervention program called Lindamood Bell and Language!, which has proven highly effective in treating decoding, comprehension and literacy disabilities.  Many other school districts use this program effectively to address reading difficulties and keep students in district – CEF is pleased to be able to bring it to Concord.

Mathematics Teacher-in-Residence

Grant Amount: $10,500

Project Leaders: Laurie Link, Willard

Last year, CEF funded a new program at Willard, in which a mathematics specialist taught specially developed classes to students at all grade levels.  This grant both extends the program to include Alcott and Thoreau, and funds the creation of specialized lessons for use in subsequent years.  This program was extremely successful at Willard last year, and will have an ongoing impact at all three schools both this coming year and in the future.

CCHS: 8-12

World Literature

Grant Amount: $3,650

Project Leaders: David Nurenberg, Mark Angney, and Victoria Moskowitz, English Dept.

When most Americans think of literature, they think of Shakespeare, Voltaire, Mark Twain.  But nearly one-fourth of the world’s population draws sustenance from Chinese literature; the world’s first novel is generally recognized to beTale of Genjii, written in Japan six centuries before any Western counterpart.  This grant will allow CCHS to create a new English Department offering in World Literature, in which works from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East will be examined critically.  This is a landmark grant for the CEF, because it funds the first entirely new course for the CCHS English Department in 11 years.

Curriculum Enhancement for Chinese

Grant Amount: $5,006

Project Leaders: Hai-Ming Wu, Chinese Language Teacher

For Americans, Chinese is a unique and somewhat bewildering language.  It incorporates sounds completely unfamiliar to our ears … when written, the direction and weight of a letter’s serifs change its meaning.  These special challenges make it difficult to teach with traditional methods.  This grant funds materials designed to serve the unique needs of Chinese learners.  With audio, video, practice materials and specialized software, CCHS students will be better able to hear and write Chinese, as well as place the language into its cultural context.

Physics Lab

Grant Amount: $21,282

Project Leaders: Kevin Pennuci, Physics Teacher

Sometimes, one successful grant begets another.  In 2000, the CEF funded the creation of a microcomputer-based laboratory for physics.  It was designed to provide a hands-on opportunity for students to collect and analyze data.  This program has proven its success – in fact, one study suggests that students using an MBL in high school absorb physics concepts better than college students.  Now, with so many students taking physics, a second lab is necessary.

Video Flexibility

Grant Amount: $4,738

Project Leaders: Ray Pavlik, Earth Science Department Chair; Ellen Moore, Biology; Mike Vela, Chemistry; Kristy Beauvais, Physics

We know that demonstration is crucial when teaching the concepts of science.  But imagine 24 students crowding around a table to watch a demonstration, or fighting for a glimpse of a sample on a microscope slide.  This is a common scene in CCHS science classrooms.  This grant will provide equipment that records and projects images of a live demonstration onto a screen visible to the entire class, so everyone can view them from their seat. In addition, this equipment provides more powerful magnification of microscopic images, enabling observations not previously possible.

Smarter Learning with Smarter Tools

Grant Amount: $14,800

Project Leaders: Gene Warfel, Art Dulong, Principal; Michelle Morgan, Foreign Language; Sue Ravalese, Math; David Nurenberg, English; Jeff Yuhas, Science; Amanda Payne, Special Education; Jim Moriarity, CCHS ITS

A language teacher demonstrating the precise strokes necessary to construct a Chinese character … a science teacher using color markers to illuminate the water cycle … a math teacher changing an angle on a geometric shape.  These things are common in a classroom, yet they are difficult or impossible for students to properly record in their notes.  This grant will enable teachers to record, change and enhance everything they write on a SMARTBoard, a white board that digitizes all content for retention and manipulation.  Well over 100 school systems have already incorporated this technology into their classrooms with resounding success – with this grant, CCHS will join that list.