Concord Education Fund

2007

CPS: K-8

Creating ActivClassrooms at CMS

Grant Amount: $42,800.00

The ActivBoard accessories this grant funds enable teachers at the Concord Middle School to assess immediately if their students understand the material they are teaching and it allows all students to take an active role in class discussions and debates.

The first accessory is a handheld device called ActiVote.  This grant funds 20 sets so that 20 different classes can use the technology at any given time.  Each student will have the device at his or her desk.  Through a radio signal to the ActivBoard, students respond to quiz questions or class survey questions and the results.  The data are analyzed seamlessly and can be shared immediately and/or saved and used in spreadsheet form.  Imagine a class discussion about a reading of Twelve Angry Men.  The teacher could ask her English class to indicate “which character cares the most about justice?”  With a click of a button, students express one of six choices easily and anonymously.  The results are posted immediately on the ActiBoard and the teacher can lead the discussion using the students’ responses and initial interpretations as a scaffold for further understanding.  Those students who may not otherwise volunteer to participate in class have a way of sharing their opinions and gauging how those opinions compare with other responses.

The second accessory is called ActivSlate and allows teachers and students to control the interactive ActivBoard from any where in the classroom.  The tool is like a small, electronic whiteboard that connects directly to the ActivBoard in the front of the classroom.  A Spanish teacher, for instance, can circulate the ActivSlate to students at their desks so they can circle sections on a map, projected on the ActivBoard, as they discuss cultural differences in different regions.  Many students can participate more quickly and easily by using the slate at their desks and passing it along then by getting up individually and heading to the front of the class to make a mark on the board itself.  This technology creates a comfortable environment for students to participate actively in class, which increases engagement and learning.

Assabet River Trail Program

Grant Amount: $35,300.00

This grant will create a handicapped accessible, environmentally friendly, 530 foot trail to an outdoor classroom along the bank of the Assabet River.  This trail will meet the requirements of the Wetlands Protection Act and will allow Thoreau students from Kindergarten to Fifth Grade to explore the natural world around them, in keeping with Massachusetts Science Curriculum Frameworks for elementary school students and the Concord K-5 Science Curriculum.  The trail will open into a wide area that will serve as an outdoor classroom.

Creating the trail will be a collaborative project among staff and parents at the Thoreau School, Concord Public Schools administration, the Natural Resources Commission, the Town Manager, the Department of Public Works, the Organization for the Assabet River and an Eagle Scout candidate.

In one of his journals, Nathaniel Hawthorne recalled, “rowing our boat against the current, between wide meadows, we turn aside to the Assabet.  A more lovely stream than this…has never flowed on earth.”  Giving Thoreau School science students an intimate experience with this river will not only provide for hands-on laboratory work, but it will also foster an appreciation for our environment and create a link to Concord’s rich literary and naturalist history.

ActiVotes in the Elementary Schools

Grant Amount: $10,170

Each of the elementary schools will receive two sets of ActiVote devices to use with K-5 students.  These devices connect to the ActivBoards in the classrooms and allow teachers to assess their students’ grasp of information in real- time and it allows even the most reticent and shy student an anonymous way to participate in class discussions.  Students use the devices to punch in a response to questions posted on the ActivBoard and teachers can project the responses to the class.  For example, as a part of discussion on weather, she could ask how many students expect it to snow more than six feet this winter and then she could project the results in percentages and show them graphically.  It makes class material more dynamic, interactive and fun.  At the same time, a teacher will know quickly if some or all of her class is not grasping the information she is teaching.

ActiVote Software and Devices

Grant Amount: $1695

This grant will allow an Alcott third grade teacher, Becky Bristol to have access to a set of 32 ActiVotes in her class.  This teacher was an early adopter of ActivBoard technology and regularly uses it and related accessories.  Through another grant, The CEF is purchasing two sets of ActiVotes for each of the three elementary schools.  These accessories enhance students’ learning, increase class participation and enable teachers to conduct real-time, data driven, formative and authentic assessments.  Ms. Bristol will share her experiences with her colleagues to encourage broad, effective use of this new technology throughout the elementary schools.  Read more about ActiVotes in the description of ActivVotes in the Elementary Schools.

CCHS: 9-12

Teen Buddy Mentoring Program

Grant Amount: $7,500

This popular initiative helps create positive mentoring relationships between Concord Carlisle High School (CCHS) teens and Concord Public Schools (CPS) elementary students.  It provides opportunities for older students to mentor younger students in a structured, after-school program format.  The program activities are designed to promote and facilitate interaction among children and teens, as well as to provide enrichment in the areas of teambuilding, cooperation, physical movement, cultural awareness, the performing arts, fine arts and sciences.  The Teen Buddy program is in its second, highly successful year.  The program has received consistent, positive feedback from the children and teens who participate in the program and from their parents.  It is also receives positive feedback from the Elementary School Mental Health teams’ Behavior Specialists, School Psychologists and School Social Workers and from the counselors at CCHS.

Recent CCHS Teen mentors received special training from Thompson Island’s Outward Bound instructors and from the Academy of Physical and Social Development.  Activities for the participants included print-making at the Museum of Fine Arts, a program from the Mass Audubon Society, drumming with Eric Pohl’s CCHS Drummers and more.  Similar training and activities are planned for next year.

Expanded CCHS Theatre Curriculum Support

Grant Amount: $857.78

The CCHS Drama and Theatre Arts students have a more vivid and detailed curriculum in store for them this year.  Through this CEF grant, all Theatre classes now include professionally produced videos and coordinated materials that allow students to learn from direct visual examples of highly detailed information about stage construction, set design, stage technology, body language in Shakespeare and Medieval Drama.  Additionally, a set of Ancient Greek Comedy and Tragedy theatre masks were purchased for the program as well.  These materials are aligned with components of state and national educational standards for theatre training.  Not only will the students enrolled in the CCHS Drama and Theatre Arts Department benefit from this grant, but also all cast and crew members of plays produced extracurricularly will have an opportunity to enrich their experience through exposure to these new materials.

Ghana: History Culture and Daily Life Study Tour

Grant Amount: $2,500.00

English Teacher, Kate Richmond, was awarded a grant for a ten day study tour of Ghana.  For the past seven years, Ms. Richmond has helped to create and expand the Contemporary Literature curriculum at CCHS, including adding Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved to one of the courses.  Her work with Beloved, led her to dig deeper into West African myth, culture and history.   Richmond notes that “Morrison’s novel illustrates the anguish that corresponds with the loss of knowledge about African identity, heritage, language and myth.  Richmond also teaches Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, in which African Americans, who are the children of slaves, go to Liberia and experience West African culture and are impacted profoundly.  Through further research while in Africa, her work on the study tour and the materials she brings back, Ms. Richmond “hopes to bring this part of the world into my classroom and offer my students the opportunity of coming as close to touching, hearing, smelling and seeing Africa as possible.”

Earthwatch Icelandic Glacier Expedition

Grant Amount: $2,500.00

Ms. Sandra Haupt, a member of the CCHS Science Department, “is a strong advocate of inquiry-based, hands-on learning” for her students and herself and proposed this grant so that she could conduct on-site research on Icelandic glaciers with Earthwatch.  Earthwatch is an international, non-profit organization that supports scientific field research by offering members of the public unique opportunities to work alongside leading field scientists and researchers.  The organization also works with teachers to develop specific curriculum ideas and lesson plans that relate to the respective expedition.

Working collaboratively with her colleagues at CCHS, Ms Haupt will share the insight and knowledge gained from the expedition by designing classroom activities to enrich the experience of all Earth Science students at the high school.  Ms. Haupt’s expedition took her to Skaftafell National Park in Iceland.  Here in Concord, students are able to investigate drumlins and other glacial features that are vestiges of previous ice ages.  Understanding glaciers is critical and is a part of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Earth and Space Science.  Ms. Haupt can now more vividly bring the dynamic glacial processes to life by not only showing students Concord’s geologic history but also by engaging them in fresh observations and materials from the dynamic Icelandic glacial setting.

Tools for Science, Technology and Engineering

Grant Amount: $4,136.47

This grant will strengthen the learning experience of those students enrolled in CP Physics as well as the Science Olympiad Team.  Recently, educators have emphasized the importance of the technology and engineering components in science curricula statewide.  Last year, the CCHS Science Department piloted a new course, CPB Physics, which was a hands-on physics course for students to design and build projects.  It was a great success – the only drawback was the absence of enough quality tools.  The pilot course is the model for this year’s CP Physics courses.  Student projects will include suspension bridges, boom-i-levers, catapults, windmills, CO2 cars and robotic devices.  To meet these design and project needs, this grant will fund the purchase of a new band saw, sliding miter saw, a grinder with stand, 12 coping saws, a shop-vac, a Dewalt 9 Tool combo kit, a Dremel Rotary tool kit, two air cleaners with lights and 12 hammers.  These tools will help the CCHS Science Department to offer physics curricula that aligns with the newly released Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Frameworks.  It will also allow the Science Olympiad team to compete in engineering competitions at the same level as neighboring communities.

Wet Plate Collodion Photography

Grant Amount: $2850.00

In an effort to expand the experiences and understanding of his advanced photography students, David Prifti, of the CCHS Art Department proposed this grant to purchase equipment and materials to teach the 19th century wet plate collodion process.  Dating from the Civil War ere, this process involves the creation of tintypes, ambrotypes or glass negatives by hand coating, exposing and developing photographic plates.  Last fall, Mr. Prifti demonstrated the wet plate photography to some of his classes and they were “enthralled.”  Through this new offering, advanced photography students will have the opportunity to experience a medium of “great beauty and historic significance,” according to Mr. Prifti.  It will be available to advanced students through after school workshops.  The process is time and labor intensive, making it difficult to fit into the class schedule.  Mr. Prifti has been using the wet plate process regularly for the past three years.  To view some of his work, you can visit: www.prifti.net/wetplate.html.

Senior Project Discretionary Fund

Grant Amount:     $3,000.00

Each year, up to forty CCHS seniors participate in Senior Project, an official, credit-granting course that has been offered to CCHS students for more than 12 years.  Each May, the students’ work is displayed at the Senior Project Fair.  This grant gives the Senior Project Advisory Board the ability to provide financial assistance for expenses incurred during the project creation process or to help students with unforeseen exigencies that arise.  Students will apply for monies in writing and include proposals and project descriptions.

Cardio in the Fitness Center

Grant Amount: $4,809.00

The CCHS Fitness Center was opened in 1999 and it has grown steadily to meet increased demand.  In 2000, the CEF awarded CCHS a $10,000 grant to purchase equipment for the Center.  Of the current 12 cardio machines, two are beyond repair and need to be replaced.  This grant will allow the Center to purchase one Sport Art Bicycle and one Sport Art Elliptical machine.  The equipment will be rated for commercial use to meet the demands of an active fitness center.  The Elliptical trainer offers a total body workout and allows for individual adjustment to meet the wide range of needs of the students who visit the fitness center.

UV Visible Spectrometer

Grant Amount: $2,675.00

This year, high school biology and chemistry students will be able to use a UV – VIS Spectrometer with a fiber optical cable that is a radical improvement upon the 20 year old, manual spectrometers — many in serious disrepair — that were available previously.  The CCHS Science Department’s Logger-Pro/Vernier software works in conjunction with the new Spectrometer.  This technology is a staple in any college level chemistry or biology course.  It is a portable device that easily can be shared among the science faculty.  Now, CCHS students can use state-of –the-art technology to measure the absorbance spectrum of aqueous samples, conduct Beer’s law experiments at one or more wavelengths, conduct kinetic studies of absorbance versus time at one or more wavelengths, conduct emission spectrum analysis with the fiber optic assembly and conduct other more meaningful
measurement analysis.

Heartsaver CPR & AED Staff Training

Grant Amount: $1,170.80

This grant will cover the cost of training 30 individuals who are CCHS faculty, staff or coaches on how to use CPR and the automated external defibrillator (AED) at the high school.  Training will be offered over two days.  Christine DeBruzzi RN, MSN, NCSN and American Heart Association CPR instructor for eight years will conduct the classes.