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Niskayuna Schools > News

April 26, 2016 

Niskayuna Education Enrichment Fund announces inaugural grants

Picture from Birchwood Wizard of Oz

EEF to continue momentum with a new round of mini-grants soon!

picture of Maureen McGuinness
Above, EEF Committee Chair Maureen McGuiness talks about what the enrichment fund accomplished this year. Below, committee member Dave Orcutt introduces grant recipients.
picture of Dave Orcutt

Niskayuna students will practice public speaking and new languages, attract birds and butterflies to school gardens, create their own books, and learn about the engineering and design process as a result of the first-ever grants from the Niskayuna Education Enrichment Fund that were announced on April 20.

EEF Committee Chair Maureen McGuinness and retired Hillside teacher Dave Orcutt, co-chair of the subcommittee that reviewed the proposals, presented the six inaugural grants to the Niskayuna educators who submitted them in an afterschool ceremony in the Iroquois Media Center.

Scroll down for photos of the grant recipients with a description of their proposals.

The Niskayuna Education Enrichment Fund was established in 2012 by the Niskayuna Central School District as a way to promote tax deductible donations from businesses and individuals interested in directly benefiting school programs. This fund is a part of the Niskayuna Community Foundation which is an affiliate of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. Since 2012, $20,000 has been raised.

It was an active year for the Education Enrichment Fund Committee. Since September, it created by-laws, established the grant application and review process, publicized the funding opportunity and planned ongoing fundraising efforts.

"What was smart back in 2012 - and is critical as we move forward - is to have a fund like this that can raise money for education outside of the traditional model," McGuinness aid. "Our committee will continue to grow this fund so our district has options when opportunities or needs arise."

At the ceremony, McGuinness announced that the EEF would seek to continue the momentum of this year by announcing a new round of mini-grants soon. More information will be distributed to Niskayuna faculty and staff members soon, and the deadline for proposals will be in September.

"We would like to give you some time to think about how you would put the extra funds to work," McGuiness said. "Those of you who have received a grant, perhaps you can be an ambassador to your peers and tell them that the process wasn’t too bad."

She also said that the EEF is also continuing to seek individuals and businesses who are interested in investing in the fund. It has set a goal of partnering with 10 businesses. (For more information about the fund, please contact Maureen McGuinnes at mmcg01@nycap.rr.com.)

McGuinness and Orcutt were joined by EEF committee members Dense Murphy McGraw and Nicki Foley at the announcement.

 

Photos & Grant Descriptions: EEF announces first-ever funding awards

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

Julie Cupp and Kellyn Moore from Glencliff Elementary School were awarded a grant to help purchase a new sound system to help foster public speaking and presentation skills with students in grades K-5.  Also pictured: Music teacher Theresa Fitzmaurice.

 

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

Teachers Annette Romano, Kateri Skinner, and Laura Depken-Carroll were awarded a grant to start and sustain a National Board Certification Cohort in-district through training two teachers to be trained as Candidate Support Providers.  

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

Rosendale teachers Jessica Jefts, Roseann Maurantonio, Glenn Motto, Mary Neufeld, and Sue O'Connell were awarded a grant to purchase materials that meet English Language Arts and Science standards that will help teachers with both small group intervention and enrichment. Students will create their own informational books and use digital resources.  Also pictured: Rosendale Principal Joseph DiCaprio.

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

Hillside Library Media Specialist Debbie Ubriaco and kindergarten teacher Christine Mathews received a grant that will allow students to learn about science while getting their hands dirty. Kindergarten students will learn about ecosystems while working to address an invasive plant species and attract butterflies and birds to the gardens they care for on the school property. 

 

 

picture from EEF grant announcement 

World Language Director Marie Digirolamo (not pictured) and high school teachers Caroline Gardiner and Clayton Callahan were awarded a grant to utilize a web-based voice recording application called Voicethread in their classrooms. Students can narrate slide shows, describe images and comment on visual media without being together. This will allow students to practice speaking foreign languages anytime, using their phones or other technology, and to receive individualized feedback from their teachers. 

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

World Language Director Marie Digirolamo and high school teachers were awarded a grant to utilize a web-based voice recording application called Voicethread in their classrooms. Students can narrate slide shows, describe images and comment on visual media without being together. This will allow students to practice speaking foreign languages anytime, using their phones or other technology, and to receive individualized feedback from their teachers. 

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

Students, parents, teachers and EEF members gathered to celebrate the grant announcements.

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

Niskayuna High School World Languages teacher Clayton Callahan talks about VoiceThread, funded by the EEF grant.

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

Glencliff teachers Kellyn Moore and Julie Cupp thank the EEF for the grant and describe the learning opportunities it will make possible for students in grades K-5. 

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

Iroquois Library Media Specialist Steve Wolfort thanks the EEF for the grant funding and describes how students will benefit from the makerspace initiative.

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

Above and below, after the grant announcements, Iroquois students shared the makerspace concept with teachers, EEF members, parents and guests.

 

picture from EEF grant announcement

 

picture from EEF grant announcement