Above, EEF Committee Chair Maureen McGuiness talks about what the enrichment
fund accomplished this year. Below, committee member Dave Orcutt introduces
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
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
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
"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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Students, parents, teachers and EEF members gathered to celebrate the grant
Niskayuna High School World Languages teacher Clayton Callahan talks
about VoiceThread, funded by the EEF grant.
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.
Iroquois Library Media Specialist Steve Wolfort thanks the EEF for the grant
funding and describes how students will benefit from the makerspace
Above and below, after the grant announcements, Iroquois students shared the
makerspace concept with teachers, EEF members, parents and guests.