Southborough Education Foundation awards $36K to fund innovative programs

Above: Recipients of the 2011-2012 school year SEF grants (contributed photo)

When Finn students step out in their new snowshoes next winter, and Neary percussionists practice African drumming, and Trottier students make movies using green screen technology as part of their science curriculum, they’ll have the Southborough Education Foundation to thank.

Since its inception, SEF has awarded more then $265K in grants to educators in the Southborough schools to help fund innovative education programs. They focus on creative programs that enhance, but do not duplicate, the standard public school curriculum and that would otherwise not be funded through the traditional school budget process.

This year they awarded 11 grants across Southborough’s four schools along with Algonquin, totaling more than $36K. The grants are diverse and cover many fields of study including music, math, physical education, language arts and science. Here’s a summary provided by SEF.

Finn School
The addition of a complete set of snowshoes will expand the Physical Education program at Finn and introduce our youngest students to a new and fun winter fitness activity. The Finn School will also receive a permanent, wall-mounted interactive Whiteboard in the Computer Lab to provide for active student involvement during instruction.

Woodward School
The reading fluency of the students of Woodward will be improved through the use of iPod Touches funded by another SEF grant. These devices will be used as part of the daily reading curriculum allowing the students to record and review their own voices while reading.

Neary School
A grant awarded to the Neary School will allow for the creation of an African Drum group and the incorporation or African drumming into the regular curriculum for all percussionists at Neary. Two additional grants awarded to Neary will provide for
the implementation of a Math Workshop in all 4th grade classrooms and allow for the introduction of stability balls as a classroom-seating alternative.

Trottier Middle School
Two state-of-the-art visual media technologies will be added at Trottier. SEF approved funding for a Green Screen to be used at all grade levels at Trottier Middle School. This exciting presentation tool will enable students to work cooperatively to create movies that will visually demonstrate the knowledge they have gained in their science classes. Trottier will also receive 30 Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch Tablets. These graphic tablets are computer input devices that will allow students to hand-draw images and graphics similar to the way they would draw images and graphics with a pencil and

Algonquin Regional High School
The Algonquin High School Science and Math Departments both received grants to purchase advanced technology equipment to benefit their students. The Science Department will implement the use of Livescribe Smartpen technology that will enable teachers to record lectures while taking handwritten notes. These recordings, with the corresponding notes, can be uploaded to a computer and posted to the internet to be accessed by students who need to hear and see the lectures repeated. The Math Department was awarded 16 iPads to facilitate the implementation of a web-based assessment platform. This program, through Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), will allow Algonquin math teachers to used data to drive their decisions regarding instruction in the Integrated Math Classrooms.

SEF participated in funding a district-wide event that reached out to culturally and linguistically diverse families in the Southborough community. Summer Bright Ideas! was an evening event where parents and educators gathered to explore approaches to promote child literacy skills as well as methods to prevent language and academic regression during summer vacation.

Grants are supported through SEF membership fees, private donations, corporate grants, the annual Southborough Spelling Bee, and several individual fundraising events. SEF President Kathy Cook thanked the individuals and businesses who made the grants possible.

“In difficult budgetary times like now, it is more important than ever to support innovative teaching programs so our next generation can be more effectively taught in today’s environment and become better prepared for the future,” Cook said.

Full details on the grants and grant recipients can be found on the SEF website (

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11 years ago

so so so so so PROUD and I feel appreciative that my children are part of such a rewarding school system that strives to integrate the entire mind-body and is constantly looking to incorporate diversity. At the end of the school year what I feel is an overwhelming sense of *gratitude*~

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