2018-2019 Enrichment Grants

For the 2018-2019 academic year, the Newport Public Education Foundation awarded more than $22,000 in enrichment grants to teachers and community partners. All grants support an aspect of the recently adopted Newport Public Schools strategic plan, and awards and projects span all grade levels from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The following projects received funding:

Pell Elementary School

Dale Blaess and Stephanie DeAscentis
“STEM Investigations”
Funding a sand/water table that students will use to conduct STEM investigations throughout the year. The table allows students to easily access materials in a developmentally appropriate environment and helps them master the skills and standards they are investigating.

Kim Hassan
“Student Access to RAZ Kids”
Funding subscriptions for RAZ Kids, which provides more than 400 e-books spanning 29 reading levels. RAZ Kids can be used anywhere with Internet access, allowing students to choose high-interest books at their appropriate reading level in settings such as school, home, libraries and after-school programs. The program also offers texts in Spanish to help improve the literacy skills of Pell’s growing ELL population.

Aaron Sherman
“Pell Greenhouse”
Enhancing Pell’s thriving community gardens by funding an adjacent greenhouse that will encourage a year-round growing cycle, allowing students to plant seeds earlier in the spring and later in the fall. Through hands-on experiences, students will continue to discover where their food comes from, while also meeting learning objectives for nearly all life science units in grades K-4.

Colleen Crotteau, Cheryl DeMenezes and Mary Sheehan
“Diving Deeper Into Social Emotional Learning”
Creating a lending library to allow for more focused teaching that supports and scaffolds social emotional learning for tier 2 and tier 3 students who need more direct specialized instruction. Some of these students have special needs or are English Language Learners.

Kristine DeComo
“The Gingerbread Man’s Annual Visit”
Supporting English Language Learners as they progress toward English proficiency. Students will develop and increase their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills by comparing and contrasting multicultural versions of the gingerbread man tale. Students will create a class book retelling the gingerbread man story and decorate their own gingerbread man cookies.

Pell Elementary School/Thompson Middle School

Mark McKenna
“Guitar Club Experiential Learning”
Helping Pell and Thompson’s after-school guitar clubs attend a performance at the Narrows Center for the Arts featuring local guitar prodigy Quinn Sullivan, inspiring the students to set higher performance goals for themselves. Students will witness firsthand how discipline, focus, commitment, hard work and practice can result in a high level of skill.

Mark McKenna
“First Works/Complexions Dance Company”
Helping students in the Island Moving Company’s scholarship program attend the inspirational First Works/Complexions Dance Company performance at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Students will witness and learn how discipline, focus, hard work, teamwork and determination lead to successful outcomes and learn how to apply these character traits to their own dance program.

Mark McKenna
“School of Rock”
Helping Pell and Thompson’s after-school guitar clubs see the musical “School of Rock” at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Students will realize that they can replicate what they see and hear if they engage in disciplined practice, work together cooperatively and remain driven. They will be motivated to be more skilled guitar players and be better performers.

Thompson Middle School

Elizabeth Gibbs
“Adaptations and Ecosystems With Project Chick”
Supporting Thompson’s longstanding Project Chick program with Casey Farm. By hatching eggs in the classroom, students are introduced to basic embryology, the diversity of chicken breeds and their ecological needs. Through field trips to Casey Farm, students gain an understanding of life on an 18th century farm and explore Narragansett Bay’s ecosystems at the farm’s shoreline.

David Koutsogiane, Emily Loftus, Melissa Turner and Caitlin Wirth
“Full STEAM Ahead to Seamen’s”
Allowing fifth and sixth grade students to visit the Discovery Deck, Seamen’s Church Institute’s interactive educational exhibit showcasing the maritime industry of Newport and Narragansett Bay. Teachers will work closely with the curriculum specialist at Seamen’s to align the STEAM challenge with the domain of science they are currently exploring.

Taylor Rock
“Exploring Ecosystems”
Supporting Thompson’s longstanding relationships with Casey Farm and Norman Bird Sanctuary, providing students with experiences that connect them to Aquidneck Island and Rhode Island ecosystems and put them at the forefront of science education. Through in-class outreach programs and field trips, students will develop a comprehensive understanding of how ecosystems work. These dynamic field programs make lasting memories and provide comprehension that cannot take place in a classroom setting alone.

Lindsey Cruff, Beth Raffa and Dave Vieira
“Student Scholarships”
Funding scholarships for students to participate in events sponsored by the Thompson student council, including activity nights, trips to the corn maze, ice skating, semi-formal and more. The scholarships will allow all students the opportunity to participate in these extracurricular activities regardless of their financial constraints.

Beth Raffa
“Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports”
Supporting Thompson’s PBIS program, which promotes a climate and culture that provides a feeling of safety and respect. Students are encouraged to follow the Thompson POWER matrix by participating, organizing, keeping everybody safe, working hard and respecting others and themselves. For students who display POWERful behavior, the program includes a mid-year celebration at Jane Pickens Theater and an end-of-year celebration at Braga Park.

Ryan Collins
“Flexible Seating”
Funding a class set of stability balls designed to increase student engagement. Flexible seating gives students control of their environment, allows them to move by wobbling or rocking and encourages them to find their best spot to stay calm and focused. As collaboration is key in the classroom environment, flexible seating allows students to quickly and easily pair up or work in small groups and helps with sensory input for students with ADHD, ADD or ASD.

Brianna DeWitt
“Soundtrap Recording for Education”
Funding Soundtrap for Education software, which allows students to compose and record their own music using pre-recorded instrument loops, teacher-created tracks or their own vocals and instrumental playing. Students can create any type of music – electronic or acoustic, hip hop or jazz, their own playing or someone else’s. They can also assess their own performance while learning skills associated with audio recording and editing.

Tara Mello
“Current Events With Scholastic News”
Funding a subscription to Scholastic News, which keeps students knowledgeable on today’s most important issues and engages them to read nonfiction texts with current events that support ELA, science and social studies curriculums. Scholastic News supports a wide range of state and national standards and provides resources to differentiate each lesson for various levels of learners.

Kaitlin Wilson
“Lego Math”
Funding the purchase of Legos for a new “Lego Math” club held during Thompson’s Power Hour enrichment period. Students will work cooperatively to create different Lego structures, developing their spatial reasoning skills and allowing them to create and collaborate outside of their traditional classroom work.

Christine Jones
“Building Bricks Design Project”
Funding the building bricks design project, which allows students to create a design based on a given theme. Students will use Google sheets and a price list to build a budget for their design. They will share their project design, description and budget using Google apps. The project provides opportunities for students to be creative and incorporate life skills such as sticking to a budget and communicating their ideas.

Rogers High School

David Goodburn
“Microscope Replacement”
Allowing Rogers High School to replace its current microscopes, which are more than 25 years old and beginning to fail. Microscopes are used in anatomy and physiology, biology and criminalistics courses. Students learn how to properly use the microscopes to study microscopic organisms.

Michael Carlino
“Geometry Concepts With Dash”
Supporting technology to model a real-world application, engaging geometry students who have struggled with algebra in an experiential learning activity focused on understanding angles and measurements. Students will learn to estimate and measure distance and direction by using Dash and Dot robots to negotiate a series of mazes within the classroom.

David Connell
“Greeting Cards”
Funding an embossing/die cutting machine that will bring the advertising and design program’s long-running greeting card project to a more advanced and professional level. Students learn how greeting cards are designed and made while producing cards for family, friends and nonprofit organizations such as local nursing homes, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Angela Johnson
“The Colonial Experience”
Funding class visits to historic locations around the state, allowing students to explore Rhode Island’s state buildings, colonization, industrialization and the Gilded Age.

Charlotte North
“Digital Badges”
Funding field experiences for digital badging, which connects students to the larger community through interdisciplinary learning. Students will sample four badges: Art, with a focus on memorials and memory; citizenship, with a focus on activism and democracy; wellness, with a focus on personal wellness and inter-generational connections; and physical Newport, with a focus on sustainable gardening, wildlife, water quality and land preservation.

Katherine Ringdahl
“Bridge Building Competition”
Providing materials for a bridge building competition that models the popular Vermont Tech contest. Model bridges promote the study and application of physics and engineering and help students develop hands-on skills. By combining skills in math, science, physics, research and engineering, students will learn how engineers design structures to a set of specifications.

Elizabeth Stump
“Making Connections With Earth and Space”
Connecting students with local resources that showcase the natural history of Rhode Island and its aquatic ecosystems. After visiting the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium and the Biomes Marine Biology Center, students will research a particular aspect that sparked their interest, culminating in a class presentation.

Marybeth Vierra
“Digital Badges”
Funding field experiences for digital badging, which connects students to the larger community through interdisciplinary learning. Students will sample four badges: Art, with a focus on memorials and memory; citizenship, with a focus on activism and democracy; wellness, with a focus on personal wellness and inter-generational connections; and physical Newport, with a focus on sustainable gardening, wildlife, water quality and land preservation.

Community Partners

Newport Restoration Foundation
“Art Education at Rough Point”
This long-running, multi-faceted collaboration includes in-class visits from Newport Restoration Foundation educators and field trips to Rough Point, exposing students to world-class collections of European fine art and Chinese ceramics. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Newport Restoration Foundation, students will create artwork focusing on historic architecture, preservation and the changing landscape of Newport. Student art produced through this collaboration will be displayed at Rough Point as part of the special exhibit “To Preserve and Restore: Newport Restoration Foundation at 50.”