Innovative Seed Fund Grants a Success
Innovation is part of education and every day our teachers are finding creative ways to engage students and inspire them to learn. For the past two years the Carney Family Charitable Foundation has provided teachers and schools with the opportunity to apply for Seed Fund Grants that turn creative ideas into real projects that impact student learning.
This year 12 of our schools received over $66,000 from the Carney Family Charitable Foundation to implement their projects during the spring semester.
Below is a short summary of each project.
Bishop Stang High School, New Bedford
Project Name: Let There be Light
Let There be Light is a multidisciplinary project through which faculty and students from Environmental Science, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics classes worked to create a Microbial Fuel Cell from mud. They were able to produce enough electricity to light a bulb, but it was not quite bright enough to allow someone to read in the dark. They also worked in collaboration with students and faculty at St. Mary’s Junior Seminary, located on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Seed Fund Grant allowed students in both schools to work with the same materials and equipment and they were able to share their experiments and results to learn from each other. You can learn more about Let There be Light here.
Coyle and Cassidy High School, Taunton
Project Name: Implementing Brown University’s Choices Program
The Choices Program from Brown University is a series of 41 historical and current events modules that will help students understand pivotal points in history and current issues.
One of the projects highlighted focused on denuclearization from the Cold War through events happening in our world right now. The project ended with a UN Role Play where students presented arguments for and against denuclearization. You can learn more about the way that Coyle and Cassidy used the Choices Program here.
Espirito Santo Parochial School, Fall River
Project Name: Strengthening Math-Science Connections in the Middle Grades
Mrs. Schneller created a science curriculum with a strong emphasis on the connection with Math. One of the projects students worked on involved launching rockets and using Math to predict their trajectory. Students enjoyed the hands on learning and being able to see the results of their Math equations. They also learned about graphing both by hand and using Excel.
Holy Family Holy Name School, New Bedford
Project Name: Responsive Classroom
Holy Family-Holy Name School, in collaboration with St. Joseph School, St. James-St. John School, St. Francis Xavier School and All Saints Catholic School provided an opportunity for their staff to be trained in the Responsive Classroom model. The Responsive Classroom approach aims to bring a strong focus between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). Training in Responsive Classroom will empower our educators to create safe, joyful and engaging learning settings where our students have a sense of belonging and feel that they can and do succeed.
One example that Ms. Mahoney shared is that in the Kindergarten classroom students “kiss their brain” when they make improvements or challenge themselves. This helps them recognize the gift of their intellect and builds positive reinforcement for growth.
Holy Trinity School, Fall River
Project Name: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Ceramics
Mrs. Leanne Soares, the Art Teacher at Holy Trinity, developed “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Ceramics” to help children who are dealing with special learning and behavioral concerns. Through their work in creating both slab and wheel thrown projects students learn fine motor skills, attention to detail, patience, confidence, and perseverance. These skills will translate into the classroom, allowing students to reach their full potential. Holy Trinity will be offering a summer ceramics program for students who are eager to improve their ceramic skills.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Taunton
Project Name: Responsive Classroom
Similar to the project done by the Greater New Bedford Area Schools, Our Lady of Lourdes provided professional development to their teachers in Responsive Classroom. Mrs. Turner shared how Morning Meetings have helped address the social and emotional challenges that students face and start the day on a positive note.
St. James St. John School, New Bedford
Project Name: 3-D Printer
St. James St. John School purchased a 3-D printer to further enhance their Middle School Science and Math programs. Using an online program, students designed objects to be printed such as a skeleton, houses, and key-chains. For the final project of the semester, students worked individually or in teams to create an innovative item that could be used in the classroom. One team created a microscope and another created a stand to hold the microscope slides. This project helped students learn problem management and solving, Math skills as they designed their projects to scale, and programming. You can read more about their projects here.
St. Stanislaus School, Fall River
Project Name: Outdoor multi-disciplinary learning atelier
Based on the traditional artist’s atelier, a learning atelier is a space filled with tools and materials that fosters collaborative learning under the guidance of an expert. St. Stanislaus’ atelier contains areas for science, math, writing, dramatic performance, music, and art, as well as a tinkering table. A parent volunteer is helping students create an Herb Garden. Creating the atelier has been a community project that has allowed for team building and resilience as the weather created some obstacles for finishing the atelier.