Portland Education Foundation’s volunteer board is committed to a tradition of awarding grants to teachers for the support of classroom innovation. We want Portland educators to feel their hard work is recognized and supported by the broader community beyond school walls. These grants are a way of recognizing, encouraging and supporting educators’ efforts to innovate and excel. By supporting better teaching, the grants are also a means to improve our students’ educational experiences.
PEF 2012-2013 Grants:
Portland Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2009, is happy to announce they have awarded 17 grants for their 2012-2013 cycle. The awards were given to 17 teachers in the Portland Public School District. PEF President Mary Bennett added, “One of the most rewarding things we do as trustees of this foundation is to give out money to fund innovation in the classroom. I am astounded at how small amounts of money can have such big impacts directly to the students. My only regret is that we can’t do more.”
All of the funding requests were compelling and worthy of attention, which made the selection process that much more challenging. Those chosen represent PEF’s best efforts to fund a broad range of innovative student experiences.
Portland Education Foundation is run by a volunteer board working to support the Portland Public School District by advocating for excellence in education, connecting schools and our community, and supporting students and teachers. They are committed to making these kinds of grants and continue to increase both the numbers and funding amounts of grants as the foundation grows.
If you would like to volunteer for PEF or would like more information, please visit the PEF website, www.portlandeducationfoundation.org, or email PEF at email@example.com. If you would like to donate to this effort, please visit the donation page on www.portlandeducationfoundation.org to donate easily via PayPal.
The following is a brief summary of the grants funded:
1.) East End Ukulele Band - East End Community School
This grant helps enable students at the East End Community School form a ukulele band by funding the purchase of instruments. The project relates directly to the music curriculum and adds to the positive cultural identity of the school and surrounding community, allowing students to share their performances with peers, parents, and friends.
2.) Salmon at Longfellow Elementary - Longfellow Elementary School
For this project, students in the fourth grade observe Atlantic Salmon eggs grow to fry and release them into a Maine stream as part of the Salmon in Schools program. The grant allows teachers to purchase a cold water tank and other equipment, giving students practical, hands-on knowledge of the life cycle of Atlantic Salmon. Once mature, students visit a Maine stream to release the nurtured fry, increasing the population of an endangered animal.
3.) Garden Buddies - Lyseth Elementary School
Third graders and Kindergarteners team up in this project to enhance an outdoor garden area on school grounds. The grant provides funding for plants and planting materials so that third graders can research and choose plants, teach the Kindergarteners what they learn, and join with them in the plating and care of the garden.
4.) Maine Student Book Award Forum - Lyseth Elementary School
This grant provides fifth graders with books on the Maine Student Book Award list. Students review the books, then post their reviews in an online forum to share with participating students from other schools. Students also create posters for their chosen books and display them outside the library for the greater school community.
5.) Building Family Bonds with Bilingual Books - Riverton Elementary School
In order to encourage family literacy in Riverton’s multilingual school environment, this project starts a bilingual library to be used by parents, students, and teachers. The grant aids in the purchase of the initial bilingual books as a seed project intended to be the foundation of a growing collection to be used school-wide.
6.) The Book Club That Circumnavigated Fairyland - King Middle School
This grant allows sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to read local author Catherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, travel to Peak’s Island for a “tea and talk” with the author, and finally circumnavigate the island on foot before returning to school.
7.) ReVOLT Expedition - King Middle School
In this project, eighth graders design and construct a device that harnesses natural energy to solve a social need. The grant purchases a solar panel and other raw materials to facilitate design and construction.
9.) Lead On - King Middle School
In this project, students study leaders and leadership using author Robert Shetterly’s Americans Who Tell The Truth as a core text. Shetterly will visit King with an exhibit of about a dozen of his portraits. Students then research a leader and create an artistic panel in computer, language arts, and social studies class about the leader for their own leadership exhibit at the school.
10.) Engineering Our Energy Future - King Middle School
Eighth grade students research and debate a variety of renewable and non-renewable energy sources and the design/building of model off shore wind turbines. The grant helps enable students to visit the Off Shore Wind Turbine Research Lab at the University of Maine at Orono in order to talk directly to researchers and engineers about their work.
11.) CSI: Citizen Scientists Investigate - Lincoln Middle School
In this project, sixth grade students collect and analyze types of trash found on the street in the Deering Center neighborhood; they then create and present proposals to reduce the amount of trash.
12.) Field Study at UNE Biddeford - Lincoln Middle School
This grant allows seventh grade science students to visit the UNE science labs as a culminating activity for their year-long study of the life sciences which includes: investigation of invasive species in Baxter Woods, sampling of bacteria in water throughout Portland, tracking phytoplankton and its connection to migration and health in the Gulf of Maine, and investigation of body systems and adaptation through resources available from the UNE science departments.
13.) A Study of Force and Motion Through Snowtubing - Lincoln Middle School
Students take their classroom learning of force, motion, speed, data collection, and experiment design to the snowy slopes of a local tubing hill to answer the age-old question with hard data: how do you get down the hill the fastest?
14.) Mathematically Designed Roller Coasters - Deering High School
This grant provides the materials needed for high school algebra students to design and build functioning two-dimensional roller coaster models using marbles for following the path of linear, quadratic, and quartic functions.
15.) Recipes for the Life Skills Classroom - Deering High School
Using the healthy eating initiatives adopted by Portland Public Schools, this project develops a digital recipe book in the Functional Life Skills curriculum for ongoing instruction in cooking, technology, and functional reading and math instruction. The Functional Life Skills program serves ages 14 through 20 with moderate to profound developmental disabilities, and this grant provides funding for the project to help increase knowledge and independent skills.
16.) Hidden Histories - Casco Bay High School
This project brings the focus of the tenth grade English and Social Studies classes’ expedition, “Hidden Histories” home to Maine by examining the cases of Malaga Island and the Pownal School. Funds from this grant are used to purchase case specific anchor texts the expedition.
17.) Real World Design Challenge - Portland High School
The Real World Design Challenge is an annual high school competition with the goal of sustainably increasing the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce. This grant funds the technology needed for a group of students to enter the competition using professional Computer Aided Design software to solve an engineering challenge in aviation.