The city of Melrose awarded Innovation Grants during a ceremony at Memorial Hall Wednesday night.
"The seven Innovation Grants announced (Wednesday night) have the potential to impact nearly every student in the Melrose Public Schools system," said Mayor Rob Dolan in an email to Melrose Patch. "The grants range in focus from new methods of teaching writing to our youngest learners at the ECC, to new strategies for empowering our occupational and physical therapists to support learning, to increasing the rigor of courses in core subjects at every grade level of our Middle School and High School.
"The Committee received many excellent applications for this first set of Innovation Grants, and not all could be funded. All teachers who submitted grant applications should be commended for taking the time and care to apply, and we thank them for their commitment to their students."
The city made $10,000 available for the 2012-2013 Melrose Innovation Grants program.
Here's a breakdown of the Innovation Grant recipients, with comments from the mayor as to what each grant will be used for:
Teacher Family Study Group on Dialogic Reading and Lessons for our Youngest Writers, Early Childhood Center
Grant lead: Donna Rosso
"This Innovation Grant for the Early Childhood Center (ECC) will support professional development for all staff in two areas that are critical for Melrose’s youngest learners: promoting early reading skills and using talking and drawing as the natural pathway to early writing," Dolan said. "This professional development opportunity will impact all 284 students enrolled at the ECC, as well as future students. This grant contains an online discussion component, which will promote flexibility and foster the full participation of all ECC educators. The use of online discussion among all staff and the potential for parent involvement are two exciting facets of this grant."
Increasing Rigor and Raising Expectations Workshop, Melrose High School and Middle School
Grant lead: Angela Singer
"With the potential to impact learning in nearly all academic areas in grades 6-12, this Innovation Grant is the largest in scope and depth," Dolan said. "The grant will fund workshops, hosted by the High School and Middle School Department Chairs, for educators in grades 6-12 in English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Languages. The workshops will provide instruction in the methodology, content and skills associated with Advanced Placement (AP) classes, empowering all teachers at all grade levels with the best practices and resources that distinguish instruction at the AP level. This grant will contribute to an increased level of rigor and higher expectations for students at all levels of study."
Practical Sensory Motor Strategies – Melrose Public Schools, Occupational Therapy Department
Grant lead: Jennifer Papasodoro
"The Occupational and Physical Therapy departments of the Melrose Public Schools have received an Innovation Grant to attend a conference focused on Practical Sensory Motor Strategies to support student success," Dolan said. "Four OT-PT professionals will attend the seminar, and then share their knowledge with the entire OT-PT team through an on-going professional learning community. This important grant addresses the fact that all children learn in different ways, and has the potential to touch nearly every student in the district."
Using 3D Printers for Design Prototyping, Melrose High School and Middle School
Grant lead: Gerry Greer
"This Innovation Grant will support the professional development and necessary equipment to train the Middle School and High School CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) teachers on the use of 3-dimensional printers," Dolan said. "These printers and the associated professional development will allow students in grades 6-12 to use modeling software to design and build actual prototypes and will provide an opportunity that currently cannot be offered to Melrose students in technology education courses. This Innovation Grant will directly impact learning in the classroom, has the potential to promote multi-disciplinary teaching and advances District goals."
Herbert Clark Hoover Elementary School: Massachusetts Reading Association Conference
Grant lead: David Cyr
"This Innovation Grant will allow six teachers from the Hoover Elementary School to attend the annual Massachusetts Reading Association conference," Dolan said. "Teachers from different grade levels will explore literacy and writing strategies associated with the Common Core Standards, which they will then bring back to share with the rest of the Hoover team. The knowledge gained will benefit the entire Hoover student body."
Horace Mann Elementary School: Study Group to Improve Mathematics Instruction for All
Grant lead: Deborah Rees
"This Innovation Grant will provide materials and facilitate a professional development study group for special education teachers at the Horace Mann School," Dolan said. "The group will meet bi-weekly to learn new methods of teaching math and differentiating instruction within a large group lesson. Two Horace Mann teachers who have already attended a workshop in these methods will be leading the sessions. The new approaches will be tried in classrooms and the results will be shared and discussed in study group meetings. Not only will this impact the mathematics instruction for all Horace Mann students, it will help support the Horace Mann school improvement plan."
Geography Collaboration with the Boston Museum of Science, Melrose Middle School
Grant leads: Gregory Keohan, Robert Mahoney and Kevin Tierney
"This Innovation Grant will allow all three 6th-grade Geography teachers to collaborate on the development of a project that will impact about 300 6th-graders in Melrose – this year and in subsequent years," Dolan said. "These three educators will spend a day at the Museum of Science Educator Resource Center to develop a new cumulative unit project and accompanying assessment rubric to evaluate student outcomes. This grant represents a cost-effective use of a local resource, emphasizes collaboration between faculty members, builds cohesion across the curriculum, and has the potential to positively impact a large number of students."