Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

All inquiries should be addressed to the Larchmont Historical Society.

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Mam’k Schools Foundation Awards 31 Grants, $275K

At its grant awards ceremony on March 1st, the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation celebrated its mission of enhancing educational excellence.  Specifically, the foundation announced it will be funding 31 grants, totaling $275,000 for the 2010-2011 school year, reaching across every curriculum and impacting all six Mamaroneck district schools.

The ceremony, held in the Mamaroneck High School library, attracted a crowd of teachers, administrators and community members.

Melina Vourlekis, MSF president, said this year’s funding was especially significant (and uplifting) given the continuing weakness of the economy.

Mamaroneck Schools Foundation President Melina Vourlekis was grateful that community donations allowed grants to be as generous as last year.

Melina Vourlekis, Mamaroneck School Foundation president. All photos by Elaine Kung.

“Matching last year’s total in dollars speaks volumes about the commitment and generosity of our donors, who, year in and year out, make it possible for us to award interesting and innovative grants,” stated Ms. Vourlekis.

Marlene Gold and Jean Marie Stein, co-chairs of the Grants Selection Committee further explained the influence of the economy on their process. “The committee was very mindful of the serious budget constraints in the district. We worked especially hard to reduce costs; yet, at the same time, insisted that we preserve the integrity of each proposal.”

Marlene Gold and Jean Marie Stein, co-chairs of the Grant Selection Committee, were particularly mindful of the difficult economy this year.

In addition to the presentation of the grant awards, three grant recipients from the current grant cycle shared how their grants have helped them enrich the learning process in their classrooms.

MHS Science Department chairman, Dr. Miguel Nunes, explained how his SMART Boards for Physics grant enabled him to present complex topics visually, leading students to a deeper comprehension of facts.

Emily Dombroff, who runs the MHS Video Department used a video to show how her grant of updated computer equipment not only revolutionized the students capabilities to produce innovative videos but also transformed the work space.

Betsy Nolan, a first grade teacher from Murray Avenue School, described how the American Folk Traditions and Cultural Identity grant has united the entire school.

Grants for every school…ranging across curricular areas

As typified by the presentations, grants for next year range across the curriculum. Support will go for projects in Science and Mathematics, Technology, Literacy and Enrichment, Special Education, The Arts, and Athletics at all six schools.

At MHS, the photography program, barely updated in forty years, will receive digital photography equipment.

At Hommocks, all 12 science classrooms will receive SMART boards. These coupled with the 9 SMART boards given to the MHS Science Department last year, create a full SMART board integration in science at the secondary education level, providing an effective teaching tool for the district’s science teachers.

In the elementary schools, Mamaroneck Avenue School will receive curriculum-related trunks for the 3rd and 4th grades to encourage students to speculate, think critically and synthesize information from multiple sources. The number of student-favorite “Playaway” audio books at Central School will be greatly increased. Murray will finally be getting some SMART boards –three in the 5th grades. As a forerunner in the district’s initiative on sustainability, Chatsworth Avenue School will have an outdoor classroom/garden, along with a hands-on eco-foot printing program that helps students calculate the carbon footprint on their school.

(For a complete listing of the 2010-2011 grants, see below.)

In her closing remarks, Lauren Wertheim, the vice president of grants, said that Mamaroneck Schools Foundation “is proud that we can be an avenue for our district’s faculty and staff for things beyond the most basic curriculum needs, as well as a place where ideas that may be a little outside the box are awarded. We thank the teachers, especially for taking the initiative and for implementing these ideas to make our children’s education and learning environment so much better.”

Mamaroneck Schools Foundation Grants for 2010-2011

The Mamaroneck Schools Foundation is pleased to announce funding of 31 grants for the 2010-2011 school year. The grants, which total $275,000, will have an impact in all six district schools, as well as on the entire community.


Computerized Physics Labs and Demonstrations MHS

This grant enhances the physics curriculum at Mamaroneck High School by expanding the amount and use of state-of-the-art PASCO equipment. It updates the demonstration equipment available to physics teachers, and will allow the number of students in each lab group to be reduced, giving each student more hands-on time in the lab, using college-level high-tech resources.

Original Science Research Technology Upgrade                           MHS

This grant will provide the Original Science Research program with two Mac mini computers and create four new student workstations, plus a teacher laptop. In addition, the purchase of the high school’s first large-scale printer, which can be shared among all departments, will create high-quality large-format posters to better showcase student work in research contests such as the Intel Science Talent search and the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair.

SMART Board for Physics Classroom                                           MHS

In 2009 the MHS science department was granted nine new SMART Boards. This grant will provide an additional SMART Board, allowing MHS science teachers to work with the same technology so that unified curriculum plans can be used. For both teachers and students, SMART Board technology has consistently raised instructional successes in science classrooms.

SMART Boards for the Science Classrooms                                  Hommocks
This grant will greatly enhance the teaching of science at Hommocks by providing a SMART Board in all 12 science classrooms in grades 6-8. Using SMART Boards, teachers can illustrate complicated processes; manipulate detailed, complex diagrams; make interactive graphs and charts; perform virtual laboratory activities and demonstrations; and present fun and challenging games. With this grant, the district’s secondary science department is now equipped with SMART Boards from Hommocks through the high school, allowing for an integrated curriculum approach.
New Math SMART Board Software                                              Hommocks/MHS

SMART Notebook Math is an add-on (with 12 new tools) to SMART Board software already in place in the district.  This grant provides 15 site licenses for a software enhancement that gives math teachers more flexibility in creating dynamic, interactive lessons and provides instant access to math-specific tools. The grant also includes teacher training.

Growing Seeds, Minds and Connections                                        Hommocks

With the ultimate vision of installing a greenhouse at the Hommocks that will serve as a learning center for the Home and Career Skills classes, as well as science and elementary school classes, this grant will fund an engineering and structural analysis and provide cost estimates to determine if this project is feasible (Phase One). If the project is deemed feasible, the Foundation will fund the cost of the architectural plans, specifications and construction documents required for State Education Department approval (Phase Two).

SOS: School-Wide Opportunities for Sustainability                      Chatsworth Ave.
This grant will provide opportunities for children to understand and make the connection between the natural world and the effect of their actions on the environment. The grant includes the building of an outdoor classroom/garden; a hands-on student eco-footprinting program that helps students calculate the carbon footprint of their school; and teacher training workshops, helping teachers develop lessons in sustainability.


Podcasting to the World Revisited                                                   Hommocks

This grant provides an additional 15 iPod Touches to the 13 iPod Touches MSF previously funded for a Podcasting Studio at Hommocks. These additional units allow one iPod per student, greatly improving the effectiveness of lessons through videos and images, audio clips, and real-time data via the internet. The podcasting studio is being used in the 8th grade Earth Sciences curriculum, but has the potential to influence instruction in a variety of curriculum areas.

Technology CAD Software and SMART Board                           Hommocks

This grant will supply the Hommocks Technology Department with one SMART Board plus CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, in an effort to introduce more applicable technology-related skills to the curriculum. Students who become proficient in CAD software develop a greater ability to visualize and reverse engineer technological objects;  better understand how math and science relate to technology; and improve the quality of their projects. Additionally, it is hoped that students will enter high school with a greater interest and proficiency in technology and engineering.

Classroom Amplification                                                                  Central

With this grant, five classrooms at Central School will receive wireless infrared sound field amplification systems. Research shows that when a teacher’s voice is clearly heard above ambient noise, student attentiveness is increased and greater educational benefits result.

Smarter Learning and Technology                                                 Central

This grant funds two of the latest forms of SMART technologies: SMART Response Interactive System and SMART Wireless Slates, available for use in Central classrooms with SMART Boards, as well as the Central computer lab, benefitting all students. The Interactive System allows students to answer questions electronically, giving teachers instant feedback to assess students’ prior knowledge, review material and judge the effectiveness of new curriculum being taught.  The lightweight wireless slates can be passed around so both students and teachers can easily add new material to any SMART Notebook file.

Technology-Enhanced Differentiated Learning                            Central

This grant will fund the purchase of document camera/projector systems for two 4th grade classrooms at Central School. The camera projects student work, texts, maps, even three-dimensional objects onto a screen, which makes the curriculum more accessible for students with different learning levels and styles. Class participation is also increased, facilitating meaningful connections to curriculum.

The Common Thread                                                                       Central

This grant will provide an amplification system, including wall-mounted speakers and two wireless microphones, within the Central School Library, making it easier for the librarian, as well as students and teachers to hear and be heard. Overall, the system will benefit all learners, regardless of hearing ability and susceptibility to external distractions.

SMART Board for Fifth Grade Classrooms                                  Murray Ave.

This grant equips three 5th grade classrooms at Murray Avenue School with SMART Boards, dedicated laptop computers and document cameras. SMART Boards elevate the use of technology to the next level, providing teachers and students with concrete, interactive tools for improved attention, sharpened critical thinking skills and exciting new forms of communication.

Projecting Early Learners to Succeed                                             Murray Ave.

This grant will provide document cameras and projectors for the six 1st grade classrooms at Murray Avenue School, enhancing teaching in all subject areas. The cameras instantly display documents, as well as three-dimensional objects, on the wall or a screen. The teacher can thus share student work; display maps, texts or books; or even project small objects such as insects or coins for the entire class to observe. Ease of use also allows teachers to take advantage of “teachable moments” spontaneously.

Because three of the Murray 5th grade teachers are receiving MSF-funded SMART Boards, their existing document cameras and projectors will be moved to three 1st grade classrooms. This grant will provide three new document cameras and projectors for the additional three classrooms.


Solo Ensemble String Instrumental Lending Library                   District

This grant creates a new music library of sheet music accessible to all string students and teachers to be used for both solo and small ensemble pieces in preparation for NYSSMA auditions. The grant also includes “SMART Music,” a software-based music teaching program with four stations, one at each elementary school, and accessible from home computers.  The same SMART Music program, also provided by MSF, is currently being used successfully at Hommocks.

The MHS Photography Program                                                    MHS

Over 100 MHS students participate in the photography program and more are anxious to join. The “art” of photography is changing with more emphasis on digital applications.  By providing computers, a camera, a photo printer, and a scanner, this grant will dramatically update the curriculum and help meet growing student demand.  This grant also funds 16 additional easels and timers, and a print dryer for the darkroom.

Ceramic Program: Glaze Formation                                               MHS
Glazing is the final step to finishing a ceramic piece – the “glass” that covers the artwork. It is a complex chemical process with seemingly infinite variations of mixing and applying techniques. By supplying two 10-bin glaze-formulating tables and four scales, this grant will enable intermediate and advanced students to learn the complicated process of glazing. This grant will further enhance the use of the 15 pottery wheels funded by MSF in 2002.

McClain Auditorium Enhancements                                              MHS

This grant will provide state-of-the-art acoustical shells for MHS’s McClain Auditorium. The five new rectangular and two tapered sound shells will significantly improve the characteristics of the auditorium as both a rehearsal space and a performance venue by solving the problems of echoes, reverberations and ‘dead spots’ within the auditorium.


Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction Classroom Library                 Hommocks

This grant will create a classroom library of historical fiction and non-fiction books for teaching social studies to all 8th grade teams. The grant will also advance the teaching of balanced literacy across the curriculum, enabling students of varying reading levels to access both history and literature in a more meaningful way.

Seventh Grade Historical Fiction Book Clubs                                Hommocks

This grant will provide high-interest historical fiction books for students across all four teams to read both in literature circles and independently. By incorporating historical fiction into the curriculum, English and social studies teachers can increase the depth and breadth of their collaborative work, with the texts becoming springboards for planning interdisciplinary lessons and class discussions.

Traveling Trunks for 3rd and 4th Grade Social Studies                 Mamaroneck Ave.

This grant is designed to create curriculum-related trunks for the 3rd and 4th grades at Mamaroneck Avenue School. The contents of the trunks will enable teachers to immerse students in artifacts and hands-on activities that encourage students to speculate, think critically, and synthesize information from multiple sources. The trunks will also enhance the BOCES program piloted by our district.

Library Learners at Mamaroneck Avenue                                    Mamaroneck Ave.

This grant will add nine new Dell desktop computers to the library, bringing the total number of computers to 18. These additional computers will give students the choice of working on projects either with a partner or independently. The grant also includes four computer tables, six stools and shelf end panels.

Make It BIG—Bringing the Outside In                                          Mamaroneck Ave.

This grant will greatly expand the social studies and science curriculum of the entire

1st grade team at Mamaroneck Avenue School. Document and Flip video cameras, monitors and other computer equipment will allow students to experience learning, discover the outside world, and express their findings in a variety of ways. This grant will also give parents an eye into their child’s classroom activities through video clips of projects posted on the school Web site.

Class Connect                                                                                    Chatsworth Ave.

This grant will help connect the students in two 1st grade classrooms to their work, their learning, each other and the wider world by providing two document cameras and

large-screen monitors. Being able to project lessons on the monitors enhances learning by facilitating sharing of student work and curriculum-related Web sites.

Supporting School Initiatives through Literature                          Chatsworth Ave.

This grant provides books for the Chatsworth library. The books, recommended by the Chatsworth Values Character Committee and the Literacy Design team, will benefit all grade levels.

Expanding Literacy and Literacy Horizons*                                 Central
This grant will provide “Playaway” audio books to students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades at Central School. The grant will also include print copies of the same titles so students who read below their grade level and/or are English Language Learners will be able to follow along as they listen.


SafeRides GPS Systems                                                                    MHS

SafeRides is a student-run volunteer program that offers free rides home to students every Friday and Saturday night between 10pm and 2am. This grant will provide two GPS systems, which will allow the student drivers to find their destinations quickly, safely and accurately, shortening their driving time and allowing them to serve even more students. More than 200 students and 50 parents in the community volunteer for this worthwhile service.

MHS: After School at the Café *                                                     MHS

Based on several student studies conducted by RADAR, many at-risk teens are largely un- or under-supervised. This grant will fund a diverse series of events and healthy, age-appropriate activities that will appeal to a wide range of students, conducted by the Rye-YMCA with help from MHS social workers.

Yearbook Computers and Chairs                                                   MHS

The Mahiscan, the popular, award-winning high school yearbook, is produced by a volunteer staff of 40 students who work hundreds of hours. The current computer equipment is straining to handle the software and large photo files used in today’s production. This grant will provide six new Dell computers and new chairs for the yearbook office.

Tiger Pride Communications System                                              District

This grant will fund the purchase of a new Tigers scoreboard and sound system for the new all-weather Memorial Field at MHS. This system will replace the current 40-year-old systems. A modern scoreboard and sound system will ensure that this field becomes a reliable venue for all of the field sports teams, cheerleading squads and pep bands, plus the additional recreational and youth programs that use Memorial Field on weekends. The grant will also benefit the greater community of students, teachers, parents and alumni district-wide who attend athletic and community events throughout the year.

*Funded by the Barbara Bennett-Rones Memorial Endowment

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3 comments to Mam’k Schools Foundation Awards 31 Grants, $275K

  • Reasonable Approach

    How does the MSF measure the success of their grants? I can’t find any information of this sort on their website. I am sure some of the money raised has funded some worthwhile projects. But I am curious to learn more about what works and what doesn’t and the process for determining that. Maybe they can publish their feedback and metrics collection process and provide some examples of which innovative programs have succeeded and which have not worked out as well as intended.

  • Melina Vourlekis

    How the MSF measures the success of its grants varies from grant to grant. The surest sign of a golden grant is when other teachers within a school or throughout the district, (after observing the success of an executed grant), submit a similar or identical grant proposal (examples of this would be SMART Boards,document cameras,playaways, climbing walls,traveling trunks,etc..).Another way to track the success of a grant is by measuring the tangible improvement in a program due to new equipment, workshops, staff training or professional development we have provided. The teachers and administrators set out clear-cut goals in their original grant proposals which we then track,(you can look at our grant application form on our web site). We work in a close partnership with the district and the district monitors from their perspective the outcomes of the grants. We have funded numerous seed programs which have led to some being incorporated into the school budget because the pilot was such a success.
    We do not post on our web site how we measure the success of a grant, because there is not one simple rubric to measure success since our grants vary so greatly in content and goals. We do assign grant managers who follow the implementation of the grant in it’s initial year and the grantees provide us with mid-year and final reports. The grant managers report back to the board on the outcome of the grant. In the few instances where there has been trouble executing a grant due to logistics or other issues, we are made aware of that and don’t pursue other grants of that nature. We have an excellent track record. I think our rigorous screening process, the interaction between grant manager and grantee coupled with our close relationship with the district administration, promotes a very high rate of successful grants. Of course the biggest proof in the pudding is all the applications we receive every year. Ultimately that is our most conclusive measure of success.
    Melina Vourlekis
    MSF President

  • Awesome article, it is great to see all this grant money put to good use and given to good people.