Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

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Schools Foundation Gives $275K: SmartBoards to Smart Music

Thirty-Four Projects Will Impact All Six District Schools

On March 2, in the midst of a recession, the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation (MSF) announced its own economic stimulus: grant awards for 2009-2010 totaling $275,000 in support of 34 separate projects. (For details on each grant, see 2009-2010 Awards.)

From Gazette Archives: Mamaroneck Schools Foundation Awards

2003-2004: 16 programs $101K
2004-2005: 30 programs $217K
2005-2006: 35 programs $328K (includes $100k anonymous donation)
2006-2007: 29 programs: $288K
2007-2008: 31 programs $277K
2008-2009: 31 programs $270K

MSF is a non-profit volunteer group which raises funds to support innovative programs in the Mamaroneck School District. Despite the economic downturn, the foundation has been able to award funding this year at a level comparable to that of previous years. It will be supporting new programs that reach all six schools in the district and cover every curriculum area: science and mathematics; technology; literacy and enrichment; special education; the arts; and athletics.

MSF Grants Will Benefit Each School

Next year, at the high school, science labs will each get SmartBoards, a marriage of whiteboard and computer. The forensic science class will receive two life-size mannequins to enhance accuracy of crime scene analysis. A newly-created library of professional journals and books will help

MHS art teacherJon Murray got a grant for computers, cameras and software to help art students meet new application submission requirements of the College Board.

MHS art teacherJon Murray got a grant for computers, cameras and software to help art students meet new application submission requirements of the College Board.

keep teachers current in the ever-changing field of special education. Nine new sewing machines will serve students in fashion design classes and theater productions. Updated and expanded equipment will enable video students to create longer and more professional presentations.

Hommocks will be making “a bold green statement” with the installation of solar panels on the roof of the gymnasium, which will provide both “clean power” and opportunities for hands-on study of electricity and alternative energy sources. “Text Sets” will help students delve more deeply into topics via a variety of literary sources that include poems, newspaper articles, letters and artwork. And a new monitor and classroom computer will extend to group settings the use of Smart Music, a software program pioneered by the district last year that allows students to practice at home and receive feedback on their sound files. In the elementary schools, Central, Murray and Mamaroneck Avenue will each receive several laptops. Chatsworth students will get help to establish a school-wide, student-run website. Central School will develop a core library of bilingual books. At Mamaroneck Avenue School, kindergartners will be able to use digital equipment in their special toolkits to become “young investigators,” engaged in hands-on activities. Every 4th grade class at Murray Avenue will get its own comprehensive library of non-fiction books, the most popular genre, tied to their social studies and science curriculum.

Last Year’s Grants Are Impacting Students

At its March 2 awards ceremony in the high school library, the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation also honored district teachers, administrators and community leaders. In addition, Melina Vourlekis, MSF 1st vice-president, introduced three of last year’s grantees, who described some of the educational impacts of the their programs. Nora Mazzone, assistant principal at the Hommocks, said the “Hommocks Lunchtime Program” offered a productive alternative for students who need a more structured, small environment during lunch. “By contacting local businesses, we found several who agreed to donate their time, money and expertise to provide students with activities that could become life-long hobbies,” she explained. Village Animal Hospital taught 6th grade students about pet care and grooming; the Music Academy offered 7th and 8th graders percussion experiences; and Stitch by Stitch introduced students to sewing and needlepoint. As described by parent volunteer Connie Reddicliffe, “A Well-Rounded Globe” program provided students on the high school newspaper an opportunity to visit The New York Times, where various journalists offered valuable tips, both to develop the students’ journalistic skills and to improve the school’s

Murray teachers Joan Staudinger and Maureen Montone got support for a grant to expand the schools collection of nonfiction and historical fiction, the most popular genres.

Murray teachers Joan Staudinger and Maureen Montone got support for a grant to expand the school's collection of nonfiction and historical fiction, the most popular genres.

PACE music teacher Bill Derby mentioned the many ways that the new PACE computer music studio has revolutionized music education at the high school. His grant allowed purchase of seven music stations, comprising an iMAC computer, Yamaha synthesizer, headphones, and software programs that “empower students of all levels and backgrounds to arrange, compose, notate and record music, using state-of-the-art equipment,” he said.
Raising Money to Give It Away
Next year’s grants will continue the foundation’s impact on students throughout the district. As explained by Catherine Sach and Marlene Gold, co-chairs of the Grants Selection Committee, there was a record number of applications this year (over 50). Despite the economic challenge, “We are particularly proud to be awarding virtually the same number of grants that we did last year,” said Ms. Gold. “At the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation we think we’re pretty lucky because we raise money just so that we can give it away,” said Lauren Wertheim, MSF VP for grants. She ended the awards ceremony with a thank you to the district for the hard work of developing new programs and grant applications. “We couldn’t give [the money] away without the outstanding ideas that our district’s faculty, staff and administrators bring to us each year,” she concluded.



SmartBoards for the Science Classrooms – High School To greatly enhance the teaching of science in the High School, this grant will provide seven SmartBoards, which will be used across the science curriculum, in biology, chemistry, physics and original science research. With SmartBoards, teachers can illustrate complicated processes; manipulate detailed, complex diagrams; make graphs and charts interactive; perform virtual laboratory activities and demonstrations; and present fun and challenging interactive games. For both teachers and students, Smart Board technology has consistently raised instructional successes in the science classroom.

Solar Power Education and Demonstration Model – Hommocks This grant will fund the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Hommocks gymnasium, and provide complementary curriculum materials to sixth-grade science classes. The materials will enhance the current study of electricity and alternative energy through hands-on lessons, such as building solar-powered robots and model cars using photovoltaic cells. While the panels will not take the school completely “off the grid,” they will provide a working model of solar power’s potential, demonstrating to both students and the community that solar power is a viable local energy source, while reducing the building’s energy costs.

The Sum of Our Knowledge High School Funding the purchase of a computer and scanner, this grant will create a center for teacher collaboration in the MHS Math Department. Teachers will be able to create and draw from a central database of math lessons, Smart Board lessons and other curriculum materials. This database will then be easily accessible to all math teachers. Crime Scene Analysis – High School This grant will provide two life-like, life-size mannequins – one male and one female – to be used for crime scene analysis, which is at the heart of the High School Forensic Science class. Forensics is a very popular and successful science elective offered to a diverse group of seniors, as well as some juniors. Until now, the teachers had to rely on stuffed dolls or toys. These mannequins offer more realistic representations of crime victims and allow for more accurate analysis of the crime scene.


Computers on Wheels (COWS)- Mamaroneck Avenue

This grant funds a computer cart with ten wireless laptop computers, which will be shared among the fifth grade classes at Mamaroneck Avenue School. Increasingly, information is transmitted digitally, and there is often the need for more than the four computers currently in each fifth-grade classroom. With limited computer lab time, it has been difficult for students to do Internet-based research as part of their curriculum. When Internet-accessible computers are integrated with the curriculum, students take more control over their own learning, learn to think critically and analytically, and to work collaboratively.

Kids-Eye View – Chatsworth Avenue

This grant will establish a school-wide, student-run website for Chatsworth. Students will gain the knowledge and technology they need to develop web-based content. The grant includes computer hardware and software, Flip mini digital video cameras, audio recorders, as well as large video monitors for the school’s two lunchrooms to give students a “kid’s eye view” of the webcasts the students create.

Let’s Get Digital – Central

This grant creates a mobile lab with 18 wireless laptop computers housed in a mobile cart. The computer lab will be primarily used for library media instruction, enabling a class of students to work independently – and simultaneously – on research projects and assignments. When the lab is not in use, it can be lent to individual classrooms where teachers can use the laptops either for whole-class instruction or individual student work.

Room to Research – Murray Avenue

As third- through fifth-graders take on more computer and Internet-based research projects in the library, the need for additional computers has become much greater. Current access to the computers in the library and computer lab is very limited, however. This grant will provide five new laptops for the Murray Avenue library to allow students more opportunity for inquiry-based research.

Classroom Amplification Systems – Central

This grant provides for the installation of wireless infrared sound field amplification systems in three classrooms at Central School. The systems are designed to enhance the audio quality in the classroom and improve the learning environment. When a teacher’s voice is clearly heard above ambient noise inside or outside the classroom, student attentiveness is increased and greater educational benefits result. Similar systems are currently in use in other district schools, and studies confirm their potential to improve academic performance for all students.

Document Cameras for Differentiated Learning- Central

This grant will fund the purchase of three document camera/projector systems for second and third grade classrooms. Using the camera to project student work or illustrate model examples from texts onto a screen not only makes the curriculum more accessible for students with differing learning levels and styles, it also increases the opportunity for responsive, meaningful “in the moment” learning experiences.

Smart Board for APPLE – High School

Partially funded through the Barbara Bennett-Rones Endowment, this grant will provide a Smart Board for the APPLE Program at MHS. Connected to a teacher’s computer, SmartBoards project student work or assignments, even text pages, for the whole class to view for discussion, sharing or instruction. This enhances the learning experience for all students. SmartBoards also allow teachers to save all work onto the computer, where it can be quickly and easily retrieved for review or for future reference. The Smart Board will be used across a variety of curriculum areas within the APPLE program, which reaches students not well-served by the traditional curriculum.

Tools for Schools: Creating a Coach Toolkit – All Schools

This grant will fund a ‘toolkit’ that includes a digital camera, Flip video camera, digital audio recorder and mini-projector for several of the district’s coaches for literacy, math, technology and teacher training. Coaches will use the equipment to document classroom activities, teacher practices, and student work to aid in teachers’ professional development. This documentation also makes it easier for coaches to share strategies and tools online with a greater number of teachers, as well as the community at large.


Updating School Libraries’ Social Studies Collections – All Schools

Funded through “paddle raise” donations at the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation’s 2008 Spring Gala, this grant will purchase updated social studies books for each of the district’s six school libraries. The materials will support both students’ and teachers’ research needs and their non-fiction inquiry by making the most current texts available, especially relating to countries and topical subjects where events are constantly changing.

Academic Team Booster Fund – High School

This grant will support the growth of the Academic Team, a fledgling club at MHS that enters academic and quiz bowl competitions in neighboring districts, as well as throughout the tri-state area. To ensure that the team is well-prepared for its competitions, this grant provides Zeecraft Quiz Bowl equipment.

American Folk Traditions and Cultural Identity – Murray Avenue

This project aims to explore, through the richness of our folk traditions, who we are as Americans. This multidisciplinary program will address this topic through classroom curriculum projects; library, art and music classes; and through performing arts programs. The units of study will focus on Labor and Recreation; Presidents, Poets and Prophets; and Sacrifice and Celebration. Related performing arts programs will focus on pre-WWII blues masters; the music of the marching band; folk and popular dance; and Woody Guthrie. In addition, this grant includes the purchase of books and music that will be used to continue curriculum enhancements beyond this project.

Enhancing World Language Study – Hommocks

This grant provides a Smart Board for Hommocks Spanish classes. SmartBoards present teachers with many exciting options to enhance their lessons.

Using Text Sets – Hommocks

This grant funds a literacy program that merges print texts with non-print sources such as audio recordings, musical compositions, podcasts, and other audio-visual materials, to support curricular units of study. The goal is to allow students to delve more deeply into a topic by examining it through a variety of literary sources – poems, newspaper articles, letters and journals, pictures, artwork and maps.

A More Professional Student Newspaper – High School

New publishing software, Adobe InDesign CS4, will be purchased for the staff of The Globe, the MHS student newspaper. The software represents the industry standard for professional as well as college newspapers, and it will enable the The Globe’s staff to produce a higher quality, more professional newspaper.

Media Empowering Differentiation – Chatsworth Avenue

This grant will expand the Chatsworth library’s collection of media to meet students’ differing developmental levels and learning styles. The grant will fund books on CDs, Playaways (audio books) with corresponding print books, and a CD player.

Read to Me, Por Favor! – Central

Funded through the Barbara Bennett-Rones Endowment, this grant provides a core library of bilingual (English/Spanish) and Spanish language picture books for Central School students to borrow. The books will provide Spanish-speaking family members with an opportunity to take a more active role in helping their children become fluent readers and book lovers.

Comprehension Toolkits – All Elementary Schools

This grant will fund two “Comprehension Toolkits” per elementary school in the district. These unique resources contain a series of teacher’s guides developed by Stephanie Harvey, the school district’s reading consultant, and provide strategy lessons for exploring non-fiction reading. These materials follow up on staff development training conducted by Ms. Harvey with elementary school teachers this year.

Nonfiction & Historical Fiction Books for 4th Graders – Murray Avenue

Research shows that nonfiction, the most widely-read genre of elementary school students, is also a genre frequently missing in many classrooms. To ensure that students have easy and frequent access to good nonfiction reading, this grant will provide a standardized library of nonfiction books across the 4th grade classrooms at Murray Avenue, so that all teachers and students have the same materials and resources available. The books to be purchased will be based on the bibliography compiled by the Literacy Design Team for the study of New York State, Geology, and the American Revolution.

Young Investigators Toolkits- Mamaroneck Avenue

This grant will provide seven ”toolkits,” one for each kindergarten class at Mamaroneck Avenue School, to support the science and social studies units. Each kit will contain a Flip video camera, 3 digital cameras and cases, a microscope, and field glasses. In addition, the grant includes professional books and a binding machine for creating student journals. The tool kits are designed to transform students from passive receivers of information to active, inquiry-based learners and investigators engaged in meaningful hands-on activities.


Assistive Technology (AT) Jump Start – Special Education/All School

This grant will fund Assistive Technology devices for the creation of an AT Assessment/Training Center to support the work of the district’s recently hired AT specialist. This equipment will be used for student evaluations at all schools, as well as for staff/parent training. By providing this AT service in-district, there will be significant savings in costs that are currently incurred by going to outside specialists.

Educational Evaluation – Jump Start – All Elementary Schools

To assist teachers in assessing student achievement when a child is being evaluated for special education services, this grant will fund the purchase of research-based educational tools (tests). Using the data from these tests, special ed teachers will be able to accurately diagnose a student’s areas of disability to help ensure that the child receives the proper evaluation.

Taking Advantage of Teachable Moments – High School

This grant will fund the purchase of two document cameras and two projectors for the Special Ed department at MHS. This equipment will be used by all 15 Special Ed teachers, who work with approximately 200 students daily. Since document cameras require no pre-use planning, they are invaluable tools for instantly capturing spontaneous “teachable moments” and they also offer valuable ways to reach visual learners. Document cameras can be used for everything from highlighting relevant passages in a text or showing students how to annotate history notes, to showcasing cell slides in science or breaking down a math problem with step-by-step analysis.

Special Education Professional Library – High School

To promote continued professional growth in the ever-changing field of Special Education, this grant will be used for the purchase of a library of professional journals and books for teacher reference at the high school. According to the grant applicant, Cathy Bean, chair of the MHS Special Ed. Department, “this will better enable us to maintain our goal to provide the most current research-based instruction,” and learn about new tools, strategies and information.


MHS Video Production Editing Lab – High School

This grant delivers 12 iMAC computers and 10 MiniDV editing decks to the MHS Video Department. Presently, of the department’s seven computers, only three are current models, and students have to share computers, limiting the time they have to learn editing and work on their projects. This grant will expand and update the department’s equipment, teach students to use Final Cut Pro editing software, and allow them to create longer, more professional projects.

Digital Art Portfolios – High School

This year, the College Board has announced the implementation of a digital, web-based submission process for the three AP Studio Art classes. In addition, colleges are also beginning to require digital portfolios. This grant provides for 3 iMac computers, 2 MacBook laptops, 5 22-inch monitors, a digital SLR camera, and Adobe Design software to help our art department meet the new technological requirements and enhance all students’ arts curriculum.

Electronic Music Station – Hommocks

SmartMusic is a new music software program that the district pioneered this year. It is a highly interactive program that gives students the opportunity to not only practice lessons at home, but also to receive feedback on their sound files. Hommocks music teachers will use this grant to extend SmartMusic to group and classroom situations. The grant includes a large monitor for viewing purposes and a dedicated classroom computer.

Sewing Studio Project- High School

Since the current machines in the High School sewing studio were purchased in the early 1970s, and are now well past their prime, this grant will fund the purchase of nine new Janome School Mate Sewing Machines. The new machines will serve students in fashion design classes, adults in continuing education, as well as theater students needing to construct costumes and props. The same type of sewing machine is used at Hommocks, providing continuity between the schools.


Hommocks Fitness Center – Hommocks

Hommocks’ focus on fitness will be more fully realized through this grant, which will purchase a Hoist Youth Fitness Circuit. The equipment includes seven weight-resistance units and two body-resistance units, designed to provide workouts that are physically beneficial, age-appropriate and fun for all students. The fitness center will help relieve overcrowding in the current phys. ed. classes, and help the school meet New York State Teaching Standards for physical education.


MHS Bike Racks – High School

This grant will enable the MHS Student Council to purchase five new bike racks. Currently, there is only a single rack available for the 1,400 high school students. The additional racks will provide encouragement for biking versus driving as students’ choice of transportation. Besides helping the environment, more bikers will reduce parking pressure at school, and improve student health. In addition, a bulletin board will be provided to the Student Council for advertising school events and club meetings.

Financial Aid Office Equipment- High School

For many high school students applying to college, the Financial Aid Office becomes an almost daily destination. To help make the office more efficient and student-friendly, this grant will fund a new desk, which can house a copier, as well as a computer allocated from the College Information Center. This grant also includes the purchase of Financial Aid reference books and materials, in both English and Spanish.

Syl Morrone volunteers with the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation, a non-profit volunteer community organization that provides public schools in the Larchmont/Mamaroneck district with supplemental funds for innovative programs, materials, equipment, and enhanced facilities not provided for in the regular school budget. For more information, call 914-698-9079 or visit

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