In March 2012, the Foundation approved a grant request from New Hampshire Estates to purchase additional classroom sets of a document camera (known as an ELMO) and LCD projector to help them implement Curriculum 2.0 and meet the needs of their ESOL learners. With a staff of 30 classroom teachers sharing 9 sets, the teachers (and their students) have not had sufficient access to this important classroom technology. The school requested two sets, and the Foundation agreed to provide funds to purchase three sets. This school faces significant budget cuts as Title I funds are no longer available; the Foundation approved this grant unanimously.
In November 2011, the Somerset Elementary School Foundation approved a grant request from Principal Morris to purchase 30 laptop computers for the students of Somerset. Beginning early in the new year three mobile carts with 10 laptops each will be shared throughout the school to enable students to do project research at their own desks, draft and write papers and stories independently while developing computer skills, and take better advantage of a whole range of emerging digital learning opportunities in math, science, reading, and more.
Mrs. Morris and Dr. Woodward expressed great enthusiasm for the significant curriculum support this technology will provide. Board members were persuaded to approve one of the largest Foundation grants in recent years. As parents, we are excited to see the impact that these mobile computer labs will have on the classroom experience of all students.
The Leveled Literacy Intervention Program is a reading comprehension program designed for students teetering between basic and proficient levels, including English-language learners and special needs students. The grant proposal came from Principal Kelly Morris and Assistant Principal Barbara Woodward. The focus of the program is small-group, targeted instruction with vocabulary word work and “take-home” books. The program also offers computer and online resources that the students can access both at home and at school. The Principal expects this program to provide a very helpful resource for teachers as they support struggling readers in all grade levels.
In the spring of 2011, Lisa Katchman, Kindergarten Teacher and Reading Committee member, requested $1,355 to purchase copies of two curriculum books for each teacher at Somerset. The Reading Committee plans to conduct staff development trainings for the whole staff using the frameworks provided by these books. The goal is to improve instruction in vocabulary across all content areas (math, science, social studies, literature), with the ultimate goal of improving reading comprehension.