SCSD Educational Foundation announces recipients of the fall 2019 grant awards
Posted on 11/22/2019
SCSD Educational Foundation Awards 27 grantsThe Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation's Board of Directors announced the recipients of the Fall 2019 grant awards.  Twenty-seven applications, representing eleven schools and totaling more than $25,000, were selected.   

The largest grant was given to Zack Butts and a team of teachers at Steinmetz Career and Leadership Academy.  They have designed an inter-disciplinary project revolving around the creation of a greenhouse.  It is a collaborative effort of science, construction, earth science and culinary arts teachers and students.  It helps students bring their talents to many aspects of the Steinmetz program.  

Another large grant was awarded to Rebecca Benjamin and her colleagues at Pleasant Valley.  The fourth graders will be presented with a theme and each students will create a book based on that theme.  The books will be published and distributed to the students and their families.

Recognizing that literacy is the key to all learning, the foundation awarded a number of grants that support literacy projects.

Ashleigh Caster, a teacher at Hamilton, will create listening centers with audio books for her second graders to use to improve their listening and reading skills.

Elizabeth Mark's students at Mont Pleasant will read The Last of the Mohicans and visit Fort William Henry.

Daniel O'Brien, a teacher at Oneida, will buy a C-Pen reader to help his students improve their reading skills by engaging more with the reading that they do.

Patricia Wood, a teacher at Hamilton, will purchase books and bags which will allow students to take books home to share with their families.

STEM was a major focus of the teacher applicants who received awards.

James Hutson, a teacher at Oneida, will buy videos in The Unlectured Series for his Living Environment students.  Jolina Kerr, also a teacher at Oneida, will subscribe to Generation Genius, a science series for her seventh grade science students.

Kim Lencewicz, a teacher at Mont Pleasant, will take her special education students to the Rubenstein Museum in Syracuse.

Helen Lucas, a teacher at SCLA, will take her biology and earth science students on a field trip to the Adirondacks.

Kristin Marotta, a teacher at Lincoln, will buy a green screen setup so her science students can create visual reports on their science projects.

Jennifer Riley, a teacher at Van Corlaer, will create a lunch club for STEM activities.

Jackie Rowen, a teacher at Oneida, is buying Cublets Creative Construction Plus for her seventh grade technology students for their construction and robotics projects.

Also a teacher at Oneida, Mike Sheridan will buy drones for use in technology classes and social studies classes. 

Margaret Tufo, a teacher a SCLA, will take her students on the Lake George Gloating Classroom.  

Students studying geography and archeology, under the guidance of Central Park Teacher Leanne Vacca, will research ancient civilizations and create artifacts to be displayed in a museum exhibit.

The arts have always been a focus of the SCSDEF.  Josh Casano will buy audio interface bundles which will allow his students to sue their computers to create music productions.

Tracey Gelston will buy new bows for her violin students.

Students at Lincoln will use color coded xylophones under the guidance of teacher Mary Hall.

Mike Lawrence, a teacher at Oneida, is creating a guitar club with his grant funds.

Heather O'Leary, a teacher at Hamilton, along with Alex Torres, is buying drums for a Latin Rhythm Band for students.

Michele Stewart-Mannino, a teacher and advisor to the drama club at Mont Pleasant, is buying dance mirror for students to use to improve their dancing skills.

Learning how to deal with the world can be a difficult challenge.  

Christine Bernard, a teacher at SCLA, who works with autistic students, will provide opportunities for them to develop cooking and commercial skills.  They will make muffins and sell them on day each week to school staff.

Mary LaFountain and Martha Klein have created a Place of Peace Project so students can better learn how to manage their emotions and work with others.  This is the third year that they have received grants for this project.

Alexis Rytel, a teacher at Washington Irving, will use her grant funding to provide flexible furniture, sensory items and hands-on learning materials to help her students become better learners.

Healthy minds go hand in hand with healthy bodies.

Sixteen girls at Mont Pleasant will participate in Girls on the Run Program which will help them learn  more about themselves, cultivate empathy and develop positive self-images.

Students need to lead healthy lives.  Recognizing that not all students can participate on traditional sports teams, Susan Turner, a Paige teacher, will use her grant to buy other kinds of equipment for her physical education students.

Congratulations to the recipients and to all of the teachers who took the time to apply for grants.  

The foundation encourages staff members to submit proposals for the next round of grants in the Spring of 2020.   

Visit the foundation's website at for more information.  Like them on Facebook too.

If anyone wishes to support learning activities such as the ones described above, you may do so by attending the Education Celebration on January 16 at Proctors or by making a contribution to the Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation, Box 3956, Schenectady, NY  12303.
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