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The Maranacook Education Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded over $13,000 in grants to 16 district staff and local organizations. We award these grants each Fall after a careful review of applications submitted by dedicated professionals who work daily with our students to provide outstanding learning opportunities and experiences.  Each of these creative projects will work to enhance current curriculum offerings. The Foundation looks forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will have on student learning.  The following abstracts describe the proposal and indicates the individual responsible for the grant submission.

High Interest Decodable Texts for Students Learning to Read - All students deserve interesting books that are accessible for them to read. Research shows the importance of students learning to read using texts that feature words they are able to decode. Having books that students can successfully read will increase their confidence and help them make progress toward their reading goals. This project will be used to purchase decodable texts featuring a variety of topics and characters to grab the interest of students. Submitted by Mary Conlon, Readfield Elementary School.

Math Meets Creativity - Math Intervention students at Manchester Elementary will create projects using the 3D printer with guidance from the math specialist. These projects will combine math and art. The goal is to show students that math can be creative and fun. In addition, they can make their own math manipulatives, such as dice, to use during their intervention services. If funding allows, they could also take some of these supplies home to continue the learning process there. Submitted by Wendy Bingaman, Manchester Elementary School.

Learning Center Library - In the Learning Center, we work with students on reading, writing, math, social skills, tutorial, and executive functioning skills. We are looking to get help purchasing books that are geared toward our students' interests. Many of our students have lower reading levels and it is challenging to find books that interest them that they are able to read.  High-interest/low-reading-level books can motivate struggling readers by providing books on topics that their peers are reading, but targeted toward their reading level. High/low books can help build reading fluency, vocabulary, background knowledge, and interest in reading. Submitted by Carey Bor, Maranacook Community Middle School.

Let's Go Gaga over GAGA BALL and FRAZZLEERHAM! - This is an opportunity to provide students with another opportunity to engage in healthy behavior. My goal in getting a Gaga Pit and Frazzleerham is to provide students with another activity that they can play and feel confident participating in. I want to engage the whole district in using the Gaga Pit/Frazzleerham, including teachers. I see these enhancing activities such as field day at the elementary schools, 8th-grade celebration parties, advisor system workshop days for teachers, activity time at the Middle School, etc. It promotes healthy activities for everyone.  Submitted by Karen Magnusson, Maranacook Community Middle School.

Take-Home Picture Book Book Program  - The Take-Home Book Picture Book Program I would like to start with my Kindergarten class will send books so families can keep and read picture books at home. I would like to send home new books two times a month for children to read with their parents. This grant would help provide families with access to fun, engaging, and age-appropriate books to read at home. Submitted by Colleen Walsh, Mt. Vernon Elementary School.

Tea Parties and Social Skills - Monthly tea parties, during activity periods, will allow students with IEPs the opportunity to practice social skills with a peer of their choice. The school Principal and Dean are also invited, which allows them to build relationships with students. Submitted by Rachael Holland-Mathieu, Maranacook Community Middle School

Dreambox for Math Learning - The improvement in mathematics scores is a priority for our district.  In order for mathematics students to grow as much as they can, they need opportunities outside of mathematics class time to work on their skills.  Dreambox is a program that our students used during the last two years but is not being funded this year.  Students were able to engage in the mathematics this program offers, independently.  Teachers could assign activities that matched the curriculum and individual student needs.  Students found the work engaging and challenging. Teachers saw growth in student understanding and improved scores on common assessments. Submitted By Aimee Reiter, Maranacook Community Middle School.

High School Maker Space - "A makerspace is a destination where students sometimes alongside staff, parents, and mentors can create, problem solve, and develop skills, talents, thinking, and mental rigor." 

Leslie Preddy, School Library Makerspaces: Grades 6–12 (2013)

Libraries are not only a place for resources and books but also community hubs and spaces that foster creativity. Maker space stations provide positive alternatives to screens, foster community, and enhance learning. Activities include engineering activities and puzzles geared toward problem-solving, crafts, creative writing, and art. Submitted by Liz Guillemette, Maranacook Community High School.

Making Reading Accessible - For many students it’s too challenging to decode words on a physical page whether because of dyslexia or ADHD or simply reading is not their thing. However, with audiobooks, students become interested in reading and research shows that access to audiobooks, especially combined with hard copies, can greatly increase students' reading fluency and comprehension. When students have audiobooks they are excited to read and will read and learn more. Research shows that the brain lights up the same with physical books and audiobooks -- and the benefits from increased learning to happiness to a greater capacity for empathy are the same. Submitted by Katy Jones, Maranacook Community High School.

Stem Kits for Our Libraries - During library class, we have a variety of activities to support the students' literacy growth. We read aloud to students from our new Maranacook Black Bear Award book nominees, teach library-related lessons and students check out books. Students are also able to use creation stations, construction/STEM, and curriculum-related centers, collaborate with friends on games or puzzles, use laptops/iPads to access the library website and online reading sites or read books in our reading areas. Since centers are relatively new to the library, we are trying to build up our resources to enhance learning opportunities for students. Last year, we were able to purchase some stem kits for our students to use with grant money from MEF. Students were so excited to use them so we are looking for more kits to add to our resources. This way, more students can use them at a time and we can rotate them through the libraries more often. This has become a favorite part of the library for students. Submitted by Heather Chalmers, Elementary Schools Librarian. 

MCHS Narrative Writing Project - This Storytelling Grant will provide funds for the English department to purchase on-site workshop opportunities for third-year English classes. Facilitators from The Telling Room, in Portland, will come to MCHS to host a series of on-site Personal Narrative Writer Workshops. This enrichment opportunity will enhance the English curriculum by exposing students to creative storytelling and personal narrative essays. Writing is an exciting medium and The Telling Room ambassadors are highly respected writers who meet the students at their comfort level, integrate additional art media, and model for them the art of crafting autobiographical texts. Submitted by Juliet Tinckham, Maranacook Community High School.

Programmable Bee Bot System - Bee Bot is a programmable bee-shaped robot that is designed to be used by kids.  It is a tool to teach students the fundamentals of computational thinking.  It can remember up to 40 commands consisting of forward, backward left, and right movements to maneuver around the floor.  This is a great tool for teaching sequencing, estimation, problem-solving, multitasking, and helping students learn in the classroom across the curriculum. Submitted by Jennifer Seymore, Wayne Elementary School.

Guten Appetit! = Enjoy your meal! - Each week in German class we celebrate student's birthdays.  We sing "Happy Birthday" in German and students order a small treat from the menu. They choose from a Werther's caramel, a pretzel rod, or a peppermint.  Soon the traditional German drink, Apfelschorle will be added to the mix.  Students will play the role of waiter/waitress and take their classmate's order in German. The costs are starting to add up. Each week's party costs $25.  With 30 weeks of school remaining, I would deeply appreciate a MEF grant to go toward our German birthday celebrations. Submitted by Margot Gyorgy, Maranacook Community Middle School.

Mount Vernon Elementary Little Free Game Library - How do families support their children’s growth in math at home?  As mathematician Dan Finkel says, “To help kids love math, we play math with our kids!” Mount Vernon has a rich tradition of sharing resources in order to better our community. The Mount Vernon Elementary Little Free Game Library will build upon that tradition by offering games to families to play at home and return when they are done.  From classics like Yahtzee to newer games like Countalope, our games will help foster a love of math and provide a fun way for families to spend more time together.  Submitted by Deb Hatt, Mt. Vernon Elementary School.   

Kiln Upgrade for Manchester Elementary School - My grant request is to replace the control panel on the old kiln at Manchester Elementary School with an upgraded and safer digital control panel to make it possible for the students to experience working with kiln-fired clay and fused glass in the art curriculum. Submitted by Laura Damon-Theriault, Manchester Elementary School.

Watershed Science Program for Maranacook School Students - The Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed's education programs are an integral part of our mission: "protecting the lakes, ponds, and streams of the Cobbossee Watershed through community engagement, conservation, and education".  The cornerstone of our education programs, the Watershed Science Program (WSP), features highly adaptable and engaging lessons that interweave science, social studies, language arts, and math, using the local watershed as an integrating context. This program is provided free of charge to schools within the Cobbossee Watershed, including Manchester, Readfield, and Mount Vernon Elementary Schools, as well as Maranacook Middle School.  Submitted by Cami Wilbert, Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed