The grant program is designed for and available to teachers and administrators in the Somers elementary, middle and high schools. Each grant application is coordinated by the school administration and is forwarded to the Foundation. A Grant Review Committee thoroughly examines each application and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for a final decision.
For additional information about Grants,
please visit our History Page and also our About Us Page
• Rewarding Good Choice with the Gift of Literature (SES)
This program adds to an already flourishing PBIS system in which students earn tickets as reinforcement for their positive behavior. The tickets can be traded in for prizes, such as pencils, bouncy balls, mini erasers, etc. This grant allows students to use their tickets to purchase books. It builds on a program funded last year by SEF that makes an outdoor mini-library available to students who are not participating in active recess play. These books are constantly read and returned. This latest grant purchases a book vending machine where students cash in their tickets to purchase books. The model has been very successful in other districts. The grant also underwrites the purchase of a starting collection of books, but plans are already in place to supply replacements for the books as they are purchased, so the program would be ongoing and self-supporting.
• Flexible Seating and Blue Filters for Art (SES)
This grant allows students to find seating that best fits their learning style. The blue filters have been shown to reduce eyestrain and headaches while increasing working memory and attentiveness. Filters are a fabric construction that is attached to existing lighting and does not damage the lights.
Continued in next column.
• Technology for Teacher Reflection (MBA, SHS)
This technology uses the SWIVL, a simple robot, and an IPad to provide teachers with a visual and audio reproduction of their classroom teaching. This allows teachers to have an accurate and unbiased record of their teaching practices. The real work begins after the video recording is completed. The teacher, on his or her own, can examine the recording, note problems, and consider improvements. Teachers could also meet with colleagues to view footage and discuss teaching techniques. The technology gives the teacher an unthreatening way to observe and reflect on his or her teaching practice. It is a valuable, new tool for teacher improvement.
• Mimeo Boards for World Language (MBA)
This technology makes learning more efficient for both teacher and student. The systems attach to whiteboard and drastically increase their usefulness and flexibility.
NOTE: These four grants amounted to $20,946. The remainder for the SHS Weight Room Upgrade granted in the Spring of 2022 ($15,000) was paid during the 2022-2023 Fall Semester. $2,010 was also granted for Professional Development, bringing the total expended this semester to $37,956.
2022 SEF Grant: Library Book Houses on SES Playground - Michael Clarity (SES Teacher)
(See additional grants awarded in 2021-2022 year below)
Michael Clarity, SES Teacher
Student checks out what's inside during recess
• Weight Room Upgrade Grant (SHS)
This grant would result in the total makeover of and replacement of the equipment in the high school weight room, which at present is inadequate, outdated, and in disrepair. The new facility will be able to accommodate PE classes for units in weight training, thus giving all students experience and knowledge in training safely with weights. It would also be available after school for teams and individual students under supervision. The total grant is for $30,000, half to be funded in SEF’s 21-22 budget and the other half in the 22-23 budget.
• Kindergarten Picnic Tables (SES)
Placed out outside and accessible to all pre-k, kindergarten, and 1st grade classes, the tables would be available for many uses: for students working on curricular projects; for specialists working with small groups of students; for reading aloud to an entire class; as a social space during lunch or recess; as a space for students unable to actively participate in recess to read using the Little Free Library. The tables would be an alternative space for students working in groups and when the class was divided for different tasks, thus providing teachers with greater flexibility in meeting individual needs. (Antonacci Family Fund and Mazzoli Family Fund)
• SBAC Incentive Program (MBA)
This grant focuses on the motivation for learning and specifically for optimal performance on the SBAC, the comprehensive state test taken by all students. It is based on the growth goals formulated individually for all students. Those students who reach their goals will be invited to the SBAC honor breakfast and will receive raffle tickets for various prizes. Most importantly this program focuses not on those with the highest scores, but on those who reach their individual goals. (Salva Family Fund)
• Specialist Smartboard Projector (SES)
The smartboard can serve to reinforce and supplement learning in music class in many ways. It can be used to watch performances and provide instruction for student individual responses. Music teachers can use software notation to compose with the class and display and use interactive music websites and games. Students can practice music theory, ear-training, and music literacy in a new and engaging way. It does not replace instruction; it augments it in ways that provide immediacy and focus attention. The smartboard is mobile and will be available to all specialists (PE, art, etc.) at Somers Elementary School, who will use it in many ways appropriate to their curriculum areas.
(Continued in next column)
• Book Collection for Little Free Library
This grant supports a previous grant, which set up the Little Free Library, which has been a huge success for students unable to participate actively in recess. The titles purchased in this collection were selected by students. They include selections with jokes, poems, and interesting facts that can be in read brief intervals of time and be repeatedly enjoyed during recess. (Bill and Anne Kirkpatrick Fund)
• Digital Piano (MBA, SHS)
Digital pianos have replaced upright pianos with soundboards because they add many functions now integrated into teaching choral music. This digital piano will replace one that is damaged in several ways and for which parts are not available. It will also provide a second digital piano so that there is one in each school, rather than one moving back and forth between schools. This will add significantly to the life of both pianos. (Dan and Jane Roulier Fund)
• Peaceful Playgrounds (SES)
This grant provides a complete recess program for an elementary school, including equipment, game and activity guides, and materials to create interactive game surfaces on the blacktop. The play and activities are structured to promote positive play interactions, cooperation, and sportsmanship skills. Teachers are provided with guides that will help them facilitate the games. The materials can also be used for PE classes. (Helen and S. Prestley Blake Fund)