Education Foundation awards grants to Dartmouth teachers

Sep 4, 2019

Flexible seating, a sensory path, robotics equipment, and a hydroponic system were among the classroom items funded with grants awarded by the Dartmouth Education Foundation at a ceremony in the high school media center on September 4.

This year the Foundation gave out nearly $15,000 to fourteen grant recipients, all Dartmouth public school teachers, who spoke about the soon-to-be purchased items and programs to enrich their classrooms.

Teachers from Dartmouth’s elementary, middle and high schools celebrated as colleagues accepted the award certificates and detailed the projects that would now get underway.

Melissa McHenry from Cushman school was the first to receive the award.

“Thank you so much,” she said. “We are going to be purchasing what’s called a sensory path for our little ones.”

McHenry went on to explain that a sensory path is a pathway of decals and images placed in hallways for students who need movement or sensory input. 

The paths have a series of balancing and strengthening activities for the kids to complete. 

“The research behind sensory paths shows that it increases cognition and students’ ability to retain new information and stay focused in the classroom, particularly for our students who are on the autism spectrum,” McHenry said.

For her turn, Leslie Gamache stood up with a handful of fellow third grade teachers at Demello school and stated that they would use the grant for flexible seating in the classroom.

“Every child learns differently,” she said. “We wanted to create an environment where they could come and choose where they sit, or choose how they want to work during the day.”

They will be purchasing wobble stools, standing desks, and tables of various sizes as well as other types of seating.

Among other purchases listed were registration fees and android phones for the Dartmouth High robotics team, and a hydroponic system for Dartmouth Middle School students to grow their own lettuce right in the cafeteria.

“Grants were given for all different reasons,” said Chair of the Foundation’s advisory council Lara Stone. 

She noted that out of 19 applications received, 14 were awarded grants, while the others were funded through the school district.

“We work collaboratively with the school department to ensure that every project is supported,” Stone said.

Since 2007, the Dartmouth Education Foundation — a fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts — has awarded between $15 - 20,000 from funds raised during their annual spelling bee.

This year’s spelling bee will take place on Thursday, November 14.

This article has been updated to include the total amount in grants given out this year.