Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation

Our Mission

Provide funding for the enhancement of learning opportunities not otherwise available to the students in Schenectady Public Schools.

The Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization established under the laws of the State of New York.  It is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501 © 3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation was established to create new opportunities for students and educators in our community.

Since 2006 we awarded 179 grants totaling $133,143.00.  Grants have been used to fund a green house, musical instruments, physical education activities, classroom libraries, mini computers, author visits, field trips, and a number of very creative activities. We also work with other organizations that support the schools, help the summer recreation program and contribute to the backpack program.

Schenectady Teachers Receive Grants

The Board of Directors of the Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of the 2016 grants.  There were 40 requests totaling $60,160 and the Board of Directors awarded grants to 268 applications in 12 schools for a total of $26,764.

STEM grants were a priority in this round of grants. The largest grant was awarded to  a team of sixth grade teachers at Oneida led by Michael Sheridan The funding of this grant was largely the result of a donation by the General Electric Power Generation Products team to encourage the involvement of young women in the STEM fields. Sixth and seventh grade girls will be engage for three Saturdays in the spring.   They will be involved in a Challenger Learning Mission called Rendezvous with a Comet which engages them in a mission to explore a comet that is approaching Earth’s orbit.  Taking on roles in both mission control and the spacecraft they experience the work of NASA flight controllers and astronauts. The girls will also experience a Planetarium show entitled WE CHOOSE SPACE, take a tour of miSci, and engage in an activity called Tinkering Bring Out Your Inner Engineer.  They will explore 3D printing, explore careers in architecture and what goes into building a house. They will assume the roles of artist, architect, engineer and builder through KEVA.  We believe that this experience will help these young women to the value and importance tom them of the STEM fields.

There were a number of other grants devoted to exploring the STEM fields.  At the elementary school level, Erin Campbell will involve sixty fourth graders at Lincoln Elementary School in a robotics club and Charito Haines-Drezek and Sue Look have their students at Keane Elementary School using kindles to improve math and reading skills.  Anne Richardson’s sixth graders at Central Park will use interactive models and computer programs for science and math projects. Katie Hunter’s eighth graders at Central Park will study fish and animals with the books, videos and a field trip to the Viaport Aquarium.  Lastly, Jenn Cass-Greenfield’s Steinmetz Earth Science students will expand their math, science and research skills exploring the geology of Thatcher Park.

Literacy skills were also a major area of concern. At Van Corlaer, Beth Chatnik will use graphic novels to encourage reluctant readers in her Book Club.  Jody Hulsaver and Greg Rice at Central Park will have their sixth grade students reading enrichment novels; HIP Reading Assessment materials will be used to assess progress. Fiction and non-fiction books will be purchased by Jennifer Poli for use with her students at Steinmetz. Cecilia Rottger will work with students and parents using the Book Exchange Library to helps students improve their reading skills. A lot of reading skills are lost during the summer so Stephanie Parella at Van Corlaer will buy books and tote bags for summer reading by her first graders.

Having just completed an election cycle, everyone know the importance of the social sciences in the schools. Elizabeth Mark will have her Mont Pleasant students involved in Connecting with New York State’s History.  They will read The Last of the Mohicans, do historical research and do a tour pf Fort William Henry.  Eighth graders at MPMS do a class trip to Washington DC every year and the Foundation will led financial support to that trip.  “You Wouldn’t Want To…” is a series of books which get students involved in real life situations in the past.  Kathleen Wylie’s Central [ark students will read the books in small groups and then create their own versions.

The SCSDEF has a long history of supporting the arts.  This year, Lisa Longe will buy a mobile music staff board to help her 110 band and orchestra students at Pleasant Valley improve notation skills and their understanding of musical concepts. Schenectady High School dance students will be able to use ballet barres in their dance classes taught by Lindsay Reddick.  At Martin Luther King Maggie Russo will purchase keyboards for her fourth and fifth grade music students and at Hamilton Melody York will buy books for her students to use.  Ms. York’s students will engage in the “found poetry” activity   and will create art works based on their “found poetry.”

A healthy body is important for the development of a healthy mind.  Therefore the SCSDEF supported a number of grants that address physical needs and their relationships with learning.  Mary Beth Arcidiacono will purchase stability balls to replace chairs for her ADHD students, because studies show they help students concentrate more effectively. Karen Foley and students at Pleasant Valley and Keane will participate in Girls on the Run, which promotes self-confidence healthy bodies, language and math skills, etc.  Mary La Fountain and a team of teachers at Washington Irving have developed a Place of Peace Project.  Students and staff will engage in mindfulness in education activities that help with stress management, self-care, etc.  The Central Park Physical Education Team building Project led by Marcella Tebbano will purchase several games to help students develop physical and teamwork skills.

It is essential that students see the relationship between what they learn in the classroom and the “real world.”  Understanding the practical value of their learning is an important motivator.  According to Molly Schaefer, all three middle schools are developing a new course, “Social Inquiry in the 21st Century; students will visit HVCC where they will learn about how to be more career and college ready.  Hopefully, they will be more motivated to want to go to college.  Jennifer Mack’s baking club at Oneida will use the purchase to learn about budgeting, planning, basic math skills and how to work with others. Sharing and caring are important values in a democracy.  Amy Preston and Andrew Davis are buying materials for their students to use in creating and sharing gifts for others.  Lastly, the SCLA Leadership Club under the guidance of Michele Thornhill will use their grant funds to promote pride in school and community through the creation of community murals, gardening, and events.  This promotes service and leadership.

Again, congratulations to the winners and the other applicants for the grants.  The foundation encourages staff members to submit proposals for the 2017 cycle and thanks them for their dedication to our students and their support to the foundation through payroll deduction. Visit our web site for more information. Like us on Facebook. If anyone wishes to support learning activities such as these, they may do so by attending our Education Celebration at Proctors on January 19 or making a contribution to the Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation, Box 3956, Schenectady, N.Y. 12303.