BEF awarded over $7,800 through the Student Success Grants Program to support the following projects in Belchertown Public Schools:

Cooking Club
Project Lead: Annette Colon-Vega
Collaborator: Christine Holesovsky
School: Belchertown High School

The Belchertown High School Cooking Club project was proposed in response to repeated student requests for cooking instruction. The Cooking Club will offer students the opportunity to develop cooking skills, learn how to make healthy food choices, create meals on a low budget, and increase their cultural awareness as they explore cuisines and approaches to food across the globe. In the future, the Cooking Club’s directors hope to fund the Club by offering the student-prepared meals for a donation and also to partner with local soup kitchens and food pantries to expand the Club’s impact.

5-Octave Marimba
Project Lead: Brian Messier
Collaborator: Corrina Smith
Schools: Belchertown High School & Jabish Brook Middle School

The Belchertown Education Foundation is pleased to be able to provide funds to support the purchase of the high school’s first 5-octave marimba. This industry-standard marimba will serve the entire percussion program and become an immediate asset to the curriculum, expanding the body of solo and ensemble repertoire available to percussion students. This purchase will allow for the transfer of one of the high school’s smaller marimbas to Jabish Brook Middle School, doubling the access and opportunity for younger musicians. Taken together, the opportunities afforded by the purchase of this new marimba will lead to an immediate, significant, and long-lasting impact on the band program at the middle and high schools and positively affect the experience of students for generations to come.

School Gardens
Project Lead: Louise Levy
Collaborators: Lori Vaz, Ruth Kampe
School: Belchertown High School (with district-wide impact)

The Belchertown School Garden serves as a valuable learning opportunity for students. However, the tedious and somewhat difficult process needed to provide sufficient irrigation to the garden has been an impediment to the growth of the gardening program. The Belchertown Education Foundation is pleased to fund the installation of a frost-free, lockable water spigot in the garden. The improved irrigation afforded by the spigot and its ease of use is expected to increase the number of teachers able to offer their students garden-based learning experiences and to increase the production of produce that the food service department uses when making its healthy school lunches.

A Pedagogical Mindshift: Supporting Teachers in Creating Innovating Thinkers in the Middle School Classroom
Project Lead: Emily O’Rourke
Collaborators: Sheila Flood, Stephanie Davies, Deborah Hanscom and Wendy Laramee
School: Jabish Brook Middle School

Math teachers at Jabish Brook Middle School believe that meeting the needs of the 21st Century learner requires a pedagogical shift. Their grant-funded project focuses on creating innovative learning environments that offer problem- and project-based learning opportunities for their combined 400 students. Funds provided by the Belchertown Education Foundation will be used to modify the math classrooms to provide the physical supports necessary for collaborative learning. Over the course of this project teachers will promote the development of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking skills as they prepare the students of Jabish Brook Middle School for higher education and the workplace.