As the Medfield Coalition for Public Education’s 25th Anniversary Appeal continues toward its goal of raising $100,000 through on-line donations (www.medfieldcoalition.org) and mailed in contributions, grant funding has kept an equally rigorous pace. At the November meeting MCPE’s Board of Directors approved four grants totaling $33,000 bringing funding so far this school year to $62,000.
In keeping with what has become a trend for supporting technology in the school district, five iRovers were approved for Memorial School. As a follow up to a grant funded last spring by MCPE, every classroom at Memorial will now be equipped with iRover technology geared for kindergarten and first grade.
“The design of the iRover provides an interactive Smart Board that stands at the appropriate height for young learners. Specifically designed for early childhood learning experiences, it is about the size of a large classroom easel and is compact enough to fit in the gathering space of our classrooms,” notes Memorial School principal Andrea Trasher.
In addition, Wheelock School was granted funds to acquire nine new document cameras. With this funding Wheelock School will have a document camera in each classroom as well as in the art room and library. Over the past three years MCPE has funded all of the document cameras requested by the district, enabling teachers and students to use this technology at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Document cameras act like an overhead projector and can zoom in on anything two or three dimensional such as a homework problem, found object or microscope slide.
Jane Woods, a high school mathematics teacher, said of MCPE’s funding of document cameras, “I think about how fortunate we are to have a group like the Coalition ready to support teaching and learning here in Medfield. No technology since the advent of the graphing calculator has impacted best practices so greatly!“
However, grant funding is not limited to technology purchases alone. Also at the November meeting the board approved funding to bring a multimedia production from the Project Moves Dance Company to the high school auditorium in late February for students in grades 6 through 12 and their parents. With a mission of enhancing academic enrichment, the scope of grants approved by MCPE touches many aspects of the curriculum across the full spectrum of school subjects, from performing arts and special speakers to technologies and materials needed in the classroom, to professional development programs for teachers and administrators.
The Medfield Coalition for Public Education began in 1987 as a group of five parent volunteers who at the suggestion of Superintendent Thomas Reis created a fundraising organization to support academic enrichment programs in Medfield’s public schools. The organization has grown through the dedicated efforts of many volunteers in the community and in the past ten years alone has funded $1,000,000 in initiatives. Last year MCPE funded 40 grants totaling $100,000. With this degree of support being sought by the schools, MCPE’s Board of Directors decided to launch a broader fundraising campaign this year in place of the traditional auction event like last year’s Spring Fling or E4E parties. The 25th Anniversary Appeal included a special fundraising mailing delivered to every residence on November 1st and continues with an online donation opportunity available on MCPE’s website (www.medfieldcoalition.org).
“We wanted to reach every household in Medfield to encourage donations in support of MCPE’s mission of enriching, promoting and sustaining academic excellence in the Medfield Schools. The 25th year of the organization seemed particularly worthy of this broad outreach. Our hope is that donors will consider this an occasion to give back whether they have school age children or not. We want to wholeheartedly thank the many who have already participated bringing us almost halfway to our goal,” said MCPE’s Appeal Co-Chair, Diane Smith.
Superintendent Bob Maguire publicly endorsed the campaign in a letter to the editor of the Hometown Weekly on November 15, 2012. Public support for the campaign has been visible around Medfield in the form of blue bows affixed to residents’ mailbox posts. Each bow symbolizes a campaign donation. A corporate fundraising effort to invite participation by local businesses is planned for January. For more information about the Medfield Coalition for Public Education, to make an online donation, or to become involved as a volunteer, visit the organization’s website at www.medfieldcoalition.org.