HALF HOLLOW HILLS, New York, April 2
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
With talk that creativity in the way teachers teach kids has been waning, Eric Geringswald, Half Hollow Hills school board president, said he’s glad to see that the teachers of Half Hollow Hills are disproving that.
During a March 23 board meeting, the Half Hollow Hills school board unanimously accepted 10 mini grants awarded by not-for-profit organization, The Hills Foundation, to teachers across the district. The grants, which total $12,000, will be used to provide additional financial support for teachers and their education initiatives, independent of the Half Hollow Hills School District.
“This year we had a tremendous number of grant applications; it was very competitive and we had some spirited debate over which grants we’d accept,” Deputy Superintendent Patrick Harrigan said. “In the end, [these] grants were accepted because of the impact that The Hills Foundation felt they would have on the students here in Half Hollow Hills.”
A total of 13 teachers across the district are backing the 10 initiatives that will be aided by The Hills Foundation.
Jennifer Aull, a health teacher, plans to support healthy lifestyle choices in students via her “Teen Health Coaching Program (Holistic Nutrition Club).”
“Videoconferencing with Montpellier France,” backed by Jennifer Houston, will connect students in the Half Hollow Hills School District with students in France via iPad technology.
The trio of elementary resource room teachers – Lisa Concagh, Heather Stein and Rosemarie DeBello – are also using iPad technology by integrating the devices into the elementary Resource Room Program in three of the district’s schools. This project is called “Mini iPads for Giant Learning.”
Michelle Flammia continues the iPad trend with her “Using the iPad Tablet in the ELL Classroom,” which plans to use the technology to facilitate computer-assisted language learning for English-language learners to enhance listening, literacy and speaking proficiency.
A pair of West Hollow Middle School teachers, Tina Rothenberg and Ed Nordstrom, will use remote clickers and Smart Board technology to increase student engagement and allow teachers to quickly assess student understanding through “Team 6-2 Click Through.”
For the second-straight year, Marianne Mead has had her “Raised Garden Beds for IPC Class & Modular Playhouse for Madonna Heights” proposal accepted; the program helps architecture-club students make a “real-world impact.”
Students will brave the outdoors with Mike Gibbons as he plans on bringing physical education outside with his grant, “Exposing Students to Crucial Outdoor Skills.”
Nathan Swift has his “World Drumming in Classroom Music” proposal approved and will use it to introduce an “authentic and meaningful” way for students to interact with music in order to better understand the world’s cultures.
The “HHH FIRST Tech Challenge Competition Team,” which will see 50 students participate, is being run by Caryn Meirs and will allow students to compete in STEM competitions.
Finally, last but not least, Stefanie Deringer’s “Bugs be Gone” was also approved and aims to restore the greenhouse at West Hollow with plants and living organisms.
“We are thrilled to recognize the recipients of The Hills Foundation mini grants,” Kelly Fallon, superintendent of schools, said.
Harrigan also thanked the office of Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Facilities Anne Marie Marrone Caliendo. Unlike previous years, this year the teachers who had their grants accepted were able to purchase the necessary items for their programs through the district. The district was then reimbursed for the purchased by The Hills Foundation.
Along with eliminating some previous hardships of purchasing the items themselves, the teachers were able to “get more for the kids for overall less funds,” Harrigan said.
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, April 2, 2015; A7)