By Rena Kams

Special to the Town Crier

The Sudbury Education Resource Fund (SERF) approved over $26,000 in new grant funds for innovative projects at the Sudbury Public Schools (SPS) and Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School (LSRHS) in votes taken by the non-profit’s Board of Directors on November 3rd and December 1st.

At the elementary education level, SERF approved funds for the Brainology program, based on the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, which teaches brain science and study skills. This program will be used at Josiah Haynes Elementary School to help students grow and foster a growth mindset and greater resiliency as learners. Additionally, SERF will fund a workshop at Peter Noyes Elementary School and district-wide with Jessica Minahan, author of The Behavior Code, which is aimed at exposing staff and parents to strategies to improve their effectiveness when working with students with behavior challenges.

To support the music program at the elementary level, SERF approved a grant to expand access to the string bass to the fourth graders town-wide by funding the purchase of four 1/8-size double bass instruments which will stay at each of the elementary schools. This will eliminate the barrier to playing the instrument due to the transporting of these large instruments to and from school and will provide an opportunity for 3-5 students to take bass each year. The grant will also allow for a professional bassist to provide expertise and support.

To support the mathematics curriculum throughout the district, SERF approved a grant requesting funds to purchase literature referenced in teaching resources to help support students in reaching mastery of specific mathematics standards. These books will allow all Common Core aligned math journal prompts and fact fluency activities to be presented with differentiation to help enrich the experience for all learners. Additionally, to support the English language arts curriculum at General John Nixon Elementary School, SERF voted to approve a grant for a virtual book room which will provide funds to purchase several fiction and non-fiction e-books for students in grades 3-5. This will allow students to gain more experience reading books using technology which will help prepare them for computer based assessments and learning.

At Curtis Middle School, Ben DeMott, a teacher in the Social Studies department, will receive SERF funds to attend the National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference in Boston.

SERF voted to fund several important initiatives at the high school as well. To support the LSRHS Foreign Language department, SERF will fund the purchase of classroom instructional aids to help students practice and review vocabulary and grammar. Additionally, SERF will provide funds for a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to enhance the teaching of classical art and to deepen students understanding of western literature. The students will also learn how to read Greek vases and classical sculptural reliefs that visually recount the fall of Troy and the events leading up to it. The tour will be led by a UMass Professor of the Classics.

Also at LSRHS, the Math Department will receive a three year license for the use of Kuta Software, a math test and worksheet generator, which will help teachers provide differentiated instruction for all students.

To support the LSRHS science program, SERF will fund the purchase of four portable mini PCR thermal cycler units for investigation of genetic samples.

SERF grants for curriculum development, enrichment materials, and student wellness are made possible through contributions from families of students in the schools, and the community at large. SERF grants fund important initiatives that, given current school budget constraints, otherwise would not be funded. To support SERF’s funding of grants to the K-12 classrooms, visit www.serfsudbury.org.