News

News

Giggles thank you!

We’d like to thank those who purchased tickets to the Giggles comedy night on Friday, and especially thank Dr. Creeden for joining us (and for sparring with the comedians!). We were able to raise just over $1,300 for our school programs – these funds will help fund grants that our teachers write to BEST.

Thank you, everyone!

The Gift Card Auction

We’d like to thank everyone who donated gift cards to BEST for our Gift Card Auction. We did not receive enough cards to be able to hold our auction, and instead we will be using the donations as part of the fundraising for the Giggles Comedy night. Thank you again for your support.

Do you have any unused gift cards lying around that you are unlikely to use? Did you receive gift cards during the holidays to places you don’t shop or dine? Consider donating them to BEST so that we can include them in the Gift Card Auction! The proceeds from the auction will be used to support initiatives at our schools and to fund grants written by teachers and staff. Every little bit helps!

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It’s very easy to donate. You can:

  • Mail to BEST at P.O. Box 176 Boxford, MA.
  • Send gift cards to the main office at your child’s school. Put the cards in an envelope for BEST.
  • Send an email to info@bestforboxford.org to arrange for pick-up of your gift cards.

If you want a receipt for tax purposes, please include your name, address, and email address along with the name and value of each gift card.

Please send your donations before January 28 and thank you for your support!

$1,915 for Snowflakes!

We are happy to announce that this year’s Snowflakes for Education program raised $1,915.00! Donors used the Snowflakes for Education program to honor teachers, staff members, learning topics, and even bus drivers. Donations to the program will be used to directly benefit the teachers, staff, and children at our schools.

We’d like to thank everyone who donated. We could not do this without your support. We hope that all of your will take a moment to enjoy the snowflakes hung in the lobby at each school.

We would also like to say thank you very much to the Snowflakes team: Silvana DiBlasi, Paije Andrews, and Beth Mills. Thank you for your time and hard work, especially during this busy time of year! Happy holidays to everyone.

Snowflakes for Education, from BEST

Snowflakes for Education Program

Snowflakes for Education

You may have received the email notification limiting gifts for teachers and school  staff. The state guidelines are fairly strict: no more than $50 from a family during  single 365 day period, and no more than $150 total for a class gift. However, contributions to a charitable organization in the name of a staff member are UNLIMITED. BEST has just launched its annual Snowflakes for Education drive – you’ll be receiving a flyer in your backpacks soon. You make a donation for a teacher and we’ll hang a snowflake for that individual in the school lobby.

To make your donation, visit our Snowflakes for Education page now.

Shop at Amazon, Support BEST!

Did you know that when you shop at Amazon, you can support BEST?

All it takes is a few easy steps:

#1 Visit smile.amazon.com to set up your charity. (If you already have a charity set up, you can change it by clicking on the name of your current charity in the upper left corner of the screen.)

#2 Search for Boxford Elementary Schools Trust where it says “Pick your own charitable organization”:

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#3 Click Select next to the Boxford Elementary Schools Trust in the list:2014-11-21_11-34-45

#4: Amazon will set up BEST as your charity of choice. Now all you have to do is to remember to start your shopping at smile.amazon.com every time you shop.

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You can tell it’s working if you see “Supporting: Boxford Elementary Schools Trust” at the top of your Amazon shopping page. If you don’t, be sure to visit smile.amazon.com and start your shopping there!2014-11-21_11-35-18

Amazon sends 0.5% of your purchases to BEST, which is directly used to help our schools!

BEST donations at work in our schools

The Principal of the Harry Lee Cole School recently shared some wonderful examples of BEST donations at work in our classrooms:

It’s a great feeling to know that BEST helped to bring these technologies to our schools, and we’re planning to do more this year!

$2,400 in donations!

We have received $2,400 in donations from 35 Boxford families. Thank you so much! Your donations will be used to fund innovative teaching tools and professional development in our schools.

Our first priority will be this fall’s 2014 grant requests from teachers. We’ve received almost $13,000 in grant requests from the teachers at the Harry Lee Cole School and the Spofford Pond Elementary School.  The Board will be meeting in November to review the grants and determine which ones we will be able to fund.

It’s not too late to become a BEST supporter! Donate now and join the 35 other families in Boxford who are helping to make our schools better!

Weather Station in the classrooms

BEST’s mission is to fund innovative teaching tools that bring new educational opportunities to our schools. In recent years, that has meant a lot of technological investment: Smart Boards, laptop computers, and iPads. However, BEST welcomes grants that bring other tools to our school. For example, in 2009 BEST funded a weather station at Spofford school.  We asked Ms. Cronin (Grade 3) to tell us how they use the weather station in their classroom.

Ms. Cronin reported that the third grade does an entire weather unit each year. The students record daily observations in their weather journals, then graph and analyze trends. She is working toward making a weather report a part of the normal school day.

The weather station was only possible because of your support. If you have not given to BEST this year, would you consider becoming a supporter?

The Fall, 2014 grants are in!

The Boxford Elementary Schools Trust has received grant application from five different teachers, totaling almost $13,000. Requests are coming from the STEM program, the SPED program, from the Spofford technology team, and from the Multiage team at Cole.

But we have a problem: at the moment, we don’t have enough money to be able to fund all of these grants. We have raised almost $1,500 through your generous donations and we would like your help so that we can fund as many of these grants as possible. Please consider becoming a BEST supporter.

What happens to the grants next?

The Grant team will review the grants, meet with the teachers and the principals and discuss the grants, and make a recommendation to the board. The BEST board will meet in November to vote on the grants, using our Criteria for Evaluating BEST Grant Applications. We’ll also have to see what funds we have available, and prioritize the grants. We’re hoping to have the funds to support as many of these grants as possible, but we need your help.

We’d like to thank the teachers for taking the time to fill in the grant forms: they are long and we certainly ask for a lot of information, but these details help us to evaluate the grant.

 

iPads in the Multi-Age classrooms

In the spring of 2013, the multi-age classrooms at the Cole school submitted a grant to BEST asking for 6 iPads for each classroom.  In the grant they wrote:

The multiage teachers frequently teach the students in small groups, while other groups of children or individuals are working independently. The iPads would fit easily into this format, so an easy transition is likely. Having the opportunity to work with a small number of iPads will enable the teachers to learn how best to use them, find Apps that are worthwhile, and get ready for a full class set if the 1:1 initiative is successful.

At the time, this was a pilot – no other classroom in the district had iPads dedicated to the classroom. This model has been so successful that Ms. Suther also asked for iPads for her classroom, and ultimately the school committee funded iPad carts for each grade at the Cole school. Recently, we asked the multi-age teachers to tell us more about what they do with the iPads during the school day.

Students use the iPads in small groups during WIN block, science, as a literacy choice, for math practice, discovery time, and social studies blocks. Once the iPad is in the hands of a student, they are off and running.

Some specific examples are:

  • Creating books and stories via Scribblepress, Puppet pals, Educreations
  • Listening to reading via Tumblebooks, BookFlix, Storia
  • Creating videos of student work
  • Student demonstrations of apps and how they work
  • Geography: students used Google Earth to find and locate features, landmarks, and places in their home town and state and then learned about them
  • Research of animals via National Geographic kids, Wikipedia, iknowthat.com,
  • Independent skill practice via ixl, Spelling city, Razkids, as well as several dozen math and phonics apps
  • Phonics games, spelling games, math games (number sense, time, money, problem-solving and more)
  • Publishing student work to make books in non-fiction study of Continents
  • Sharing and engaging students in their learning eg volcano video, taping of their Caine’s Arcarde projects
  • Articulating and sharing their learning strategies eg triple digit addition in math using Educreations
  • Researching for science projects using Discovery Education.

We are so happy to be able to support our teachers, as they bring new educational tools into the classroom. We couldn’t do it without your support.  If you have not given to BEST this year, would you consider becoming a supporter?