11 Catholic Schools in Diocese Receive School Solutions Seed Fund Grants

FALL RIVER — The Diocese of Fall River Catholic Schools Alliance is excited to announce that 11 of its schools have received School Solutions Seed Fund Grants from the Carney Family Charitable Foundation for a total of $66,498. Each school submitted an application identifying a promising on-the-ground solution to address current challenges facing their school. Seed fund grants will provide an opportunity for schools to move quickly to test, create, or pilot innovative solutions or new ideas, or make a mid-course correction to work already underway as a response to an identified need or challenge students face.

Below is a brief summary of each of the 11 projects that will be implemented during the Spring 2018 Semester.

Bishop Stang High School, New Bedford
Project Name: Let There be Light

Let There be Light is a multidisciplinary project through which faculty and students from Environmental Science, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics classes will create a Microbial Fuel Cell from mud that will produce enough electricity to light a bulb bright enough to allow someone to read in the dark. Additionally, the project will be completed in collaboration with students and faculty at St. Mary’s Junior Seminary, located on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In addition to enhancing global awareness, success for this project means that faculty and students have taken a challenging, “real-world” issue; collaboratively applied research, STEM and problem-solving skills; and worked to solve it.

Coyle and Cassidy High School, Taunton
Project Name: Implementing Brown University’s Choices Program

The Choices Program from Brown University is a series of 41 historical and current events modules that will help students understand pivotal points in history and current issues. The Choices Program will help students develop an understanding of historical contingency as well as events in the present day. Each module combines primary sources, videos, online activities, and hands on activities. Through the implementation of the Choices Program students will learn to engage in thoughtful discussion and develop a language of values that helps them understand the past and current events.

Espirito Santo Parochial School, Fall River
Project Name:  Strengthening Math-Science Connections in the Middle Grades

“Strengthening Math-Science Connections in the Middle Grades” will provide students with some of the tools needed to appropriately address the updated science standards while focusing on encouraging students’ mathematical thinking and bolstering their skills. Success would be reflected not only in improved assessment scores but also in the quantity and quality of “math talk” during science.

Holy Family Holy Name School, New Bedford
Project Name: Responsive Classroom

Holy Family-Holy Name School, in collaboration with St. Joseph School, St. James-St. John School, St. Francis Xavier School and All Saints Catholic School will be providing an opportunity for their staff to be trained in the Responsive Classroom model. The Responsive Classroom approach aims to bring a strong focus between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). Training in Responsive Classroom will empower our educators to create safe, joyful and engaging learning settings where our students have a sense of belonging and feel that they can and do succeed. We will know that it is successful when we see the difference in the students’ approach to learning, their connectedness in their lives between academics and social skills, and in the overall receptiveness to learn in a safe setting in the classroom.

Holy Trinity School, Fall River
Project Name: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Ceramics

Holy Trinity is excited to implement “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Ceramics” to help children who are dealing with special learning and behavioral concerns. Through their work in creating both slab and wheel thrown projects students will learn fine motor skills, attention to detail, and patience. These skills will translate into the classroom, allowing students to reach their full potential.

Our Lady of Lourdes, Taunton
Project Name: Social-Emotional Curriculum

With so many challenges in society today, the faculty of Our Lady of Lourdes School realizes that children need support on the social and emotional levels. Children who are struggling with social or emotional problems have difficulty learning. We chose to invest in a curriculum that will help students to identify and handle their feelings and to navigate the social world, so that they can be more successful in school and learn important life skills.

St. James St. John School, New Bedford
Project Name: 3-D Printer

St. James St. John School will be purchasing a 3-D printer package to further enhance our Middle School Science and Math programs. Working with community partners, with a focus on STREAM, we will be able to offer our students an opportunity to learn in a hands on environment that is both innovative and challenging. This new tool will spark the imagination of our students, engaging reluctant learners, and preparing students to be well equipped, and strong leaders of the future.

St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro
Project Name:  Interactive Learning through Coding

Learning facts is an obvious necessity in an academic environment, but facts are not the final goal. This grant will enable us to enhance learning by incorporating a flexible technological platform. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate and find solutions in open ended problems. This project uses coding as a platform for employing the academic principles learned in the classroom.

St. Joseph School, Fairhaven
Project Name: New Bedford Symphony Orchestra Symphony Symbiosis

Students from St. Joseph will attend the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra Symphony Symbiosis. Through this program students will explore the concept of balance in music and ecology. Students will explore various ecosystems to analyze whether it demonstrates elements of stability or imbalance. In music, students will explore balance in classical music—hear how composers achieve balance through the orchestration of musical parts among musical instruments. Students will also create observation squares and visit local salt marshes.

St. Pius X School, South Yarmouth
Project Name: Responsive Classroom

SPXS sought, through this grant, additional training and support to increase the efficacy of Responsive Classroom Techniques throughout the school. Outcomes, measured through observation and formative and summative assessments, will gauge student learning, and the impact on teacher-mentoring in these areas. The school pursued the grant because of the success of last year’s introductory initiative, which was funded through the inaugural School Solutions Seed Fund.

St. Stanislaus School, Fall River
Project Name: Outdoor multi-disciplinary learning atelier

Based on the traditional artist’s atelier, a learning atelier is a space filled with tools and materials that fosters collaborative learning under the guidance of an expert. St. Stanislaus’ atelier will contain areas for science, math, writing, dramatic performance, music, and art, as well as a tinkering table. As an example of how it would be used, students might read a classic such as Old Mother West Wind, monitor the weather outside, construct a squirrel-proof bird feeder, learn a folk song while accompanying it on rhythm instruments, and study the geography of Massachusetts.

For more information please see our website, www.catholicschoolsalliance.org or contact Sarah Heaton at (508)678-2828 or sheaton@catholicsa.org.

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