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Lower Merion School District





Each year the Interschool Council (ISC) Mini Grant Program provides grants to teachers in the Lower Merion School District who are piloting innovative approaches to enrich student learning. In 2016/17, the ISC Mini Grant Program received 52 applications and awarded over $13,000 funding 35 projects.

Every elementary, middle and high school in the district received at least one mini grant ranging from $75 to $1000, with a typical award averaging $420.

Each year funding is providing by the 10 Home and School Associations and the Committee for Special Education.


Week of January 30, 2017-Invitation to Apply

The ISC notifies all teachers via email about the opportunity to apply for an ISC Mini Grant.

Application, guidelines and past projects are posted on the ISC page of the LMSD website.

HSA presidents and ISC representatives are notified that the "Invitation to Apply" has been sent to all LMSD teachers.

Monday April 3, 2017
Deadline to submit applications. THIS DEADLINE WILL NOT BE EXTENDED AS IN THE PAST. Teachers must submit applications on or before this date.

Submit applications to Lucy Klain and Cyndy Gutowski, ISC Mini Grant Co-Chairs via email at

Download Grant Application 2017/18 here.

Download GRANT Guidelines here.


April 2017-Application Review and Selection

A committee will evaluate the mini grant applications. The committee uses a blind review process-that is, when they read the proposal and make a recommendation for funding, the committee will not know which teachers or schools have submitted the applications.


May 2017-- Grant Awards are announced

All applicants will receive email notification as to the status of their application-Fully Funded; Partial Funding; Not Funded. The awardees may begin implementing their grants after they have received their letter and the LMSD Board of Directors has accepted the awards.

Sample of Projects Funded in 2016/17

Middles school

Elementary school

"Trout in Classroom" gives Harriton High School students practical experience and the ability to apply science concepts using aquaponics (combining aquaculture and hydroponics) through growing fish and plants in one integrated system.

For more inspiration, view past grant awards here.



  1. The Goal of the ISC Mini Grant Program is to support creative and innovative approaches to teaching and to support the personal and academic development of LMSD students.
  2. Teachers may submit a grant application with other teachers. Teachers may work together across disciplines and schools to submit grants applications.
  3. Teachers are not penalized for submitting multiple grant applications. It is a blind review process.
  4. Grants are awarded that impact both small and large groups of students. It is only one factor in considering a grant application.
  5. All grant applications must be submitted electronically to the ISC Mini Grant Chair by the established deadline posted on the ISC website.
  6. The ISC Mini Grant Chair will acknowledge receipt of application via email to the Primary Contact on the application.
  7. All applications must include a detailed budget. Submitting global categories with a dollar amount will not be considered. For example, Books--$250 or Supplies--$100 does not provide the required detail. In this example, the list of books or supplies to be purchased would need to be included with the grant application.
  8. Grant applications may reference a website and provide a link as supplemental information but cannot be used as the primary explanation for an item or request. It is expected that you will describe your proposal as it specifically relates to your classroom.
  9. Budget items that are NOT funded:
    Office equipment,
    General school supplies,
    Document copying,
    Mailing costs,
    Food and beverages,
    Transportation, lodging or conference fees,
    iPads or laptops,
    Outside guest speakers, and
    High School Senior Projects.
  10. Teachers may submit additional information to further support a request when completing their grant application. You are not limited to the space provided or the information requested on the application.
  11. Hand written applications will not be considered.
  12. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


  1. All grants are evaluated through a blind review process. Identifying information such as teacher name(s) and school(s)s is removed.
  2. The Grant review committee is compromised of the ISC Mini Grant chair, ISC members, a HSA president, a CSE representative, a LMSD principal, LMSD parents and other administrators based upon the type of grant applications submitted.
  3. Grant applications will be reviewed by operations and/or technology to assure implementation is within the scope of and complies with the department's policy.


  1. Grants may be fully funded, partially funded or not funded based upon the consensus of the Grant Review Committee.
  2. Teachers can be awarded funding for the same grant for 3 years. However, grants funded during a review cycle are not guaranteed funding in subsequent years; grant applications must be resubmitted each year in order to receive multiple year funding.
  3. All awards will be rounded up to the nearest $.
  4. If the Grant Review Committee awards partial funding for a grant, the award will be given unrestricted to purchase any of the budget's requested items. In rare cases, a caveat to how the funds must be used will be identified in the congratulation letter sent to the awardee(s). The ISC Mini Grant chair is required to approve the restrictions placed on the funds.
  5. Items identified in the individual grant budget are the only items to be approved for reimbursement by the ISC Mini Grant Program. If a change or substitution is required (i.e., a certain product is no longer available), prior approval from the ISC Mini Grant Chair is required for reimbursement.
  6. Maximum award for any grant is $1,000. There is no minimum dollar value for approved awards.
  7. Grant money that is awarded in May of each year for the upcoming grant year will be available to teachers/staff/purchasing for reimbursement any time after the awardees receive their award letter and the LMSD Board of Directors has accepted the awards.


  1. Purchases for reimbursement can be made either directly by the teacher or can be purchased through LMSD. Reimbursement can be made to either an individual or to LMSD Purchasing.
  2. In rare circumstances, a third party vendor may be considered for direct reimbursement. The ISC Mini Grant Chair is required to approve in advance a third party vendor reimbursement request.
  3. No reimbursement requests will be filled unless the reimbursement form and reimbursement procedures identified on the form are followed by the award recipient(s). Download Reimbursement Form here.
  4. Reimbursement will be paid from receipts only not from a quote.
  5. If funds are not spent all at one time, several reimbursement requests can be made by a teacher during the course of the school year.
  6. Requests for ISC mini grant reimbursements must be submitted to the ISC Mini Grant chair by June 30 of the grant school year. After June 30, any unspent funds go back to the ISC Mini Grant Program.

Revised 1/2017

Approved: ISC Executive Committee, Claudia Baker, ISC President, 1/2017

16-17 Grants

At Harriton High School, Laura Labrinakos and Su Carter continue to expand the HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL ART GALLERY with new student displays for three-dimensional artwork.

Sixth, seventh, and eighth grades students at both Bala Cynwyd and Welsh Valley will have access to The Crossover by Kwame Alexander to complement the author's visit through this ONE BOOK - BOTH MIDDLE SCHOOLS program.

Standing desks will create WORKSPACES THAT WORK at Welsh Valley for students of Lauren Oakes, Caryn Williams, Lauren Lawrence, Deb Kauffman, and Matt Barr.

Kristen Lawson's kindergarten students at Belmont Hills will be able to listen along to the same story with a new LISTENING CENTER.

EMPOWERING STUDENTS THROUGH RUBIK'S CUBES at Welsh Valley will allow Katy Morris' math students to learn the order of operations and how to use algorithms in a real-world application.

Students at Harriton High School will incorporate standing, pacing and other movement into their day by using a standing desk in Christine Kiley's SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING classroom.

Jeff Rhodes' TROUT IN CLASSROOM project will give Harriton High School students practical experience and the opportunity to apply science concepts using aquaponics (combining aquaculture and hydroponics) through growing fish and plants in one integrated system.

Gladwyne will create a new GLADWYNE GARDEN under the leadership of Lori McCrudden and Lisa Unger, exposing students to real-world experience of applying practical applications of science and math while also providing an understanding of giving back to the community and an appreciation and understanding of cooperative learning.

Becky DuVernois will utilize BALANCE BALL CHAIRS TO BALANCE ATTENTION by providing an outlet for physical movement while still being engaged in actively working in their Welsh Valley classroom.

Encryption will be brought to life in Justin Ochiogrosso's Harriton High School classes at as students build and use an Enigma Machine through the MATHEMATICAL STUDY OF ENCRYPTION to understand the impact of breaking code during WW2.


ARDUINO MAKERSPACES at Belmont Hills will allow ∫Barbara Johnson's students to create electronic design projects.

Veronica Vladimirova-Cambria's Latin students and Certamen participants at Harriton High School will increase their competitiveness through the WHEN ANCIENT LITERATURE COMES ALIVE project.

TEAM BUILDING THROUGH MUSIC - HAND CHIMES CHOIR will enhance Katy Morris' FORUM advisory group at Welsh Valley by providing students the opportunity to be part of a handchime ensemble to develop team-building and collaboration skills.

Students in Laura Vogels' classroom will learn how to "escape the room" with teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking and troubleshooting, using BREAKOUT BOXES for biology, geology, and astronomy at Harriton High School.

Cynwyd's OZOBOTS FOR OWLS will give Shayna Ash's 3rd grade students hands-on application of robotics and programming to develop sequential thinking, logical reasoning, and coding concepts.

Harriton physics students in Daniel Imaizumi, Sarah Harvey, and Michael Stoloski's classes will gain hands-on engineering and design skills with a PHYSICS MAKER SPACE START UP.

Katy Morris and Jason Gagliardi will provide HANDS-ON EXPLORATION OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY FROM WIND AND SUN in their Welsh Valley classrooms, helping students to construct an entire miniature renewable energy system.

Harriton and Lower Merion High School students participating in the National Society of Black Engineers' NSBE JR VEX ROBOTICS COMPETITION will build robots and compete at the regional and national level under Nyanthen Bantoe's leadership.

Students at Cynwyd will have access to are both appropriately leveled and engaging through Allson Gilboy's TAKE HOME BOOKS FOR READING SUPPORT STUDENTS project.

New handheld radio devices will improve AVIATION INTEGRATION programs at Welsh Valley and Harriton High School as teachers Michael Sullivan, Jason Gagliardi, Meg Hunt complement an existing flight simulator for students in grades 8-12.

The TEEN-AGENCY: EMPOWERING YOUNG WRITERS project at Lower Merion High School will create a self-publishing station for students in Brian Mays' classroom to allow them to engage more fully in the writing process by writing, selecting and publishing their work.

IMPROVING ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE THROUGH ANXIETY REDUCTION is Kathy Bromley's goal using music, stress reliever objects, and aquarium in the Wellness Office at Welsh Valley.

Jennifer Gilbert at Gladwyne will make reading more attractive to boys in the classroom by purchasing BOOKS FOR OUR RELUCTANT BOYS, PART 2, with focus nonfiction and other attractive books to motivate boys to read more and better themselves as readers.

Artwork from Jackie Cassidy's Welsh Valley students will be spotlighted throughout the school walls as part of a new STUDENT ART GALLERY.

Students in Nicole Swartley and Ian Haines' emotional support classrooms at Lower Merion High School will have expanded resources to practice skills that have been directly instructed in areas of coping, emotional regulation, and self-management.

Kindergarten students at Gladwyne will learn HANDWASHING LESSONS with Maureen AuBuchon by using Glitterbug Hand Hygiene products that teach good handwashing techniques by putting their hands under a UVA lamp and seeing immediately how well they washed their hands.

Welsh Valley's MIRACLE GROW AEROGARDEN will be enhanced with new bulbs as Maureen Keeney's Family and Consumer Science students learn about hydroponic gardening.

Autistic support students in Jessica Segal's Merion classroom will have the tools to help calm themselves through items designed to create custom comfort zones thanks to the REGULATING OUR SENSES grant.

Penn Valley received an outside BUDDY BENCH so that when a student chooses to sit on the bench during recess, teachers and other students will know that student is looking for a buddy.

Students visiting Yvette DeVoue's nurse's office at Penn Wynne will feel comfortable in thanks to stress-reducing improvements such as a Beta fish aquarium, stress balls, and a balance ball chair.