Each year, a panel of parent volunteers and LMSD Administrators complete a blind review of submitted mini grant applications. For the 2020/2021 cycle, the ISC Mini Grant Program received 36 applications and awarded $11,200 to fund 26 projects. All middle and high schools in the District received at least one mini grant and all but one of our elementary schools did as well.
These grants range from $74 to $940, with awards averaging $425. Last year's funding was provided by all ten Home & School Associations in Lower Merion School District.
APPLICATION PROCESS AND TIMETABLE
End of January 2021 - 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.
Thursday, April 1, 2021 - Deadline to submit applications.
THIS DEADLINE WILL NOT BE EXTENDED AS IN THE PAST. Teachers must submit applications on or before this date.
Please submit applications via this Google Form.
If you do not have a G-Suite account (i.e., a Gmail address or Google Drive account), we will still accept applications in Microsoft Word documents. Download Word form here.
April 2021 - Application Review and Selection
A committee, comprised of a diverse group of LMSD administrators and parents, will evaluate the mini grant applications. The committee uses a blind review process: 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 2021 - 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.
- 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.
- Teachers may submit a grant application with other teachers. Teachers may work together across disciplines and schools to submit grants applications.
- Teachers are limited to submitting two grants total, either by themselves or with other teachers.
- Grants are awarded that impact both small and large groups of students. The number of students impacted is only one factor in considering a grant application.
- All grant applications must be submitted electronically to the ISC Mini Grant Chair by the established deadline posted on the ISC website.
- The ISC Mini Grant Chair will acknowledge receipt of application via email to the Primary Contact on the application.
- 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.
- 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.
- Budget items that are NOT funded:
- Office equipment
- General school supplies
- Document copying
- Mailing costs
- Consumable items, including food and beverages
- Transportation, lodging or conference fees
- iPads or laptops
- Outside guest speakers
- High School Senior Projects
- 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.
- Handwritten applications will not be considered.
- Incomplete applications will not be considered.
GRANT REVIEW PROCESS:
- All grants are evaluated through a blind review process. Identifying information such as teacher name(s) and school(s) is removed.
- 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.
- Technology requests will be reviewed by the Director of Technology to ensure compatibility with LMSD. In addition, applications may be reviewed for curriculum compatibility by the applicant’s school principal and/or the appropriate department of LMSD’s Office of Curriculum and Instruction.
- Grants may be fully funded, partially funded or not funded based upon the consensus of the Grant Review Committee.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Maximum award for any grant is $1,000. There is no minimum dollar value for approved awards. All awards will be rounded up to the nearest dollar.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Reimbursement will be paid from receipts ONLY. Quotes are not an acceptable form of receipt.
- If funds are not spent all at one time, two reimbursement requests can be made by a teacher during the course of the school year.
- 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.
All LMSD Home and School Associations generously contributed to the Interschool Council Mini Grant Program. This year’s program resulted in the funding of 29 projects, of which 13 were fully funded and 16 were partially funded, for a total amount of $9,500. A special thank you to the members of the Mini Grant Review Committee for their thoughtful input in awarding the following projects:
In the Elementary Schools, the following ISC Mini Grants have been awarded to enrich our youngest LMSD students:
- Belmont Hills: Kathleen Sullivan’s Belmont Hills Relaxation Station will provide relief from stress and anxiety crisis in our schools. Anxiety, a sense of fear and worry, is the most common mental health challenge facing children, teens and adults. School nurses see students struggling with various levels and types of anxiety and stress daily. We need many tools in our toolbox so we can help the students to become stress smart and develop their own coping tools for anxiety that fits their unique needs. Total funding $405
- Cynwyd: Meggie Bayliss’s The Wiggles! will help in providing alternative seat options for those in need of alternative seating. Total funding $163.95
- Cynwyd: Gina Felice’s Mindfulness will provide A Classroom Calming Corner, a quiet area of the room equipped with soft furnishings and soothing materials to help a student de-escalate when upset. Total funding $250
- Cynwyd: Megan Young’s Growing the Hearts & the Minds of my First Grade Learners will provide picture books featuring main characters where young readers can relate to, or animals, which many children find appealing due to their childlike qualities and personalities—all facing the sorts of challenges that children are learning to work through in their daily lives. Followed by whole class discussion or by partner or small group sharing. These discussions provide students with an opportunity to pose questions that will reinforce SEL concepts to the class. More than ever after COVID-19, our students have faced trauma, missed milestones in social development and need to talk about their feelings. When students take an active role in creating a safe environment they feel more comfortable talking about learning, taking risks, and being challenged; and when students learn strategies for having meaningful conversations w/ classmates, they are better equipped to face difficult situations and challenging interactions outside the classroom. Total funding $514.69
- Gladwyne: Elena Habel’s Yoga and Mindfulness for Kindergarten will provide Yoga & Mindfulness Supplies for daily practice. Total funding $382
- Gladwyne: Jenn Gilbert’s Guys Read- 2nd grade will provide reading materials that specifically appeal to boys for our classrooms. We hope that by making attractive and motivational texts available to boys in our classrooms, we can motivate some of our more reluctant male readers to read more often, subsequently bettering themselves as readers. Total funding $250
- Gladwyne: Jennifer Gilbert’s Multicultural Literature Read Alouds will provide multicultural read alouds as well as classroom library choices. Total funding $362.34
- Gladwyne: Jenn Gilbert’s Tubaloos for Fluency will provide Listening devices to build students' fluency. Total funding $149.98
- Gladwyne: Samantha Mancini’s STEM in a Box Kindergarten student will be able to sign out a "STEM in a BOX" bin once per month to complete the activity at home with their parents/families. Total funding $319.78
- Merion: Dr. Jessica Segal’s Social Skills and Sensory Sensations will provide Social Pragmatic Language games, activities and brain-teasers to improve students' social reciprocity skills. Sensory materials to enhance student's ability to regulate their sensory systems. Total funding $720
- Penn Valley: Jennie Hannig’s Sensory Library will support the development of a sensory/behavioral supports toolkit for general education teachers. The tools in the kit will be shared with teachers coming to achievement team to request supports and ideas for students exhibiting fine motor needs, minor sensory needs, emotional regulation options, and executive functioning concerns. The collection will be shared based on the outcomes of achievement team meetings and it's success will be tracked through data collection from teachers/staff utilizing the tools. Total funding $500.
- Penn Valley: Krystle Feigenbaum’s Flexible Learning Desks will support students' need to get out of their desk throughout the day to meet with the teacher, work safely with classmates, move their learning outside, or just have a change of scenery. The Surf Portable Lap Desk would allow students a comfortable set up to allow for this to happen at a safe distance from each other. Total funding $200
- Penn Valley: Heather Flynn’s Fun With Words will provide Scrabble games to improve vocabulary and spelling. Total funding $247.02
- Penn Wynne: Lisa Isenberg’s 4th Grade Math Games will provide Math/STEM Games to enrich and transform curriculum for 4th Grade Students. Total funding $329.38
In our Middle Schools, ISC Mini Grants will benefit students through the following awards:
- Bala Cynwyd: Beth Pavletich’s Promote Literacy will support an initiative to maintain an updated classroom library for kids to borrow throughout the year. Last year, with the help of ISC, we started our classroom libraries using titles recommended from our school librarian. We would like to continue our efforts and add books that have won Newberry awards as well as honorary awards. It is evident that this initiative have increased the amount of reading our students are doing due to the updated titles. Total funding $320
- Bala Cynwyd: Edward O'Brien’s Desmos Stylus will provide Stylus pens for students to be able to coherently show math work on touch screens. Total funding $305.10
- Welsh Valley: Kevin Ginsberg’s Music in the Classroom will provide Key Digital Piano and keyboard stand. Students will use this to create original music, and scoring for original videos and movies that they've created. Total funding $350
- Bala Cynwyd: Meghann Morrison’s Promoting Literacy Engagement Through Nonfiction Text will support the initiative to maintain an updated classroom library for kids to borrow from throughout the year. Our collection of nonfiction books will include a more diverse range of stories and life experiences. Total funding $310
- Welsh Valley: Sarah Rittenhouse’s Exploring Peru! will provide support to advanced learners in Spanish class in an independent reading project. Total funding $142
- Welsh Valley: Johanna Marsala’s Exploring Spain through novel reading will provide support to intermediate learners in Spanish class in an independent reading project. Total funding $190
- Welsh Valley: Johanna Marsala’s The Mysteries of Picasso and Ancient Mayan Ruins will provide support to novice learners in Spanish class in differentiated reading groups. Total funding $195
In our high schools, ISC Mini Grants will support these innovative projects:
- Harriton: Nyanthen Bantoe’s NSBE Jr. STEM Mentoring Program will support Members of Harriton NSBE Jr. Club in mentoring students of color at Penn Valley, Gladwyne, Belmont Hills and Penn Wynne over a period of 6 weeks exposing them to various STEM activities. Total funding $999
- Harriton: Christine Kiley’s Sitting is the new Smoking (part 2) will support students to have the option to stand in certain areas of the classroom during class activities that are traditionally seated. Many students sit most of the day, and this will allow for increased activity level. Also, many labs are performed in conjunction with laptop use, and this will serve to get the laptop up and off the regular lab table surface (much safer from accidental spills). Total funding $299.88
- Harriton: Christine Kiley’s Visualizing the Molecular World - chromosomes and nucleotides Students can individually connect chromosomes at the microscopic and molecular scales AND model replication, transcription and biotechnology concepts with hands-on models. Total funding $273.96
- Lower Merion: Carl Cortez’s Chess will promote patient problem solving, critical thinking, and thorough planning to be successful; all skills required in mathematics. With exposure to chess and chess boards, students can take a brief pause from material and focus on something that is constructive and pushes their brain to think differently. Total funding $100
- Lower Merion: Michele Rodriguez’s Sensory Spot for HS level High-Functioning Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder will provide Sensory materials for students to use in the ISL classroom for students with ASD. Total funding $488.57
- Lower Merion: David Clark’s Sleeping Mat Project High School Autism Support and Specialized Learning Support Programs will create sleeping mats from used (clean) plastic bags to distribute to homeless residents in the greater Philadelphia area. Total funding $336.24
- Lower Merion: David Clark’s Balance Boards for Autistic Support Students in the LMHS Autism Support Program will use standing balance boards to improve stability and stamina for standing tasks to prepare for the post-secondary world. Total funding $335.19
- Lower Merion: Heather Van Horn’s Students with Sensory needs will provide Students with sensory needs- This Mario Tennis Aces - Nintendo Switch would be another option for our students to get movement.Total funding $60