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 2018/19, the ISC Mini Grant Program received 39 applications and awarded $13,000 to fund 28 projects.
Every elementary, middle and high school in the District received at least one mini grant ranging from $100 to $1000, with awards averaging $464. Last year's funding was provided by the ten Home & School Associations and the Education Foundation of Lower Merion.
APPLICATION PROCESS AND TIMETABLE
Week of January 28, 2019 - 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.
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
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 Laura Banchero, ISC Mini Grant Chair via email at ISCMiniGrants@gmail.com.
April 2019 - 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 2019 - 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 2018/19
- 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 not penalized for submitting multiple grant applications. It is a blind review process.
- 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.
- All awards will be rounded up to the nearest dollar.
- 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.
- 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 the 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, several 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.
ISC Mini Grant Application Guidelines 2018-19.docx
All LMSD Home and School Associations and the Education Foundation of Lower Merion generously contributed to the Interschool Council Mini Grant Program. This year’s program resulted in the funding of 28 projects, of which 20 were fully and 8 were partially funded, for a total amount of $12,800. A special thank you to the members of the Mini Grant Review Committee for all of their insightful 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 ELEMENTARY: Kristin Lawson’s LEGO STEM project will provide LEGO STEM kits for students to be able to explore and challenge themselves during their free time. Total Funding: $457
- CYNWYD ELEMENTARY: Michael Tavani’s "Seen vs. Unseen" - Integrated Curriculum for Meaningful Learning will add an element of art to his integrated lesson plan, allowing students to express and better understand their perceptions of the world. Total Funding: $350
- CYNWYD ELEMENTARY: Karen Salladino’s Intersection of Art and Science Mural will create a mural with a focus on the intersection of art and science. Total Funding: $500
- GLADWYNE ELEMENTARY: Rebecca Jones’s Beat Blocks: Building Creative Minds Through Music will use Mega Blocks to teach rhythm and note values in different meters to young musicians. Total Funding: $158
- GLADWYNE ELEMENTARY: Samantha Mancini’s Monarch KinderGARDEN will receive a hose to water the plants that attract butterflies in the Kindergarten playground. Total Funding: $98
- GLADWYNE ELEMENTARY: Riva Rothenberger’s STEM Bins will provide plastic containers filled with simple engineering manipulatives to use with open ended STEM activities. Total Funding: $130
- GLADWYNE ELEMENTARY: Melissa Stagliano’s SuperFlex: A Super Hero Social Thinking Curriculum will help first grade teachers provide strategies to effectively develop positive and healthy social skills. Total Funding: $499
- MERION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Wendy Phillips’s Increasing Students Social and Emotional Development through Bibliotherapy will purchase books to support student's social and emotional development in both special education and two general education classrooms. Total Funding: $308
- MERION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Alexis Vastardis’s Exploring Social Skills will provide students with Autism materials to supplement the social thinking curriculum with creative avenues to practice, review, enrich and extend existing curriculum. Total Funding: $650
- MERION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Alexis Vastardis’s Social Thinking Extension will provide students with Autism materials that supplement the current social thinking curriculum to help them develop their social-emotional thinking skills. Total Funding: $500
- PENN VALLEY ELEMENTARY: Carol Burgos’ Jumbie Jam Steel Drum Band will utilize steel drums for instructional use in music classes, chorus concerts and school musicals. Total Funding: $960
- PENN VALLEY ELEMENTARY: Christopher Vaccaro’s Hydroponic Gardening in the Classroom - Part 2 will add a mobile hydroponic system to the current garden, teaching students about sustainable practices. Total Funding: $152
- PENN WYNNE ELEMENTARY: Lisa Isenberg’s Lego Wall will expand a makerspace area to include a Lego wall for additional student expression and exploration. Total Funding: $225
- PENN WYNNE ELEMENTARY: Cindy Murray’s Flexible Seating will provide various seating options to encourage a cooperative and engaging learning environment. Total Funding: $758
- PENN WYNNE ELEMENTARY: Brahin Tabb’s Music Therapy in Library will purchase a CD music system for the library to promote a calming environment for students. Total Funding: $180
In our Middles Schools, ISC Mini Grants are benefitting students through the following awards:
- BALA CYNWYD MIDDLE SCHOOL: Katie Sullivan’s Relaxation and Wellness in Middle School will create a calm, comfortable waiting area with unique puzzles, fidgets and sensory relaxation tools for students visiting the health office. Total Funding: $461
- WELSH VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL: Carol Chung’s Sensory Tools will utilize various sensory integration tools to increase engagement and reduce hyperactivity in Special Ed population at the school. Total Funding: $467
- WELSH VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL: Sarah Rittenhouse’s Conversational Jenga will enable students in class to practice speaking in their target language and engage kinesthetic learners through Jenga. Total Funding: $130
- WELSH VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL: Kevin Ginsberg’s Movie Voice Overs will purchase a professional broadcasting and recording microphone set for students to create podcast book reviews, original songs and a movie based on a current social issue. Total Funding: $299
- WELSH VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL: Michael Sullivan’s Aviation Communications will add pilot communications to his current aviation program. Total Funding: $750
And the ISC Mini Grant Program will fund these amazing projects in LM High Schools:
- HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL: Laura Vogel’s 3D Solutions in Science will use a 3D printer to provide students with the opportunity to innovate in the field of science. Total Funding: $560
- HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL: Laura Vogel’s Learning Self Expression and Coding with Robots will use technology for autistic support classes allowing them to learn basic coding and will support students self expression and an introduction to the robotics. Total Funding: $498
- HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL: Melissa Hecht’s Flow of Genetic Information will provide Genetic Flow of Information kits which provide hands on experience for students while understanding the process of reading, transcribing and translating DNA into a protein. Total Funding: $589
- HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL: Christine Kiley’s DNA Discovery will use DNA Discovery kits to provide accurate visualization and hands on experience with the structure of DNA. Total Funding: $598
- HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL: Nyanthen Bantone’s NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers Jr. Chapter) will purchase starter STEM kits so NSBE High School student mentors can work on various projects with elementary students. Total Funding: $750
- LOWER MERION HIGH SCHOOL: Tom Reed’s buildOn 100 Hours of Service Project will purchase plaques recognizing students who achieve 100+ hours of service throughout the school year. Total Funding: $800
- LOWER MERION HIGH SCHOOL: Laura Stiebitz’s Costumes and Props for Teaching "Romeo and Juliet" will use props and costumes to help students engage more deeply with Shakespeare. Total Funding: $375
- LOWER MERION HIGH SCHOOL: Taryn Stevens’s Boogie Boards for Daily Informative Assessments will provide the ability for quick questions/review with students during Biology class while engaging them through instant feedback. Total Funding: $598