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 2017/18
- 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 gererously contributed to the Interschool Council Mini Grant Program. This year’s program resulted in the funding of 38 projects, of which 13 were fully and 25 were partially funded, for a total amount of $12,812. 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:
- ALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS will benefit from Dawn Chapman and Karen Allen’s English Language Development Storytelling Kits. These kits will be used to help English learners develop skills to become more fluent and confident.
- At BELMONT HILLS ELEMENTARY, Ellen Cohen’s Social and Character Development Materials will be used to re-enforce lesson plans and address social-emotional health and educational needs of students.
- At BELMONT HILLS ELEMENTARY, Bobbie Moore and Christine Prestianne will celebrate diversity through 3 to 4 Cultural Awareness Galleries to be showcased in different areas of the school.
- At BELMONT HILLS ELEMENTARY, Deb Strickland will install sensory wall panels to help with sensory regulation for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- At BELMONT HILLS ELEMENTARY, Vinetta Baselice will use funds to engage, enhance and enrich the minds of students with ASD via the Alert program for students with autism and fidget cubes.
- At BELMONT HILLS ELEMENTARY, Barbara Johnson will work with her Challenge students on a Junior Solar Sprint Competition Design challenge of solar cars.
- At BELMONT HILLS ELEMENTARY, Colleen Trolio’s Zones of Regulation Framework for special education/student classes will assist students with identifying feelings and work with self-regulation.
- At BELMONT HILLS ELEMENTARY, Kimberly Phillips ‘ Littlebits Make Big Things Happen brings STEM learning into the classroom through hands-on experience with two Littlebits STEM sets.
- At CYNWYD ELEMENTARY, John Keeler, Michael Tavini and Shayna Ash will teach their students about local ecosystems through a Living Systems Come To Life Interactive Mural.
- At CYNWYD ELEMENTARY, Beth Persofsky and Roe Fulmer‘s students will work with their 1st Grade Buddies Supplies on special STEM projects.
- At CYNWYD ELEMENTARY, Lisa Ruzzi and Natalie Thibault will use various mindfulness supplies for their Mindfulness in the Morning Yoga before school program.
- At CYNWYD ELEMENTARY, Michael Tavani ‘s We, The Earth - Integrated Curriculum for Meaningful Learning Class program will use sets of novels to connect to the theme of We, The Earth.
- At CYNWYD ELEMENTARY, Natalie Thibault and Karen Salladino will use a Go Pro Camera to help students explore the world of video production.
- At CYNWYD ELEMENTARY, Erin Carrington and Meggie Hughes’ students will Bounce, Wiggle and Learn with the purchase of balance ball chairs.
- At CYNWYD ELEMENTARY, Debbie Murphy’s Beebot Coding Program Bee will help students with sequencing, estimation and problem-solving.
- At CYNWYD ELEMENTARY, Debbie Murphy will encourage students critical thinking, creativity and collaboration with the purchase of: a Design Thinking Project Maze stunts, Keva Contraptions, Magna Tiles and Snap Circuits.
- At CYNWYD ELEMENTARY, Michael Tavani ‘s Mimicking Nature: Hydroponic Gardening in the Classroom project will enable students to construct and maintain hydroponic gardens in the classroom.
- At GLADWYNE ELEMENTARY, Riva Rothenberger, Eileen McAnally and Marisa Santangelo will have their students Boppin’ with the Bee Bots using a robot system to teach sequencing, estimation and problem solving.
- At GLADWYNE ELEMENTARY, Jen Gilbert will have an in-class STEM Camp for hands-on experiments.
- At MERION ELEMENTARY, Shelly Brazina, Margie Mora, Jackie Gaines, Deb Dion and Stephanie Moon will work with students to understand the "farm to table" concept through their Aero Garden Harvest Hydroponic Gardening project.
- At MERION ELEMENTARY, Marita McCarthy will implement a cloud-based music creation program.
- At MERION ELEMENTARY, Jessica Segal’s Regulating Our Senses - Part Two will add an assortment of therapeutic, sensory-based materials for Autistic Support in the classroom.
- At PENN VALLEY ELEMENTARY, Chris Vaccaro will add a mobile hydroponic system in the classroom.
- At PENN WYNNE ELEMENTARY, Lacey Schmidt’s Yoga and Mindfulness Yoga program will add yoga mats to the classroom/school.
- At PENN WYNNE ELEMENTARY, Lisa Isenberg will upgrade Guided Math Centers by offering students additional options to practice their math skills.
- At PENN WYNNE ELEMENTARY, Zac Seitz will use Mountain Math kits to enhance student math review.
- At PENN WYNNE ELEMENTARY, Lauren Seaman’s will add the “Focus on STEM” digital STEM curriculum to her class to build their knowledge in both science and math.
In our Middles Schools, ISC Mini Grants are benefitting students through the following awards:
- At BALA CYNWYD MIDDLE SCHOOL, Leslie Bullitt, Eileen Evans, Cristina Gancarz and Kelly McDermott will purchase two award-winning Spanish documentaies that will motivate and inspire Spanish students.
- At WELSH VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL, Matt Wyatt will add Pulse Bars to health class so students can discover the benefit of exercising in different heart rate zones and experience real life application of math concepts.
- At WELSH VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL, Laurie Hirshfield will teach students coding through letters of their name created on a beaded binary bracelet.
- At WELSH VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL, Karyn Flocco’s Coffee Corner Café will receive supplies in support of a bi-weekly coffee shop run by the Autistic Support Program.
- At WELSH VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL, Matt Birch will plant a garden to attract Monarch Butterflies for students to study.
And the ISC Mini Grant Program will fund these amazing projects in LM High Schools:
- At HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL, Michael Tudor will use 6 high-powered compact light microscopes in his classes to enhance laboratory activities as part of the Biology curriculum.
- At HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL, Dan Imaizumi, Sarah Harvey and Mike Stoloski will enhance CP, Honors and AP Physics classes by building a functional physics maker space.
- At HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL, Andrea Wilson-Harvey’s SAGE (Students Advocating for Gender Equality) Club will enhance their awareness through the purchase multiple books and videos.
- At HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL, Christine Kiley will use DNA Discovery Models with magnets to help students accurately visualize DNA molecules.
- At HARRITON HIGH SCHOOL, Nyanthen Bantoe will purchase materials for meetings with elementary students to enhance mentoring and STEM activities via the NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers Jr. Chapter).
- At LOWER MERION HIGH SCHOOL, Rosemary Ryan and Patricia Berry will install an aquarium in conjunction with their Health Awareness program.