AYER — Ayer Education Foundation (AEF) gives out grants each year for programs and other teaching tools in the town’s public schools.
Some grant recipients outlined what AEF funding has paid for at this month’s School Committee meeting.
First-grade teacher Ellen McCann called the grant she’d received a “godsend.” She noted the many extras AEF has provided, from programs to materials.
“I’m grateful they’re here,” she said.
Ayer Middle School librarian Peggy Twiss described how books purchased with an AEF grant last year helped stock the young readers’ nonfiction shelves. Thanks to this year’s grant, she said the biography section will get a much-needed update as well.
“It’s very old” she said.
Students come in asking for current biographies on contemporary sports figures, she said. “We’ve got plenty of Babe Ruth,” she said, but no current team stars.
In addition, she’s asking classroom teachers for input so new books fit curricular needs.
“The aim is to get a good cross-section ” she said.
Math teacher Amy Martone described a data-analysis program and other materials her AEF grant paid for.
“Kids look at data differently than adults do,” she said. “This is a real-world, interesting way” to tackle it.
One new program is “Tinker Plots.” Students can “get creative” with it, she said.
“It’s a dynamic way for kids to look at numbers,” she said.
AEF, a nonprofit organization, raises funds outside the school budget and infuses money to help teachers. Its stated aim is to augment the curriculum and enrich students’ educational and social experiences.
Teachers are encouraged to apply for grants annually. This year, the AEF bankroll is big enough to support two rounds of grant funding.
The number of applications is growing, said Assistant Superintendent of Schools Brian McDermott, and targets teachers are aiming for are impressive.
“The quality of the applications is terrific,” he said.