Grant Recipients


Jamie Hansen and Michele Sperber for Ozobots for Grades K-2 STEM: Using simple programming techniques (from drawing lines on paper to using iPad commands for speed, direction, etc.), Ozobot programmable robots will give students the opportunity to use critical thinking and perseverance to solve problems in a fun and engaging way. The robots come with pre-developed lessons that are linked to the NYS Science Learning Standards.

Jennifer Spoor for Instructional Play Materials for First Grade: As an alternative to “Skill and Drill” instruction, this grant will to provide first grade teachers with resources that will encourage purposeful play. Students will use puppets during ELA lessons to act out portions of a book. Students will also use math games to improve their fact fluency and build endurance. Finally, students would have access to various building materials to help during STEM activities allowing for hands-on problem solving.

Carrie Jackson for Drum Circle Materials for Elementary Music and Chorus Elementary: Students throughout the district will have an opportunity to use World Percussion Instruments (WPI). Using items from five-gallon buckets to 24-inch Djembes, students will take part in various drum circles to immerse themselves in world cultures and communities, gaining a deeper understanding of their rhythms, dance, music and instruments.

Talia Brower, Diana Kakaty, Lynne McGee, Michele Slone, & Alexandra Zanetti for a Sensory Room for Elementary Students: The room will include items such as interactive bubble tubes and switches, fiber optic light strands, and glow panels. These items, in conjunction with other purchased materials will help to outfit a sensory room. The room will be a place where students in distress can deescalate safely so they can return to their classroom.

Colleen Belanger for Heart Rate Monitors for Physical Education Students: This grant will will supply high school PE students with heart rate monitors to wear during class. As an alternative to traditional assessments, the teacher will use the data to assess students on their physical effort and growth over time.

Erin Bell for Interactive Science Software: This grant would provide chemistry laboratory software to high school students. The program (Pivot Interactives) provides online simulations of experiments that are either done in the HS laboratory, or are too dangerous or expensive to conduct in school. Not only are students able to enhance their learning with these simulations, but they also provide an alternative learning environment for students unable to attend school due to medical conditions.

Jennifer McGuinness for Standing Desks for the Maple Avenue Learning Center: This grant would help to provide standing desks and stools to Maple Ave students in the Learning Center. These desks and stools provide an alternative furniture choice for students to give the Learning Center a different look and feel than a traditional classroom.


Jake Zanetti for Golf in Elementary Physical Education Classes in the amount of $4,994. This grant will pay for equipment and training for P.E. teachers to provide beginning golf lessons to elementary students. Students would drive “birdie balls” into an inflatable hippo, chip velcro balls onto a target, and putt golf balls on a tic-tac-toe grid.

Ellen Zanetti for a Flexible Learning Space at Dorothy Nolan Elementary School Funding in the amount of $5,555. This grant will cover the (partial) costs of equipping rooms with flexible furniture to help support collaboration among students and new classroom practices developed for project-based learning.

Lisa Compositor and Rebekah Taormina for a Flexible Learning Space at Lake Avenue Elementary School in the amount of $4,752. Teachers will use this funding to purchase movement-friendly furniture that would help students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They are also looking to provide a more visual learning space with magnetic whiteboards.

Starrla Williams for a “Calm Corner” for Special Education Students in the amount of $5,493. The grant will help purchase furniture and reusable supplies/ equipment to create a “calm corner” for students to go when they feel anxious in the traditional classroom. This is particularly helpful for students with sensory issues.

Julie Cox, Jennifer Plourde, Anthony Spackmann and Shane Zanetti for Breakout Kits for Cross-Curricular Lessons at the High School in the amount of $956. The teachers in the SPRING program at the high school will use the grant funds to purchase breakout boxes and corresponding professional development to create interactive lessons that have students collaboratively solve puzzles.

Claire Attardo & Mike Wilson for iPads for Digital Writing and Publishing at Division Street Elementary School in the amount of $5,250. This grant will be used to purchase a new set of iPads to help with small group push-in services in reading where students create original literary works and publish them.


Sherry Riese for Hurricane Simulation materials for Natural Disasters classes at Saratoga Springs High School in the amount of $2,517.35.  Through this hands-on activity, students will design and create a hurricane simulation that would incorporate the high winds, heavy rains, and storm surge associated with a hurricane in a coastal area.  

Meaghan Bellard and Brian Rhodes For Genius Hour materials for the Forensics program at Saratoga Springs High School in the amount of $5,000. Students will use the materials purchased with this grant to conduct research, sketch crime scenes, and collect evidence, video creation and imaging to become deeply immersed in the act of “doing” science. 

Jeremy Haas for the second phase of the High School Sustainability Park in the amount of $5,300.  Funding will be used to construct a composting facility and raised garden beds with covers; both central to the function of the Sustainability Park.

Rebecca Pipino for Morning Math Vex Robotics Super Kits in the amount of $3,956.63.  The Morning Math Program at Caroline Elementary School began three years ago and has grown to include 28 students many who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, receive AIS and/or special education services.  The funds will be used to purchase a classroom bundle (12) of Vex Robotics Kits which will be used to expose these students to enrichment opportunities they might not be able to access otherwise.

Maureen Mooney for Playaway BookPacks for Caroline Street Elementary School Library in the amount of $3,573.55.  Playaways are individual devices that contain the recording of a story.  Paired with a companion novel, Playaways allow students to gain skills by following along with the recording as they read.  

Bridgette Gallagher for a pop-up performance space at Saratoga Springs High School in the amount of $1606.29.  The pop-up performance space is a grouping of several classroom items (backdrop, LED candles, Bluetooth speaker with microphone and stand, lightweight portable podium, small portable stage), which would be purchased with grant funding that can be used together to a make a performance space in any location in the school.  


Suzanne Barber for chanters and youth bagpipes for Maple Avenue Middle School in the amount of $3,420.  Middle school students will utilize practice chanters to learn basic notes and embellishments and then move on to real bagpipes.

Ashley Diamond for iPads Air 2s and an Apple TV in the amount of $5,598.89.  The new technology will support many projects at the Dorothy Nolan Elementary School Library including making movies, creating presentations, taking pictures, drawing animations, researching topics, and more to allow students to enhance personal learning and foster individual interests.

Julie Cox, Jennifer Plourde, Anthony Spackmann and Shane Zanetti for a DNA Mapping Project in the amount of $4,635.00.  The funds will provide National Geographic Genographic Project’s Geno 2.0 Kits to help students explore history and science as it relates to them and their ancient ancestral path.  At the core of this proposal is a DNA mapping program, which will provide each student with his or her own historical DNA markers.

Jeremy Haas to fund the first phase of a Sustainability Park materials in the amount of $2,700. The Sustainability Park will be located at Saratoga Springs High school and provide science students with problem-based learning opportunities and real world application of science principles as well as special education students with life and job skill experience.

Michael Gallagher (and EYE students) for the Educating Young Engineers supplies in the amount of $3,000.  Educating young Engineers will introduce new themes such as Architecture and Design into their Saturday Programs.  


Rina Bell, Jennifer Doughty, Lauren Hastings, Salli LoDato and Maureen Smith,for mathematics lending kits in the amount of $7,862.35. The mathematic lending kits include tools to support a variety of Common Core math lessons that first grade students can take home with them.

Cynthia Lee for steel drums in the amount of $10,000.  The grant will allow all Maple Avenue Middle School students the opportunity to use steel drums in music classes.

Toni Lynch for stability balls in the amount of $550.  The grant will provide a set of stability balls to a Division Street Elementary School Kindergarten classroom.  Stability Balls assist in improving attention, balance and posture when used in the classroom.

Rebecca Pipino for a set of iPad Minis in the amount of $4796.  The grant will provide a set of iPad Minis for Morning Math Group at Caroline Street Elementary School.  The IPads will be used for many math activities including teaching code.

John Scrivo for a Surface Pro 3 Tablet in the amount of $1023.57.  The grant will allow eighth grade Science students at Maple Avenue Middle School the opportunity to create screencasts, watch digital lessons, and complete real-time assessments.


Colleen Belanger for geocaching in Physical Education in the amount of $3,470​. The grant will allow Saratoga students the opportunity to explore geocaching and then work together to create their own.​​ Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor game using GPS-enabled devices.

Samantha Decker for iPads in Foreign Language in the amount of $5480. The grant will fund a set of iPads for the Maple Avenue Foreign Language Department. The iPads offer language students the opportunity to work creatively on projects in ways that are not possible on computers.

Judith Dorflinger and Dr. Greer Miller for The Little Passports Program in the amount of $3208.25.  The grant will fund the purchase Little Passport Kits and supplies for the Little Passports Program. The Little Passports program will celebrate Division Street Elementary School’s diversity by developing an educational program that fosters global awareness.

Bridgette Gallagher and Damian Ubriaco for “Our Saratoga Life” in the amount of $1,000.  The grant will provide recording equipment for the project “Our Saratoga Life.” Students will record podcasts and video podcasts that will become publishable so that the school district and community members can enjoy them.

Michael Gallagher and Educating Young Engineers (EYE) for the expansion of Educating Young Engineers in the amount of $1,000.  EYE held three sold-out Saturday engineering programs during the 2014-15 school year. The grant will help EYE expand their Saturday programming by providing assistance to families that cannot afford program fees.

Michael Gallagher and the Saratoga Inventor’s Club for The Nitinol Heat Engine in the amount of $5,000. The grant will provide half of the costs needed for the creation of a Nitinol Heat Engine. Nitinol is a Nickel and Titanium alloy which possesses special and unique properties that allow it to be trained to conform to certain shapes at specific temperatures. Technology students will exploit these properties for the purpose of energy conversion in an effort to develop a low cost, efficient, energy producing system.

Mary Anne Fantauzzi for The IRIS Center of Saratoga Springs High School in the amount of $514.73. IRIS is an acronym for “Immediate Reinforcement Increases Success”. The grant will help the IRIS Center purchase and install an interactive 27 x 6.5’ chalkboard painted wall​ to assist the teacher to be a mentor and coach. 

Dr. Greer Miller was awarded a grant of $2852 to fund materials and supplies for the STEM Lab at Division Street Elementary School.  The Division Street Stem Lab is still in development stages and is expected to be completed during the 2014-2015 school year. The STEM Lab will provide hands-on activities and materials that will benefit all students at the school. 

Albert Pickens, an elementary music teacher, was awarded a grant for $1890 to fund a Geyser Road Apple Orchard.  The project will teach elementary students the science behind how to grow and even clone apple trees


Jonathan Doyle, a sixth- and seventh-grade music teacher at Maple Avenue Middle School  was awarded a $1,477 grant to purchase ukuleles and instruction material for students.

Maura Neagu, a music teacher who works in four of the elementary schools, was awarded a grant of $1,000 to start a program called Engaging Girls, which helps introduce young girls to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Leanne Donolan, a 21st-Century Academy teacher,  was awarded a grant of $2000 to help fund a field trip to Washington, D.C.  After working with the company Garnet River in the spring, the academy students created a smartphone app detailing a Saratoga Springs walking tour. Now the students will collaborate with Garnet River again to make a walking-tour app for the nation’s capital.