The Carlisle Education Foundation has funded over $1 million in new initiatives, pilot programs, professional development and technology. Some grants are one-time expenditures like the Rosetta Stone software for World Languages or microscopes, but sometimes this funding spans multiple years. Below are examples of multi-year commitments that have profoundly enriched teaching and learning at the Carlisle School.
Library to Learning Commons
In 2016 the Carlisle Education Foundation announced completion of The Next Chapter: Library to Learning Commons initiative. The project’s goal was to renew the Carlisle Public School Library and create a hub for innovation, collaboration and creativity, transforming it from a traditional school library to a dynamic learning commons. The new commons has become a kid-friendly, welcoming center that is flexible enough to meet the differing needs of those who use the space. Initial renovations included a space makeover with new paint and carpeting, mobile shelving units, and age-appropriate adjustable furniture. The project was completed with the installation state-of-the-art technology including laptops and tablets to create a flexible and fluid collaborative environment for all to enjoy.
Engineering Room Support: Minds Matter Campaign
The Carlisle Education Foundation successfully completed a $150,000 campaign to support furnishing and stocking the new engineering room. Funds raised have been used to purchase specialized tables and storage units for the room as well as educational materials and equipment such as robotics kits that have been used to integrate engineering into the general science curriculum at every grade level. In addition, CEF raised funds to hire a part time engineering consultant to advise on purchases for the room and assist faculty with engineering curriculum. This position has now become part of the school budget and the curriculum guidance integral to teachers and students alike.
Mobile Computer Carts
Since 1990, CEF has funded major technology initiatives but none have so directly touched the students. Our first auction funded the first mobile computer cart (furnished with 25 Mac laptops, a wireless hub, printer and server) and the school now has 203 laptops on 8 carts. With a bit of sharing, we are almost at our goal of a cart for each grade level. The technology has informed every aspect of their learning from on-line match tools, web-based geography puzzles, digital scavenger hunts, customized reading programs, systems modeling, to name just a few. Ask your children how they are using laptops in their classrooms.
Electronic White Boards
The 2006 auction funded the school’s first two electronic white boards, and it now has 27! The first ones went to middle school teachers since every student would be cycled through their classrooms and also white-board savvy for high school (where each classroom has one). Now you can find them throughout the school, and every teacher wants one! The proposed new school building will have one in each kindergarten and first grade classroom. Teachers remark that they can’t imagine teaching without one anymore.
K-5th Grade World Language Program
A goal in introducing a world language to younger students was to help them develop an ear for another language, an awareness, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures. Students who study language early have a far greater chance of reaching proficiency and fluency (and also pick it up far faster than older students). After surveying parents, Spanish was chosen and the CEF funded a two-year pilot program beginning in 2006-2007, to research, introduce and implement Spanish in grades K-5. It is still going strong and Carlisle is one of the leading schools in Massachusetts in this area.
Chinese Language for Middle School
In 2005-2006, the CEF funded a pilot program introducing Chinese into the middle school. As Superintendent Marie Doyle said, “The United States is already a partner in a global economy. As our students prepare for a different workforce in the twenty-first century, it is important that our future leaders know how to speak Mandarin and understand the Chinese culture. I am deeply committed to the study of Chinese so that more of Carlisle’s children today are prepared to be leaders of the world tomorrow.” The Concord Carlisle High School had to modify its Chinese curriculum to be ready for our children and will do so again in 2010-2011. For the first time, it is offering an advanced Chinese class to accommodate our experienced students. As one junior, Bo Graham, a member of the first class of Chinese learners said, “The study of Chinese has helped shape my life. I plan on continuing classes through college and look towards a career in international business.”
Bringing the World to Carlisle with Primary Source
The CEF has funded the school’s membership to Primary Source in numerous years. Primary Source promotes history and humanities education by connecting K-12 educators to people and cultures throughout the world. It provides seminars, study tours, institutes and courses throughout the area. It also houses a vast library for educators to gather materials for use in their classrooms. Since 2004, 10 teachers have enrolled in intensive preparatory coursework and traveled to China with other educators, and two teachers have followed the same program and traveled to Ghana (the travel programs are subsidized by Primary Source). Carlisle educators have also taken over 35 courses through this program.