Update: Parents Association Enrichment Grants 2018-2019
Twelve proposals submitted by Bullis faculty were recently approved for grant support by the Parents Association (PA). These exciting projects will be funded by the PA as well as by additional private funding. "We are grateful to the Parents Association for supporting our talented faculty, who continuously strive to create innovative and interdisciplinary opportunities for our students," says Lisa Vardi, director of cross-divisional curriculum. "These generous grants are invaluable as we work to infuse the Bullis core academic values in all that we do."
Here's an overview of the funded projects:
- Peaceful Places & Gathering Spaces (LS): Two comfortable, welcoming, and age-appropriate gathering spaces for Lower School students would be created on the second folor of South Hall. These bright and inviting spaces would be furnished with small benches, bean bag chairs, and bookshelves. Lower School students will have a pleasant spot to gather for reading discussions and brainstorming activities in small groups, enhancing a hallmark approach of the Lower School program.
- The Eye of the Whale - Artist and Writer Residency with Jennifer O'Connell (LS): Bethesda author and illustrator Jennifer O'Connell is an experienced presenter and workshop leader who uses her picture book, Eye of the Whale, to teach children about illustration, the writing and publishing process, and compassion in action through presentations and hands-on workshops. Lower School students will create a picture book of their own and present them at the end of this one-week residency.
- Lower School Interactive Design Installation (LS): Lower School design classes in the Discovery Center reinforce design thinking exercises, creative coding activities and engineering challenges for younger students in a combination of directed and independent activities that encourage creativity and critical thinking as well as skills that invite innovation. The funded program would create more opportunities for independent exploration and collaborative problem-solving by the installation of a magnetic board that will encourage interactive design and exploration to complement and support class challenges. The new system would infuse learning with play and allow students to explore STEM concepts more deeply in an age- and grade-appropriate manner.
- Building Classroom Libraries (MS): To support student learning, enjoyable free-choice reading in the Middle School, and their initiative to create a "Culture of Readers," this grant will allow teachers to purchase new novels to supply MS classrooms for immediate student use.
- RainForest ArtLink - Creative Connections Program (An International Cultural Education Organization) (MS): RainForest ArtLink is an international exchange program that encourages student awareness, understanding, and appreciation of other cultures as well as their own. The work builds bridges between American students and their international peers through exchanging art and ideas. Sixth-grade Spanish classes will connect with an equivalent class in the Guatemalan or Costa Rican Rainforest. Both classes will create and exchange art, allowing them to gain new insights into their own and the partner culture.
- iParent 101 with Dr. Adam Pletter (MS): Local child psychologist Dr. Adam Plette created iParent101 to help parents learn to incorporate the strategies and tactics he recommends in his clinical practice. In these workshops, Dr. Pletter shows parents how to use the built-in restrictions of electronic devices, paired with age-appropriate parental restrictions, to help children and teens balance and manage appropriate and safe technology use. His program is based on real-life parenting issues. Last year, Dr. Pletter presented his workshop Bullis 7th grade parents. This year the program could be offered for 7th and 8th grade parents.
- Building Empathy and Strong Relationships in Advisory (MS/US): As part of an ongoing effort to better equip our advisors to deliver quality advisory program and experience for our students, a staff member from the Stanley H. King Counseling Institute will facilitate training workshops. At least 30 Bullis staff members who serve as advisors in the Upper and Middle Schools will be trained to effectively build their advising capacity, benefiting as many as 300 students.
- DiscoverMe, RecoverMe (US): This organization uses African storytelling traditions to help people tell their own stories. Through workshops and sessions, the presenters help participants learn to develop and craft their narrative and story. Communication and creativity through storytelling will help students to find their voice and develop critical thinking, collaboration, and creative thinking.
- Shakespeare in Action Workshops at the Folger Theatre's Shakespeare Library (US): This exciting learning program through the Folger brings Shakespeare's plays to life. Folger Library docents use active learning techniques to explore Shakespearean plays, and performance-based learning sessions help students gain an appreciation for Shakespeare's timeless themes, relatable characters, and language. Bullis 12th grade students read and study Hamlet, and this unit will allow them to examine how the play questions humanity, reason, choice and other themes, and push them to ask deeper questions.
- Enhancing Student Engagement through 360° Virtual Reality Tours (LS/MS/US): In 2016, Bullis was selected to participate in a Google Expedition Virtual Reality Beta Program, an immersive learning and teaching tool that allows the experiencing of VR trips and augmented reality objects. This year, the funded program will allow Bullis teachers to create a pilot program to explore how students can use this technology to enhance their educational experience, and empower them to engage in real-world communications strategies and presentations. Equipment would be purchased, and teachers would begin to work with students to create educational tours with Tour Creator, which allows narrative and images to be captured and coordinated. The goal is to extend the program school-wide.
- Upstander International Motivational Speaker Dr. Omekongo Dibinga (LS/MS/US): Dr. Omekongo's message of being a Upstander is innovative and engaging, using music and poetry to inspire students as he talks about his humble beginnings and how he became an internationally honored and respected speaker on topics of youth leadership an aspects of humanties and global studies as well as the arts and sciences. He would address the entire school and his positive, spirited message would be continued in counseling and advisory sessions to enhance school spirit and unity.
- Cultural Performances Highlighting Hispanic Culture for Global Village (LS/MS/US): This program will bring two professional performers to the Global Village, an Afro-Brazilian drummer/dancer troupe and a flamenco guitarist and flamenco dancer, who will perform and conduct workshops for students. Upper School students will also have a chance to enjoy the performances. Both performance groups will highlight their rich cultures and the uses of dance and music, as well as linguistic, cultural, historical, and geographic diversity.
LS = Lower School
MS = Middle School
UP = Upper School