IEF-funded Programs: 2016-17 School Year

Each year, the IEF accepts two types of grant applications:

  1. Educator-Initiated Grants: Our District teachers and administrators submit proposals requesting funding for enrichment programs — in science, math, arts, technology and social responsibility – that are outside the limits of the District budget. Apply for a grant!
  2. Innovation Fund: Our District students submit proposals requesting funding for creative ideas and enrichment initiatives to benefit the District’s students.

Donate Now to help the IEF continue supporting critical programs that are integral to providing a well-rounded, dynamic learning experience for our children!

 2016/17 Educator-Initiated Programs

For the 2016/17 school year, the IEF proudly funded 19 educator-initiated programs, most of which have been supported by the IEF for more than 5 years and are now an integral part of schools’ curriculum.  Ask your child about the following IEF-supported educational programs they will have the benefit of experiencing this year:


  1. Storytelling with Folk (& Fairy) Tales (K-1st Grade) — This program provides an opportunity for students to experience firsthand how film is a story in motion. Students will learn strategies that film makers use to tell a story by viewing films and discussing what they learned in small groups. Students learn viewing and techniques of telling a story before they begin writing. The final project will be a personal narrative or realistic fiction publication writing by all students.
  2. Poster Maker (K-3 Grades) – This grant funded the purchase of a poster-size printer for Dows Lane Elementary School to create visual displays such as large print text for shared reading, large visuals of mathematical models used in Engage New York, reference charts for vocabulary in all areas, classroom and school display of Habits of Mind and other character education materials.
  3. Hands On Science (1st grade) — Science expert and educator, “Mr. Green” visits Dows Lane four times during the school year, to teach 90 minute programs in each 1st grade classroom. Programs include Facts of the Matter which is an expository look into how heat and cold changes the three forms of matter; Weather Your Right where the class makes tornadoes, touches “lightning”, forms clouds and learns by active experimentation that weather is created by pressure and temperature; Plantastic Plants that gets to the root of how plants work by showing photosynthesis in action, track the food chain, analyze tree rings, and perform experiments, and Me and Magnets which teaches students that magnets do more than just hold papers to the fridge – they learn how magnets work, build an electromagnet and discover their practical applications in everyday life. Students work individually and cooperatively on experiments and have an end product from each unit of study to take home.
  4. First-Grade Family Reading Night (1st Grade) – Dows Lane reading specialists, Ms. Barrett and Ms. Ferreri will facilitate an evening of co-reading, reading games and activities for first-graders and their families. Students and their parents/guardians will explore text-based activities that foster a love of reading and encourage on-going family reading time at home. At the conclusion of the evening, each family will receive a packet containing materials made during the event, as well as information for the parents with suggestions to support their children as readers at home.
  5. Hooked on Sonic Field Trip (2rd Grade) — In this “field trip” designed to be held in the classroom, Mr. Green will come to Dows Lane and bring the study of sound alive for students. Students will discover how sounds travels by conducting fun and informative experiments, working individually and cooperatively on at least five experiments related to sound.
  6. How Did Geography Shape Our City? (2nd Grade) — A history educator from the New York Historical Society will come into the classroom to bring the Social Studies Scope and Sequence to life for students. Over the course of their visits, students will examine, analyze, and discuss primary sources from the New York Historical Society’s collections. Using replicas of artifacts, works of art, cityscapes, historical maps and timelines, and documents spanning four centuries, they will do the work of historians as they building critical thinking skills and deepen their contact knowledge. Using the second grade hallway as a museum, each second grade class will display a bulletin board representing something learned from one of the sessions. Each class can have a student-lead presentation for parents as a culmination of what was learned.
  7. Third-Grade Family Math Night (3rd grade) – Dows Lane math specialist, Ms. Rosner will lead third-grade parents and students through an evening of hands-on activities, games, challenges and problem-solving to reinforce the importance of math in everyday life. The goal is for students to have a deeper appreciation of math while providing enriched learning time through family activities. At the conclusion of the evening, each family will receive a packet containing materials for games and activities played during the event, as well as information for parents on how to integrate math skills into daily life.
  8. Mad Month of Science (3rd Grade) — The New York Hall of Science will provide three unique, 45-minute hands-on science workshops designed to stimulate a deeper understanding of common science concepts. The workshops are: All Charged Up Electricity – discovering how electricity is produced, build simple circuits and experiment with conductors and insulators; Bright Ideas Light – learning how light can be produced and become familiar with some of its properties, and Micro-Madness Microbiology – using high-quality, portable microscopes to explore the world of animals and protists.
  9. Bringing Literature to Life (2nd Grade) — Renowned theatre expert and teaching artist, Peter Royston, will guide the 2nd graders through a 10-week interactive workshop on the theater process — from writing, rehearsing and performing, to understanding the imagination and excitement that fuels theater productions. The workshop will culminate with each class performing plays before their peers and ultimately their parents.  


  1. Stone Barns Field Trip (4th Grade) – All 4th graders will have the opportunity to visit Stone Barns, a working farm in Pocantico Hills, during three different seasons during the school year. Each visit will focus on different aspects of science curriculum, and students will be introduced to hands-on farm work and develop an understanding of ecological community-based food production. By visiting Stone Barn in different seasons, students will be able to observe how living things change and grow over time and how they adapt to weather and environment, and they will be able to witness the different stages of plant development and how planting in the fall culminates to large crops in the springtime.
  2. Clearwater Sail (5th Grade) – Students will take a 3-hour sail on the Hudson River aboard the Clearwater Sloop where they will learn about all aspects of river ecology and conservation.
  3. D.A.R.E. (5th Grade) – Students will participate in a 6-week program designed to help them recognize and resist the direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs. Along with teaching the students about the dangers of drugs, the program’s main objective is how to make healthy choices, such as making good friendship foundations and how to read into advertising.
  4. Child’s Play Residency (5th Grade) — Over a 12-week period, two teaching artists from Child’s Play NY (a theater-arts program for young people) will create a residency for 5th graders using creative drama and language arts to explore the cultures of Ancient Aztec/Incan/Mayan civilizations. Focus will be on connecting the academic work in-progress in the classroom into a visceral format where the students become engaged by stepping into their characters’ shoes, while leaving room for their own writing and improvisations within the script format. Students will have the opportunity to write monologues, two-three character scenes and generate improvisations during the course of the residency. The culmination of the project will be shown to parents either in the auditorium or in the classrooms during an evening performance, and/or to other grades during the day.
  5. Destination Imagination (4th – 6th Grade) —  This grant gives our students an opportunity to partake in a fun, hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, curiosity and courage through open-ended academic challenges. Throughout the year, participating student teams prepare for tournaments that showcase their solutions to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), fine arts and service learning challenges. After a successful debut of this program last year and its popularity among our 4th and 5th graders, we’ve extended it to 6th graders this year with the goal of preparing a total of 12 teams to compete on the state and potentially, national level.
  6. Peaceful/Mindful Garden (4th-5th Grade) — Conceived by students and championed by principal, Joyce Chapnick, this grant funded the creation of a garden sanctuary amidst the blacktops and playgrounds at Main Street School for children to engage in quieter unstructured activities or simply enjoy some downtime during recess. The professionally manicured garden, features a paved walkway lined by seasonal vegetables and native plants, and shaded seating areas.


  1. Shakespeare Residency (8th Grade) — Students will take part in this intense, on-your-feet exploration of Shakespeare’s languages and themes. The emphasis of the sessions will be to allow young people to be excited, not intimidated, by Shakespeare’s language using A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a foundation. Students will gain valuable insight into the genre’s complexity and the impact on the viewer, as well as the impact that Shakespeare’s themes and character development continue to have on modern culture. Using improvisation and tableaux, students will work in groups to create their own interpretation of scenes. The program will culminate with a final unique performance that will show students the scope of the play while respecting their own interpretations.
  2. Map It: A Geometric Journey of Washington, DC (8th Grade) — ArchForKids will facilitate five workshops designed to teach students the basics of scale and proportion as the foundation of architecture. Using a map of Washington, DC, students will develop a grid, plot the location of key landmarks by calculating their relative distances, and then build 3-D models of each iconic building, to be placed on the scaled floor map. The end product will be a 3-D map of Washington, DC spanning the middle school gym floor.


  1. Friends of the Irvington Library Spelling Bee (9-12th Grades) — Under the stewardship of Latin teacher, Ms. Cella, this grant will enable high school students to train and participate in the Friends of the Irvington Library Spelling Bee.
  2. Vernier Digital Sensors/Probes for Science (9-12th Grades) —  This grant funded the purchase of Vernier Digital Sensors to allow students to collect data and graph trends by connecting them to digital interface tablets during lab activities. The sensors allow students to access data more readily, and save time on completing lab activities. With better data reports, teachers should see a higher level of sophistication in student analysis of scientific data when writing labs. 

2015/16 Innovation Fund Programs

In 2014, the Irvington School District, in partnership with the Irvington Education Foundation, Sunnyside Federal and the generous support of an anonymous donor, launched the Innovation Fund, a unique grant designed to spur creativity and entrepreneurship among our District high school students by providing an opportunity to receive funding for a program, enrichment experience or community initiative to benefit their peers and the District.

We will be kicking off the 2017/18 grant submission process in September 2017.

Here’s a look at the Innovation Fund grants we awarded to eight Irvington High School students last school year:

  1. Student Art Initiative Murals Grant submitted by Rebecca Mesonjnik, Sidney Cuff, Julia Herceg, Sophia Vatakis – Collaboration of art club members to create murals representing literary imagery and quotes.
  2. Festival of One Act Plays submitted by Clara Montgomery and the Theater Troupe – Theater Troupe will hold a one-act festival of plays representing both published and student written plays.
  3. Sandy Hook Promise submitted by Daniel DeMatteo – Provide timely education and awareness for students to prevent gun violence in school and our community.
  4. Environmental Education and Clean Up submitted by Julia Sabatino – Educate students and the community on the importance of preserving local nature and promote this idea through specific clean up days at Halsey Pond.
  5. Geotagging Environmental Project submitted by Sydney Cuff – Set up a Quick Response smart tag system at a local 1 mile long hiking Tree Trail (Also developed by Cuff) so that hikers can access tree information on their smart phone or tablet.
  6. Environmental Club Marker Recycling submitted by Cleo Davidowitz and the Environmental Club – Encourage integration of recycling in schools by providing collection boxes in classrooms to recycle used markers through Crayola’s ColorCycle recycling program.
  7. Youth Gender Equality Conference submitted by Zachary Gallin – Create a much needed larger community for gender equality groups and clubs in area high schools.
  8. Robotics Club submitted by Justin Tunis and Mikhail Dorokhov – Provide robotics program that educates, offers support and also supplies tools and materials.