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UMass Chan staff, students provide classroom enrichment to 27 teachers in Worcester’s North Quadrant

Medical School charitable campaign funds $38,000 in mini-grants

  Chancellor Michael F. Collins announces the awarding of $38,000 in classroom enrichment mini-grants for the Worcester Public Schools North Quadrant at North High School on Monday, Sept. 17.

Chancellor Michael F. Collins announces the awarding of $38,000 in classroom enrichment mini-grants for the Worcester Public Schools North Quadrant. 

Thanks to the generosity of its employees and students, UMass Medical School has awarded classroom enrichment mini-grants totaling $38,000 to 27 teachers in the Worcester Public Schools North Quadrant. The grants were made possible through a gift from the North Quadrant Support Services initiative with funds raised by UMMS employees and students.

Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda and colleagues shared their gratitude with members of the UMMS community at an event held at North High School on Monday, Sept. 17.

“Our students and staff have personally donated tens of thousands of dollars to the North Quadrant Support Services program, which brings me to the new initiative we are announcing today. The UMMS North Quadrant Support Services program is awarding $38,000 in classroom enrichment mini-grants,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “These grants, while individually modest in size, will allow teachers to do something extra for their students that might have otherwise not been possible.”

The mini-grants provide funding for proposals that enrich classroom experience, including after-school clubs, field trips, and classroom supplies and equipment.

Examples are:

      • expanding an after-school robotics program currently available to fifth and sixth graders to fourth graders, many with no after school care;
      • providing transportation for five elementary, middle and high school field trips;
      • comfortable kid-sized furniture to promote learning in a special needs kindergarten class;
      • BrainPOP cross-curricular animated movies, learning games, interactive quizzes and primary source activities for middle school students; and
      • “Bags of Love” to provide necessities and comfort items for elementary school children who are in crisis due to neglect, abuse, poverty or homelessness.

North High teacher Juliamy Saraiva spoke at the event about the value of a $1,500 grant for her application for the Adventure Challenge Experience ropes course that teaches ninth graders leadership and team building.

“As you know, ninth grade can be a difficult transition,” said Saraiva. “Thanks to this grant, this year is the first time ever that transportation to provide this program for all of our ninth-grade students will be fully paid for.”

The North Quadrant includes some of the city’s most economically challenged neighborhoods. The support services initiative between UMass Medical School and the Worcester Public Schools was established in 2017 with grant funding from the Remillard Family Community Service Fund to help address socioeconomic barriers to academic success faced by many of the area’s K-12 students.

Mini-grant recipients were selected by the North Quadrant Support Services Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Maryellen Collins, wife of Chancellor Collins, and Kola Akindele, JD, senior director of government and community relations. It was formed to review needs in the North Quadrant and to recommend ways to strategically allocate funding and resources to address them. The mini-grants will be awarded annually.

“The classroom enrichment mini-grants are just one part of our overall strategy to address socioeconomic issues that students face in the North Quadrant,” said Akindele. “Through the grant application process, we got a sense of some of the other unmet needs in the quadrant. We look forward to applying other resources to address these going forward.”

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
Remillard Family Community Service Fund awards new grants to improve local health
Worcester Public Schools and UMass Medical School unveil family support services initiative
New Remillard Family Fund at UMMS supports community service