Innovations in Education

Innovation in Education Grants are awarded to support innovative teaching and learning projects in the Arlington Public Schools.  Arlington teachers, administrators, parents, or community members may apply for these grants (non-school-based applicants must be partnered with the Arlington Public Schools).

Applications for Innovation in Education Grants are due November 15 and April 15. For more information and application instructions, visit the Grant Guidelines.

Each year, we award the ‘Dawn Moses Memorial Innovations Grant‘ to the Innovations in Education grant that is creative and deeply attentive to the needs and interests of students and teachers.

Spring 2018

  • Discovering Our Voices with Literature Circles:  Gibbs School literature circles will encourage self-directed learning, collaboration, responsibility, and respectful discussion.
  • Integrating Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy: High School Summit program staff will be trained to use dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) to teach students how to cope with daily stressors.
  • Fun & Games with Math:  Gibbs School classroom math games will supplement traditional academic learning.
  • Building a Multicultural Library:  The High School Millbrook Program library will be supplemented with texts that reflect students’ demographics and identities.
  • Beautiful Brain — AP Psychology Conference at MIT:  High School AP Psychology students will participate in a full-day conference, expanding upon students’ knowledge about biological psychology and human behavior.

Fall 2017

  • Math Anytime:  Video math tutorials directly aligned to the curriculum will support sixth graders as they learn new concepts
  • KerbalEdu Hands-on learning for High School astronomy students teaches orbital mechanics by designing, building and flying virtual rockets
  • 3D Printing for All:  A 3D printer for the High School Makerspace will allow students to explore the link between digital design and the creation of objects
  • Cold War Pinball Some ninth-grade history students will create a Pinbox3000 pinball game, bringing Cold War history to life in an engaging way
  • Teaching Artistic Behavior:  Peirce after-school art program will inspire confidence through small group
    exploration, cultivation and expression of ideas
  • Story Box LibraryVisually-impaired students will use touchable objects that illustrate story concepts and enhance student understanding
  • The Colors of STEM:  A rotating exhibit at Brackett will foster diversity awareness about prominent American people of color in the fields of STEM
  • ChillVilleHigh School REACH program students will maximize their readiness to learn in a sensory room that provides a supportive and relaxing environment

Spring 2017

  • Rainbow Alliance: a Brackett after-school club will help 4th and 5th grade students gain a better understanding for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Independent Learning Through Google Read and Write: High School special education students will independently engage with texts on a deeper and more targeted way through this pilot.
  • Unity Public Art Project:  The High School will engage in an interactive public art project expressing community and diversity by exploring labels used to describe ourselves and others.
  • Heart Rate Monitors:  9th grade physical education students will gain a more concrete and personal experience learning about heart rates, training zones, and cardiovascular fitness.
  • POSE (Preschoolers Organizing Selves Everyday):  Menotomy pre-schoolers will learn mindfulness skills that promote school readiness and self-regulation.
  • Ukulele Hero:  Bishop 4th graders will learn the ukulele, bridging a gap in music education between 3rd grade recorder instruction and 5th grade drum instruction.
  • 360 Camera Pilot Program:  The High School visual arts curriculum will be enhanced by “Vuze,” a 360 camera that will open up entirely new film making options.  
  • Virtual Reality in Foreign Language Classrooms:  High School Spanish students will be immersed in language and culture when they watch 360 degree videos tied to the curriculum.

Fall 2016

  • Breakout EDU: Bishop and Hardy fourth grade students will experience critical thinking and complex problem-solving games that will encourage student teamwork.
  • Engaging the Whole Student:  Ready, Set, Calm! One Ottoson Middle School sixth grade cluster will learn mindfulness practices through yoga techniques and training.
  • Traverse Rock Wall: The Brackett School physical education curriculum will be enhanced with a new, challenging yet non-competitive sport for all students.
  • Programmable Wearable Computers: Ottoson Middle School Digital Media & Literacy students will build, design and code CodeBugs, connecting computer science with communication.
  • Thermal Imaging Project: Ottoson Middle School eighth grade science will be enhanced with thermal imaging adapters that will allow students to visualize heat as well as observe the flow of thermal energy.
  • Mindfulness-Based Practices: Thompson School teachers will receive training on mindfulness-based practices as a self-regulation tool for students.

Spring 2016

  • “Grow Your Brain!”:  Fostering a Growth Mindset to Increase Motivation and Achievement:  Peirce students will learn to be aware of their own learning styles and academic strengths, and will develop a sense of themselves as capable learners.
  • ETextiles Interactive Stuffed Animals: Dallin fifth graders will combine circuitry, coding and sewing to create an interactive stuffed animal of the student’s design.IMG_4193
  • Energy Transfer in Solar Cars: Bishop students will have the opportunity to see solar power in action, learn how energy is transferred and think critically about energy use in our world.
  • Navigating through Communication Standards Using Drones: Ottoson seventh graders will explore the principles of flight and the components of communication through collaborative design challenges.
  • Inside OUT Ottoson: Individual student art will become part of a large-scale public art installation that will reflect the Ottoson community and the values of Arlington at large.

Fall 2015

  • The Flexible Classroom: Designing Spaces for Personalized Learning: Four Ottoson classrooms will be transformed into flexible, collaborative and innovative learning environments.  Adjustable furniture and flexible work spaces will promote collaboration and movement and meet the needs of diverse learners.Brackett_Tools for Mindfulness
  • Tools of Mindfulness for Stress Reduction: Brackett School 5th graders will learn tools they can use to reduce stress, self-regulate and strengthen their focusing abilities and coping skills.
  • Mathematics Coaching through Video: District math coaches will use video as a critical tool in helping teachers improve their craft, enabling teachers to view and assess their own instructional practices.
  • Standing Desks: A pilot classroom at Dallin School will offer several standing desks to help students improve attention and focus by providing the opportunity to integrate movement into their day.
  • Elementary Digital Art Expansion: Elementary art teachers will receive training on ways they can introduce digital art into their classrooms, including use of the iPad app Procreate.

Spring 2015

  • Kindergarten Playground Enhancements: Peirce School sensory and musical IMG_3130enhancements will encourage creativity and exploration.
  • STEM Surge: Dallin School professional development will support engineering and technology curriculum and instruction, and inquiry-based and hands-on learning.
  • The Blended-Learning Dreambox Expansion Project: A full school subscription for the Hardy School to the Dreambox Learning online math program will offer differentiated learning opportunities.
  • Alphachant Kit for English Language Learners (ELLs): A unique song and chant phonics kit will accelerate learning among Thompson Kindergarten English Language Learners.
  • Linking Garden and Compost Activities to the Curriculum: Development of educational materials that will integrate garden and compost activities into the AHS Archaeology8Bishop School curriculum.
  • Introduction to Archaeology: An Elective Course; Start-up materials for an archaeological dig will help to establish this new High School science course.
  • CO2 Car Race: A high-tech model car track system that gathers precise data will help High School students in Computer Aided Design and Drafting test car designs and improve performance.


Fall 2014 Grants

  • Art. Food. Community:  bowls-picture-300x200Thompson students create ceramic bowls in art class for use in a community-wide hunger awareness event to support Arlington EATS
  • Training for Student Leadership:  Leadership training workshops for High School student leaders and teachers
  • Gelli Printing in the Art Room: Thompson and Stratton students create monoprints from natural objects in art class using Gelli Plates.
  • Full Circle Garden:  Brackett Kindergarten gardens (flower, vegetable and Zen) teach students the seasons of the year, plant life cycles, composting, and sensory therapy
  • Ottoson Science Fair Club:  Establishment of a new after school Science & OMS Science Fair3Engineering Fair Club
  • Data Collection & Analysis for Improved World Language Proficiency: External World Language assessments measure student proficiency and improve instructional strategies

Spring 2014 Grants

  • Studies in Shadow Puppetry, Stratton Shadow Puppets3aStratton School  First graders will connect science, social studies and art through an exploration of shadow puppet theater
  • 21st Century Reading for a 1:1 iPad School, Thompson School A school subscription to Subtext Premium, a cutting edge iPad reading app, will meet the needs of student readers at all levels
  • Digital Imaging Program Monitor, Arlington High School A professional computer monitor will expand the digital imaging program and help pilot the High School’s BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model

Fall 2013 Grants

  • Listen Edition! To Bolster Critical Thinking Skills, Ottoson and Arlington High School  A subscription to Listen Edition!, which curates public radio stories, will enhance critical listening and thinking skills in middle and high school  history and science classes.
  • Creative Non-Fiction Writing, Bishop School  IMG_8753_cPresentations by non-fiction author Nicola Davies will tie creative and non-fiction writing together for students in all grades.  Text Sets (thematic collections of books) will enable students to use informational and fictional texts as part of the writing process.
  • Imagine, Program and Share with Scratch Animation, Ottoson Middle School  The purchase of headsets will facilitate multi-media computer programming as part of an introductory programming unit.
  • Let the Children Play!  Hardy School   The school blacktop will be enhanced with recess game graphics and a map of the U.S., as part of a larger effort to make recess a positive experience for all Hardy students.
  • Weather Station, Stratton School  The purchase of a wireless weather station will enrich the fourth grade weather curriculum and provide students with data to use in science, math and English language arts.
  • Online Learning Cohort, Arlington High School  The High School will offer an online course in sound engineering through Coursera, as part of a pilot to test potential online learning models. Students will participate in weekly meetings with a faculty member and complete a group project.
  • World Language Advanced Placement Vertical Teaming, Ottoson AHS Digital Imaging Workstation_cand High School  Professional development for French, Spanish and Latin teachers will strengthen collaboration, align the 6-12 language curriculums, improve teaching and learning in World Language classrooms, and better prepare students for success in Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
  • Digital Imaging Workstation, Arlington High School  The upgrade of a professional digital imaging workstation for the Visual Arts Department will enhance the school’s digital photography, film and animation courses.
  • Making Thinking Visible:  Technology for Digital Humanities, Arlington High School  A mini-lab in the Media Center will support critical thinking, metacognition and collaboration in humanities classes.  Students will use the lab for video production, digital storytelling, and virtual field trips.

Spring 2013 Grants

  • Snowshoeing – A Winter Love, Thompson School  P1030987Third through fifth graders will enjoy nature’s winter wonders and develop agility and balance as they learn the outdoor winter sport of snowshoeing during their winter physical education class.
  • Reaching the New World:  Poetry and Discovery, Stratton School  Through a residency with local poet Jesse Brown, students and teachers will study poetry as a communication tool.  Students will not only learn how to write poetry, but will also create artistic poetry posters and perform dramatic poetry readings.
  • Artist-in-Residence with Winfred Rembert, Arlington High School  IMG_5936_lg_cSeveral disciplines including Visual Arts, Film, History and English will be integrated during a residency with renowned artist and storyteller Winfred Rembert.  Visual Arts students will work directly with the artist, learning his unique leathering technique, while history and English students will have the chance to directly connect with an African American who grew up during the civil rights movement.  All AHS students will attend a viewing of “ALL ME: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert.”
  • Kindergarten and Fifth Grade Mentoring, Stratton School  Fifth graders will mentor and support Kindergarten students during joint science, math and literacy programs.
  • Kiln, Brackett and Peirce Schools  Students will explore the art of clay and get to fire and glaze their creations.
  • Suicide Prevention and Awareness, Arlington High School  All students will watch The Gospel According to Josh, a suicide prevention theater performance.  Arlington Youth Consultation Center (AYCC) therapists will provide extra support during the emotional program, and all tenth graders will participate in a research-based ‘Signs of Suicide’ program in Health Class.  Read more about the High School’s program and the award they received.

Fall 2012 Grants

  • Math Support for Ottoson  Ottoson’s Math Support team will use Plato, a Web-based program, to more efficiently and effectively meet student needs.  Students will receive tailored instruction programs, based on data from MCAS, diagnostics and teacher goals.
  • Dallin School Literary Journal  Dallin Journal_2_Nov2013Dallin School fifth graders will write, curate and produce an annual literary journal. Budding writers from the entire student body will have an opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and develop their writing skills beyond classroom assignments.  Read the grant profile.
  • Kindergarten Around the World  This new social studies curriculum will come alive as kindergarteners develop mapping, literacy, and technology skills as they learn about children in other parts of the world.  Through the use of Skype, students will communicate with and interview peers in other countries.
  • World Language Differentiated Learning Strategies  The World Languages department (grades 6-12) will receive training in Strategies for Differentiating Instruction and Total Physical Response Storytelling.  These trainings will not only give teachers tools to keep classes in the target language, but will also support all learners in World Languages classrooms.
  • Statistics at Ottoson  With new rigorous standards focused on analytical learning, Tinker Plots dynamic software will become a primary teaching tool.  Students will create and dynamically engage with data, thereby deepening their understanding of data analysis and preparing them for high school level statistics and probability standards.

Spring 2012 Grants

  • Weaving Understanding – Past and Present, Thompson School  LoomThe purchase of a Japanese SAORI handloom will support the social studies curriculum for second, third, and fourth graders at Thompson and their host schools.  Group weaving projects will augment the second grade study of Japan, help third graders deepen their understanding of daily life in colonial America, and enable fourth graders to get a hands-on feel for the experience of immigrant mill workers during their study of immigration, industrialization, and the Lowell mills.  Read grant profile.
  • Hardy School Film Festival, Hardy School  Fourth graders at the Hardy School will create the Hardy School Film Festival by making short movies based on Hardy’s core values: love of learning, academic success, sense of community and self-confidence.  Students will be planners, interviewers, editors, and filmmakers as they use video technology to create a documentary about the core values, as well as short films based on their Open Circle lessons.
  • Launching an Integrated Theater Initiative, Bishop School  The Bishop School will bring theater to the classroom with a year-long intensive program of classroom drama workshops.  Students in all grades will create curriculum-based performances to share in all-school assemblies.
  • Music Therapy in Preschool Classrooms, IMG_2980Menotomy Preschool  Listen for the singing at Menotomy Preschool!  Music therapy classes and collaboration with a music therapist will help teachers meet the social and educational needs of all their general and special education students. Read Grant Profile.
  • Mining Think Tank as a Resource for Math RTI, Peirce School  Peirce School teachers will be trained in using Think Tank (a math enrichment resource funded by AEF) to support the math curriculum for all students.  As part of the district’s math Response to Intervention (RTI) program, Think Tank’s challenging math problems will be used to differentiate learning opportunities and engage every student in meaningful tasks at appropriate levels of challenge.

Fall 2011 Grants

  • iPods for Language Learning: The World Languages Department at Arlington High School will use iPods for teaching (as interactive clickers), learning (to create and record digital stories), and assessment. Go to the Arlington World Languages Blog for project updates.
  • Bishop/Thompson Community Art: Bishop MuralEvery grade at the Bishop School will create collaborative art projects based on the world cultures they are learning about in social studies.
  • Digital Film and Animation Pilot Program: The Visual Arts Department at Arlington High School will lay the groundwork for a new digital film curriculum and digital media studio.
  • Spelling City: Brackett School students in grades 1-3 will bolster their spelling skills with a premium membership to
  • Listen and Learn at AHS: The Arlington High School library will provide struggling and reluctant readers with audiobooks, including the core curriculum texts for English Language Arts classes, on iPod Shuffles.
  • Wii for Teachers: Ottoson teachers will test a cost-effective way to create interactive whiteboards using Wii systems with existing LCD projectors.
  • Enhancing Students’ Active Engagement with Texts: Students in the fifth grade at the Dallin School will pilot the use of Kindles to engage and excite reluctant readers and improve comprehension.

Spring 2011 Grants

  • Technology Support and Enrichment Program: Librarians at the Bishop School will use a Glogster subscription and digital cameras to augment information technology resources for students.
  • Dallin Butterfuly Garden: The Dallin School will expand the second grade butterfly curriculum by planting a natural habitat that attracts butterflies.
  • Project Advance: Dual Enrollment Economics: A collaboration between Arlington High School and Syracuse University will provide college level classwork in economics to AHS students.  Read grant profile.
  • Can You Dig It? Grade 3 Archeology Residency Program: 3rd grade archeaology digAn interactive archeology program for all third graders in the district will enhance their study of American history.
  • Hardy Library Listening Center: Hardy School will purchase audio books for the library’s new listening center.
  • Thompson Summer Reading and Student Advisory Board: Thompson School will launch a leadership program for struggling readers.
  • Establishing and Maintaining a Gay-Straight Alliance at Ottoson (now called the Queer Straight Alliance): The Ottoson Parent Advisory Council (OPAC) and the Ottoson Middle School will partner to create a groundbreaking middle school resource for diversity and a supportive school environment.  Article “GLAD Promotes the Creation of Middle School GSAs

Fall 2010 Grants

  • Teacher to Teacher: Building Bridges to Teosinte: Fourth grade teachers from several elementary schools will further develop the fourth grade Teosinte curriculum by traveling to Teosinte, El Salvador with the Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project. Read how this sister-city relationship is thriving.
  • Using Technology to Create Responsive Learning Environments, Arlington High School: An ActivExpression Learner Response System to be used in two history classrooms and one math classroom will enable individual students to communicate with an interactive whiteboard, facilitating student participation, response, and engagement.
  • Flip Cameras, Arlington High School: A set of Flip video cameras available to all Arlington High School classes will enable teachers to use video for instruction in everything from foreign languages to anti-bullying programs.
  • Chinese Calligraphy, Ottoson Middle School: Eighth graders will be introduced to Chinese calligraphy as part of an effort to cultivate interest in Chinese language and culture which are of growing importance to Arlington’s social studies and foreign languages programs.
  • Science and Engineering, Thompson School: The Science Museum’s Engineering is Elementary program will introduce engineering into the science curriculum in every grade.
  • Blue Ribbon Mosaic Project, Stratton School: Every child in the Stratton Mosaicschool will participate in the creation of a mosaic mural to celebrate Stratton’s National Blue Ribbon Award.
  • Classroom Walls Fall with Technology, Dallin School: Four Flip video cameras will enable students to share their writing online via VoiceThread.
  • Understanding Complex Machines via the Circus Arts: Circus workshops will help students understand the concepts of simple and complex machines through exposure to real circus equipment.

Spring 2010 grants

  • Increasing Student Engagement Through an Inquiry Science Approach, Hardy School: Fourth grade teachers create hands-on, community-based activities to enhance the science curriculum.
  • Responsive Classroom, Peirce School: Two teachers receive training in this approach “to creating safe, challenging and joyful elementary classrooms and schools.”
  • Learning by Design: A Box City Project, Peirce School: Students learn about engineering, architecture, design, community, measurement, scale, communication, and cooperation as they design and build their own miniature city.
  • Engineering is Elementary (Afterschool Program), Stratton School: An elementary-level engineering program developed by the Science Museum helps kids find engineering solutions to real-life challenges.
  • Fit and Focused – Using Mindfulness and Yoga for Better Learning, Stratton: Mindfulness and yoga activities before, during, and after school are introduced to help students develop the focus they need to succeed in school.
  • ELMO Document Camera and Projector System, Ottoson Middle School: Teachers and students at the Ottoson pilot the use of an ELMO that enables teachers to project everything from historical documents, to scientific samples and slides, to student work, in order to support group projects and learning.
  • Exploring Online Learning, Arlington High School: AHS brings teachers together to explore online resources to enhance classroom and independent learning, This grant also provides funds to add wireless spaces at AHS so that students and teachers have increased access to the Internet to take advantage of those resources.

Fall 2009 Grants

  • Hardy School Garden, Hardy School: A previously prepared bed is planted with spring bulbs by kindergarten classes and a colonial “Three Sisters garden” by third graders studying Native American and Colonial gardening. A self-watering system and timer helped maintain the garden through the summer.
  • PhotoStory 3 Workshop, Dallin School: Third grade students create movies of their fiction writing with scanned illustrations and audio voice-overs.
  • Kamishibai Project, Peirce School: Second graders’ study of Japan is enhanced by hands-on experience with this Japanese storytelling kit.
  • From Scraps To Blooms: Composting at Peirce School: Fifth graders work to create fuel for their Science Garden from the leftovers in the cafeteria, then train 4th graders to take over the following year.
  • Old Schwab Mill, Ottoson Middle School: 7th grade Technology students integrate the curriculum covering the history of manufacturing and technology in Arlington during the Industrial Age with a walking field trip to tour the mill
  • Art of Writing and Song, Thompson School: A year-long artist-in-residence program conducted by the Troubadour group focuses on literacy through the Art of Writing and Song, as visiting writers train teachers and teach students about writing, poetry, and songs.
  • Ceramic Tile Mural for Senior Center, Arlington High School: Advanced Art students at Arlington High School collaborate with the Arlington Senior Center to plan, design, and install a ceramic tile mural for the Center.
  • Dealing with Grief, Bishop School: The Bishop School hosts workshops for Arlington teachers addressing specific strategies to help staff and students after a loss in the school community, and providing insight into how children understand death and loss.
  • Fourth Grade Community Concert, Town-wide As a supplement to the newly-integrated fourth grade social studies curriculum on Teosinte, El Salvador (Arlington’s Sister City), fourth graders from every elementary school come together for a concert by local bilingual music group, Sol y Canto–and get a chance to interact with each other before they enter the Ottoson Middle School.
  • Improving Math Fluency with FASTT Math, Peirce School: Peirce students have the opportunity to pilot a math software program which provides tutorials and fun motivational games to help students attain quick recall of their math facts.
  • Introduction to Second Language Teaching, Ottoson Middle School: Ottoson teachers have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops providing an introduction to second language learning and helping them to modify lessons for students whose first language is not English.
  • Project Physics, Ottoson Middle School: This project provides a Vernier motion detector, track, and standard cart–state-of-the-art physics equipment–to eighth grade students at the Ottoson Middle School.

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