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In Action

Enhancing Education in Longmeadow Schools
Local Students. Local Artists.

green_leaf_3rd_grade.jpgLocal Students. Local Artists. was designed for all students in grades 1st – 5th to learn art mediums in a new way with professional artists from Western MA. This project would not have been possible without the generous financial support from Longmeadow Excellence in Education Foundation (LEEF) and Wolf Swamp Road School Parent Teacher Association (PTA). 

Research shows that experience with art can have a ripple effect into other areas of the curriculum like math and reading. Further McCarthy, Ondaatje, Brooks and Szanto (2005) report that art “can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing,” thus impacting how children relate to others in the school and the community at large. 

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 This program was aimed to expand student’s experience with art—visual and performance.The artists explained and demonstrated their crafts to the students before students began working on a creation in the artist’s medium.

"Here is a collection of well-known artists from the Pioneer Valley doing what they love (pursing a passion) and spending time with children showing them their "gift to the world". It is a powerful experience in my mind."
- Neil Gile - Principal, Wolfswamp Elementary School

LEEF helps Williams Middle School stage plays

For over 10 years, the students at Williams Middle School have enjoyed the chance to participate in an after-school drama club thanks to mathematics teacher Kathleen Lawson and the generosity of the Longmeadow Educational Excellence Foundation.

"Every year after that first year, the club has received a grant from (the foundation)," Lawson said. This past year's grant totaled $2,250. Overall, the Drama Club has received $18,200 since its inception in 2003.

The grants have enabled Lawson, who says drama has always been a hobby of hers, to purchase spotlights for the auditorium, all new lighting in the front of the stage and backstage, as well as wireless mics. The grants have also covered royalties on the plays Lawson uses and materials for the stage sets. The Drama Club stages one play a year. They begin working on it in the fall and present it to family and friends in two performances in April.

One of Lawson's on-going challenges, she said, is to find plays with lots of roles, since so many students get involved. This year's play, "Alice in Wonderland," had roles for more than 30 middle schoolers.

"Every year, about 10 percent of the student body participates," Lawson said. "Theater is the best thing for kids. It builds relationships and a sense of camaraderie. Parents have told me it was the best experience their children had in middle school."

Read the full article on MassLive

"I now have a closet full of costumes and other materials that I've purchased over the years thanks to LEEF, things I can use over and over again. Since LEEF has given us the money, I can buy what I need and don't have to scour tag sales or beg. This would not be an on-going club without LEEF's support."
- Kathleen Lawson - Mathematics, Williams Middle School

Band Day

 Band director Daniel Albert teaches young musicians at both middle schools. This year he was awarded a grant for Band Day. The goal of Band Day is to unite Longmeadow seventh and eighth grade students in a collaborative and educational music making environment, gain knowledge from master musicians, and foster partnerships between the two middle schools, helping band students realize that they are, first and foremost, Longmeadow musicians involved in an outstanding town music program.

"The students and teachers of the Longmeadow Public Schools are so fortunate to have LEEF. The organization's support for excellence and innovation in teaching has been incredible with our students reaping the benefits. It has been an absolute pleasure working with LEEF and I look forward to more. Thank you for all you continue to do to provide our students with excellence in education."
- Dan Albert - Williams and Glenbrook Band Director

Your Support is Vital

It's a fact. We cannot provide grants without funds. So, that is where you come in. We are asking you to become a contributor to LEEF. We are painfully aware that there are many deserving organizations competing for your contributions. However, LEEF positively impacts your child's education experience. To minimize the impact of fundraising on you, we have a long-term strategy designed to build a self-sustaining endowment that will fund the annual grants. But in the short term, we must request contributions twice a year through our Gala and Phonathon – and leave the door open through our direct contribution programs. LEEF appreciates every gift, large or small. Your thoughtfulness and generosity will be appreciated by the children, their teachers and our schools.

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