STEM Initiative Grants

In December 2013, the Skaneateles Education Foundation and the Elsa and Peter Soderberg Charitable Foundation announced a collaboration with the Skaneateles Central School District to fund an initiative to improve education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. The total investment in STEM education at the end of 4 years will be close to $250,000.

STEM grants supported by the Foundation include hydroponics, 3D printers, summer math and STEM camps, Engineering is Elementary, robotics, the Zoom Room, the audio engineering lab and so much more.

STEM Initiative Grants
STEM Initiative Grants
STEM Initiative Grants
STEM Initiative Grants


Through generous support from over 400 households, foundations and businesses in the Skaneateles community, the following grants have been provided under [the STEM Initiative etc. ]. For more information on an individual grant, please click on the grant title.

Physical Science Project Based Learning Activities
Amount funded: $2,150.00
March 2018
Grant Recipient - Richard Allen // To develop project based learning activities for physical science students, in the non-accelerated 8th grade science class

OSMO Kits for K – 2 STEM and classrooms
Amount funded: $1,323.00
May 2017
Grant Recipient - Mary Fussner // Provide teachers and students with resources (OSMO) and training to utilize iPads more effectively beginning in the Summer of 2017 and continuing into the school year; more effective use of iPads to correlate with Math, Reading, Science, Art, Coding and Technology

Guest Lecturer Jill Tietjen: Passion, Persistence, Determination
Amount funded: $1,221.03
September 2016
Grant Recipients - Deb Covell and Amy Tormey // Benefits students in grades 6-12 Students will gain insight into their own potential and career possibilities as they attend a presentation about the common threads of leadership and success. Jill Tietjen advocates for all students, especially females, to consider a career in STEM fields. Jill will present to our students during school on October 20, 2016, then to any interested members of the community that evening at the Sherwood. Jill Tietjen is an author, speaker, and electrical engineer. Her published books include the Setting the Record Straight series, which explores the history of women in accounting, engineering, and professional achievement. Tietjen is one of the top historians in the country on scientific and technical women. She is the CEO of Technically Speaking, a national consulting company specializing in improving opportunities for women and girls to have more career options in technology. Tietjen is also a frequent keynote speaker at engineering, science, and women’s conferences.

Math Summers Solvers Camp
Amount funded: $1,400.00
May 2016
Grant Recipients - Brian Cohen and Anne Montreal // Project Objective: 1. Teach students to use numbers flexibly, including learning to decompose and recompose numbers 2. Teach students to problem solve… regardless of the specific mathematical content o Teach students to work in an organized, systematic way o Teach students how to ask mathematical questions that aid their own learning 3. Professional learning for the teacher (ex., experimenting with new programs and strategies)

Creating through Coding with CNC Milling Machine
Amount funded: $10,415.00
March 2016
Grant Recipients -Scott Stagnitta and Rob Tuttle // The CNC milling equipment will be implemented into our 6th Grade curriculum. It will then expand into our other classes (6th- 9th and hydroponics) just like the 3D printers have done in the past. All of our middle school classes are designed to role play what it’s like to be an Engineer, from the design stage to the testing stage of a final product. In our six grade Technology Engineering class, we introduce a project called Maglev Transportation Technology. Students are put to the test with this exciting project. Each student needs to design a maglev vehicle, and all of the parts used to make it run. Then at the end of the class they have the opportunity to race against their classmates, to determine which one is the fastest.

K-4 Coding: Encouraging Creators
Amount funded: $8,180.00
March 2016
Grant Recipients - Mary Arnott and Paul Blair // Benefits K-4 students. With coding becoming a necessary 21st Century skill, some declaring it as the "new literacy", we need to provide our students with the opportunities and resources to learn the foundations of coding and computer commands as early as possible. When using the proper tools, coding promotes problem solving, digital skills and creative thinking. We are fortunate enough to be able to provide the students with access to computers where we can explore some avenues to coding, like and, but these only begin the expansive ways students could utilize code. We need to expand our resources in order to expand the students' knowledge, ability, creativity and understanding of coding and just how powerful it can be in our world, and we have to begin the teaching/learning with our youngest learners. We need to teach these students for the world they will enter into, not the world we live in now. In order to do that, we need to provide them with the resources that will enable them to become learners and producers of the future. Coding is a way we can begin to prepare them, but only if we have the proper resources. In Waterman, coding will be taught by Mary Arnott in the classes she normally teaches. Currently, all students are seen in Computer Lab once every six days. However, with the new format we are looking at, the students would not only code during that time, but would also have opportunities to code during their maker time which would also be once every six days. In Grades 3 and 4, coding will be both an afterschool club and before school club. The cost associated with the creation of afterschool/before school clubs will be borne by the District.

Elementary Summer STEM Camp
Amount funded: $2,750.00
March 2016
Grant Recipients - Mary Arnott and Brian Cohen // Benefits interested students entering grades 1 through 5. During the summer of 2016, Mary Arnott will teach a one-week long STEM Camp for Waterman students who will be entering grades 1 or 2 in the fall of 2016. A similar camp will be taught by Erin Brown for students entering grades 3-5 in the fall. The STEM Camps will take place for 2.5 - 3 hours each day for 1 week. Each section of the camp will have a maximum enrollment of 20 students. If we exceed 20 and think we can get at least 30 students registered for either camp, we will add a second section of that camp. The majority of the funding for the camps will be provided by the sustainability fund from last year's camps. However, we would like to purchase (and learn/prepare) new units for this year in order to allow students who participated last year to participate again this year and do something different. Each camp will include a unit from the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) Engineering Adventure series, which is intended to be used after school and/or over the summer. Students will engage in the Engineering Design Process by asking questions, imagining solutions, planning their designs, creating different models, and improving on their designs. Students will learn to think like an engineer and use technology to collect information/research that will support their design solution. In addition to the content-specific objectives, we also intend for students to learn some science and develop problem solving, teamwork, communication, and creative thinking skills.

Tech Valley High School Visitation
Amount funded: $0
February 2016
Grant Recipients - Paul Blair and Ken Slentz // 8 Skaneateles faculty and staff, plus 2 students to film the experience, visited Tech Valley HS in Albany to explore their model of project-based learning in action.

Chemistry Vodcasts Continued
Amount funded: $2,925.00
November 2015
Grant Recipient - Richard Allen // Benefits 60 students in HS Regents Chemistry and 60 in Honors Chemistry. This grant would fund 75 hours @ $39/hour of development time to create additional vodcasts and link other supporting materials through Haiku.

Physics Vodcasts Continued
Amount funded: $3,900.00
November 2015
Grant Recipient - Dan Kurzen // (video and audio recording of instruction) Benefits mostly seniors, some juniors, in HS Regents Physics and AP Physics 1 classes. The flipped classroom model is the basis for this project that has developed video-based lectures. This request will allow Dan to complete the pilot program he has started with good success. Student feedback (anonymous): • “The vod-casts allow me to reinforce info learned in class and are extremely useful in studying for tests (more so than the textbook). It is awesome to be able to “pause” and “rewind” the teacher.” • “You can never worry about missing info because you can go back and watch again.” • “Vod-casts give students explanations that they can watch at their own pace.” • “Your commentary clarifies information that is sometimes ambiguous in the textbook.” • “They allow me to visualize the problem, take more thorough notes, and determine at exactly what point I get confused.” • “We are able to jump into the material and actually practice it in class.” This grant would fund 100 hours @ $39/hour of development time to create the vodcasts and link other supporting materials through Haiku.

Maker Faire 2015
Amount funded: $2,470.76
September 2015
Grant Recipients - Paul Blair, Heather Buff, Deb Covell, Tracy Hale, Jessica Murphy & Scott Stagnitta // Benefits Faculty Professional Development. Expand knowledge of Maker technologies to further discussion of makerspaces on campus.

Guitar Engineering and Manufacturing Field Trip
Amount funded: $0
March 2015
Grant Recipient - Matthew Slauson // Students in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) course build musical instruments each year. This project has earned the recognition of the Association of Stringed Instruments Artisans (ASIA). This grant will fund 6 students and Mr. Slausen to attend the ASIA conference where they will make a 1 hour presentation on the project, participate on a Q&A panel and attend other sessions to learn about modern instrument making techniques. They will also tour the Martin Guitar facility to see how they make instruments using modern manufacturing techniques. The school district will provide transportation.