June 2021 Newsletter
New Program Grants and Leadership News
Dear BHS Community, 

As we wrap up the last of the end-of-year BHS traditions, congratulate the Class of 2021 and look forward to the summer and together-time with friends and family, I just want to take a moment to reflect on this extraordinary year.  
 
This past year—my last as Chair of the Innovation Fund—was both challenging and rewarding. Fund volunteers have been working harder than ever to use the time and space that we were given to think differently about how we engage our donors in a remote environment, and how we expand on the funding that we give to BHS faculty to support teaching and learning at the high school.  
 
Our primary focus this year has been on our COVID-19 Response Grants. Our COVID grant work started last June to prepare faculty for the upcoming school year and continued through the winter to support the shift to hybrid teaching and learning. It will culminate this summer with the COVID-19 Reflection Summit. The best practices and insights gleaned during the three phases of the COVID-19 grant will be carried forward to continue to positively impact students.  
 
Our collaborative work with faculty has yielded stronger relationships and set up scaffolding for school-wide student success moving forward in a post-COVID classroom environment. A cohesive, new standard approach with all faculty using Canvas improved communications with students and made a huge difference in “equalizing” everyone’s experience. This work led to the creation of multiple progress reports for check-in with parents/guardians throughout the year. Intentional instruction on Executive Functioning (EF) helped students develop the skills needed both online and moving forward to in-person learning. And finally, an emphasis on SEL (Social Emotional Learning) and community building online made being back together now very meaningful.
 
The COVID-19 Response Grants allowed faculty to innovatively rethink teaching, curriculum development, and school culture as they responded to challenging logistical scenarios throughout the year. Interdepartmental collaboration last summer was groundbreaking and culture-shifting for BHS. Now as faculty emerge from remote and hybrid teaching, annual assessment of student content, SEL and EF are much more collaborative across departments and are more efficient and effective. The three phased COVID-19 Grants provided the faculty with the time and space to think and plan which was the impetus to this change. This time also provided an opportunity to reevaluate curriculum and to think about what worked and what didn’t. These are conversations that faculty will continue to have during the upcoming summer COVID-19 Reflection Summit.  
 
As we look forward to the Fall, the investment in teaching and learning will continue. Two new programs were accepted for funding and will launch in the 2021-2022 school year. Briana Brown (Science) and Roger Grande (Social Studies) will lead Climate Science and Social Solutions; and Britt Stevens, Department Chair of Career and Technical Education, will launch Rethinking the Restaurant: Creating Community through Social Impact.
 
Climate Science and Social Solutions is an interdisciplinary team-taught course with instruction from both the scientific and historical perspectives. The course will enable students to engage in project-based learning by analyzing real world policy options related to climate change, and then research and posit definable and effective solutions. The goal is to have students engage in advocacy campaigns designed to shape perceptions on climate change and encourage personal mitigation strategies. 

Rethinking the Restaurant will launch the restaurant program as a lab for interdisciplinary learning with a social impact lens. This is a space where English Language Learners could introduce dishes from their home cultures as a special menu item, where World Language teachers and students could work with the culinary program to design “take-over” menus for cultural observations or holidays, and where students in Social/Food Justice or Environmental Action club team with our culinary program to understand and improve how to sustainably run our business. These are only some of our curricular aspirations.

So, as you can see, the BHS Innovation Fund continues to have a broad and meaningful impact at BHS, despite the challenges of the past year. It is because of the incredible support of donors and volunteers that we were able to meet and exceed our fundraising and programmatic goals. I look forward to handing the leadership of this amazing organization over to Maureen Fallon and Masu Haque-Khan who will continue the work that was started more than 20 years ago. While I will be stepping down as Chair, I will continue to play an advisory role in the growth of the Fund. 
 
I wish you all a wonderful, peaceful and safe Summer and send a hearty congratulations to the Class of 2021!
 
Warm Regards,
Ellen Rizika, Chair, BHS Innovation Fund Board of Directors
Over $300,000 Invested in Programs for 2021-22
Rethinking the Restaurant: Creating Community through Social Impact (NEW)
$66,000 Year One Investment
Rethinking the BHS restaurant will integrate the program more cohesively into curricular and co-curricular experiences for the entire BHS community, with students taking the lead in running its business operations in meaningful and creative ways. Faculty are excited by the multifaceted opportunities for innovation where the restaurant has potential as a lab for interdisciplinary learning with a social impact lens. For example, the restaurant could be a place where English Language Learners could introduce dishes from their home cultures as a special menu item, World Language teachers and students could work with the culinary program to design “take-over” menus for cultural observations or holidays, and students in Social/Food Justice or Environmental Action clubs could team with our culinary program to understand and improve how to sustainably run our business. Rethinking the Restaurant opens up outstanding experiential learning opportunities for students not only in the restaurant itself, but also for a diverse range of students in clubs, courses, and throughout the campus.
Faculty lead: Britt Stevens, Chair, Department of Career and Technical Education 

Climate Science and Social Solutions (NEW)
$43,000 Year One Investment
Climate Science and Social Solutions is an interdisciplinary team-taught elective with instruction from both the scientific and historical perspectives. The course will enable students to engage in project-based learning by analyzing real world policy options related to climate change, and then research and posit definable and effective solutions. The goal is to have seniors engage in advocacy campaigns designed to shape perceptions on climate change and encourage personal mitigation strategies. 
Faculty leads: Briana Brown (Science) and Roger Grande (Social Studies)

Faculty COVID-19 Reflection Summit (NEW)
$10,000 for BHS faculty to convene this summer to reflect on lessons learned through the pandemic and how their important work funded by our COVID-19 Teaching and Learning Response Grants this year can inform pedagogy for 2021-22.

Continued Funding for Ongoing Courses
$186,000 for continued funding for four pilot programs through their final year in 2021-22: Experiential Physics for Ninth Grade; Brookline Lens; Hub; and Coding @BHS. Learn more about these programs here.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the BHS Innovation Fund financially this year. Your generosity has been overwhelming and your impact is tremendous. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Fund relies on donations from our community and education advocates. By donating to the Innovation Fund, you are investing in student success at BHS and beyond. Learn more here.
Volunteer Updates and Announcements
The Fund operates with a very small staff and an extensive network of volunteers who are committed to both its mission and to Brookline High School. In addition to the Boards of Directors and Advisors, volunteers play a critical role in helping to move the work of the organization forward. Learn more about participating on one of our Boards or as a volunteer here.
Welcome aboard!
Directors: Oliver Bardon, Deborah Fung, Nitish Nahata, Jodi Sokoloff
Advisors: Jennie Greene, Mirna Kassir, Adi Kitov, Heather Maloney, Olga St. Clair
Incoming Ex Officio Members: Linus Guillory, Lesley Ryan-Miller
Thank you for being part of the Fund team. We will miss you!
Directors: Irene Abrams, Ted Arnstein
Advisors: Stacey Downey, Mara Littman, Elizabeth Schlosberg, Georgia Smith, Lara Szent-Gyorgyi

Executive Leadership
For the 2021-22 year, we are pleased to announce these updates to our Executive Leadership team:
Maureen Fallon, Chair, Board of Directors (new)
Masu Haque-Khan, Vice Chair, Board of Directors (new) 
Ellen Rizika, Immediate Past Chair, Board of Directors (new)
Board of Overseers: Co-Chairs Mary Beth Landrum and Louise Shah
Finance Committee: David Weisner, Treasurer; Helen Cheng, Assistant Treasurer
Program Committee: Co-Chairs Bill Nancarrow and Lesley Solomon (new)
Fundraising Committee: Chair Polly Ross Ribatt; Co-Vice Chairs Shibani Sain Rao and Louise Shah
Communications Committee: Co-Chairs Steve Davis (new), Jennie Greene (new), Heather Maloney (new)
See all of our Directors, Advisors, and Executive Leadership here.
Best Wishes, Class of 2021!
Graduated Seniors and Families, we send our heartiest congratulations! Please stay in touch with us as you begin your college and career adventures! Reach out to us with your Fund-inspired successes at bhsinnovationfund@psbma.org. We can’t wait to see what you’ll do!
Our mission is to catalyze innovation at Brookline High School by supporting faculty-driven curricular initiatives that will inspire our students and prepare them to thrive in a changing world.