June 2020 Newsletter
Program News and Announcements
Dear BHS Community,

I am delighted to share with you important news about our programs. Recently, we announced our COVID-19 Teaching and Learning Response Grant , which will provide BHS faculty immediate opportunities to address content gaps, create meaningful connections with students, and prepare for a range of teaching possibilities next year. In addition to this major inter-departmental grant, we are pleased to share that Planning Grants have also just been awarded to individual faculty members for short term COVID-19 response projects supporting a wide variety of needs in our school community, from music and art, to special education, to re-imagining library resources.  

Next, we are very excited to announce the award of a new multi-year grant, Coding @ BHS. This innovative initiative will create a new curriculum that embeds coding skills in all math and science classes to enable every BHS student to have hands-on experience in coding. All students will graduate with coding knowledge, and they will gain insight into the opportunities that come with computer science exposure. And looking ahead, we remain committed to our existing multi-year grant funding to support the programs we launched in this current school year , Experiential Physics for Ninth Grade, Brookline Lens and Hub/Advisory . All of these new and existing program investments have been developed through our continued collaboration with BHS leadership, in response to a wide range of student needs articulated by the high school faculty. We are pleased to be able to share these grant award updates with you, and we thank you for your ongoing support of curriculum innovation at BHS.

As Brookline has been facing the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, so too do we continue to address racial injustice. Recent events weigh heavily on all our hearts. The Fund has now completed a two-year program investment in Finding Yourself in the Curriculum (FYC), a school-wide initiative designed "to promote equity and cultivate empathy through embedding lessons on race and identity into the existing academic curriculum.” This is the most recent offering in the Fund's long standing support for a school culture that embraces race, equity, and social justice via programs including the African American and Latino Scholars Program, the Racial Awareness Seminar, and the Social Justice Leadership Course . Thank you to the FYC faculty members - Marika Alibhai, Scott Barkett, Julia Rocco and Liz Crane - for deepening engagement with diverse students; expanding representation in the curriculum; enabling students to have meaningful dialogues about power and privilege; and perhaps most importantly, find their courage in voice and action. 

This year has demanded resilience and action from our community, on issues not only local and national, but also global. As the climate crisis intensifies, BHS students want to be part of a culture of sustainability at our school. We thank Roger Grande, the 2019-20 BHS Innovation Fellow , for his enthusiastic and extensive work on this important topic and his development of GraduateGreen . The Fund’s investment in this climate change curriculum has given students the tools they will need to be effective agents of change.

Through the creation and ongoing support of so many important programs that impact academic opportunities, cultural awareness, and global responsibilities , I am proud of the work the Innovation Fund is doing. I am encouraged by our momentum, and I am confident that the Fund is positioned to make a positive impact on teaching and learning at BHS. As you read more about our major program investments below , I hope you feel inspired to act. Please join our effort in the upcoming school year as the BHS Innovation Fund continues to evolve and respond to the needs of the Brookline High School community. 

On behalf of our entire team, I wish everyone a happy and healthy summer.
Ellen Rizika, Chair, BHS Innovation Fund Board of Directors
Nearly $250,000 Invested in New Programs for 2020-21
COVID-19 Teaching and Learning Response Grant
$55,000 investment    
The BHS Innovation Fund is excited to award a specia l COVID-19 Teaching and Learning Response Grant to Brookline High School educators in Summer 2020. Reacting with urgency to the unprecedented change in the educational environment due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Innovation Fund recently spearheaded an effort to offer new grant funding, outside of our annual budget, for targeted faculty summer workshops. Funding these workshops will provide more than 30 educators from 7 departments the opportunity to collaborate simultaneously to address academic skill gaps, assess remote learning, share best practices and build community for students for the 2020-21 school year. 

COVID-19 Response Planning Grants
$5,500 investment
The BHS Innovation Fund has offered short-term Planning Grants to faculty members who want to initiate innovative standalone projects or explore an opportunity to develop a full course proposal in the upcoming year. As part of our COVID-19 response, we are supporting the following faculty projects:
  • Special Education Department (Faculty - Alissa Parker and Alexa Bader): Special Education in a Virtual World   
  • Special Education Department (Faculty - Andrea Lynch, Brendan McCarthy and Jim Henry): Online Virtual Learning Planning Grant For Transition Curriculum Using Signal Success 
  • Performing Arts Department/Music (Faculty - Carolyn Castellano): Alumni/Professional Zoom Workshops in the Field of Music 
  • Visual Arts Department (Faculty - Elizabeth Brennan, Donna Sartanowicz, and Lisa Francescon): Online Atelier 
  • BHS Library (Faculty - Ann Collins, Bridget Knightly, Shelley Mains, and Maura McGill): Cybrary: Building a More Digitally Dynamic Library  
  • Special Education Department/School-wide (Faculty - Matthew DeGrace): Remote Learning Example Catalog

New Grant: Coding @ BHS 
$150,0000 investment over two years
This new, interdepartmental grant is a collaborative effort from the departments of Math, Science and Career and Technical Education that will offer coding experiences to all BHS students by embedding computer science (coding) curriculum into general math and science courses at the high school so that every student will graduate with a basic understanding of how to code through hands-on coding practice. The Innovation Fund is excited to support this grant because exposing all BHS students to coding will: 
  • Begin to prepare all students who wish to pursue career opportunities in the computer science field;
  • Provide all students with coding knowledge and problem solving experiences that are applicable to a wide variety of career paths; and
  • Address systemic inequities that create roadblocks for students of color and young women to enter computer science fields.
The timing of this school-wide initiative is aligned with the current construction of the new STEM wing at BHS. Part of the work that faculty will do, in examining the existing BHS curricula across departments, will als o determine how coding fits in with other STEM courses and learning opportunities for all students. Faculty leads will be: Tyler Wooley-Brown (Science/Physics), Adam Fried (Math) and Christine Shen (Math).

Current Grants: Experiential Physics, Brookline Lens and Advisory/Hub
$120,000 investment for second year of funding
Our currently-funded programs c ontinue into their second year of funding.

Finding Yourself in the Curriculum (FYC) Program Grant Concludes
The FYC program is a two-year school-wide initiative that connects students, teachers, and school leaders and develops a deeper understanding of identity through classroom curricula and faculty learning opportunities. FYC serves as a vehicle for learning and reflection about self-identity, for building empathy for others, for promoting awareness regarding power and privilege, for inspiring action, and for furthering the content goals of each individual course. This program allows all BHS teachers to embed thoughtful, course-specific curricula regarding many aspects of identity, with emphasis on the “Big 8” social identities: race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion/spirituality, nationality and socioeconomic status.

The crowning achievement is the Finding Yourself in the Curriculum website . Teachers can consult this resource to better understand questions like “What is the difference between race and ethnicity?” or “What language should I use when I talk about disability?” before they tackle difficult topics in their classes. They can also use it to link to a wealth of other resources. Students can explore it as well; in fact, in our most recent Asking for Courage Day, when BHS engages in conversations about race and racism, students created a scavenger hunt for their peers to complete in class using the glossary. Read more about the accomplishments of the FYC program 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 Overseers, 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 .

Thank you for being part of the Fund team. We will miss you!
Jill Altshuler, departing Vice Chair, Board; and Chair, Nominating Committee
Peter Jacobs, departing Co-Chair, Program Committee
Scott Mahoney
Faheem Rasool
Winifred Swan
Lori Farnan
Rachel Kalvert
Gaby Alcala Levy
Michael Murphy
Piper Trelstad
Sue Gilzow, webmaster and graphic designer

Welcome Aboard!
Sara Berkson
Helen Cheng
Steven Davis
Shibani Sain Rao
Nick Peterson
New Executive Leadership Roles 
For the 2020-21 year, we are pleased to announce these updates to our Executive leadership team:
  • Ellen Rizika, Chair, Board of Directors
  • Maureen Fallon, Vice Chair, Board of Directors (new) 
  • Board of Overseers: Co-Chairs Louise Shah and Mary Beth Landrum (new)
  • Finance Committee: David Weisner, Treasurer; Helen Cheng, Assistant Treasurer (new)
  • Program Committee: Co-Chairs Irene Abrams and Bill Nancarrow (new)
  • Fundraising Committee: Chair Polly Ross Ribatt; Co-Vice Chairs Shibani Sain Rao (new) and Louise Shah (new) 
  • Communications Committee: Co-Chairs Elizabeth Schlosberg and Michele Rozen (new); Vice Chair Mara Littman
See all of our Directors, Overseers, and Executive Leadership here .

Join our Team
We are actively recruiting parent volunteers to join our Communications Committee to help with a variety of projects, including writing, video creation, email marketing, graphic design/social media, website activities, and more. Communications works with the other Fund committees, and BHS faculty and leadership, to advance community awareness and engagement, support fundraising, and promote events. Participation with the Communications Committee is a great way to connect with other parents. Volunteers do not need to join our Boards to be involved. Please contact bhsinnovationfund@psbma.org for more information .
Best Wishes, Class of 2020!
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!
The mission of the Innovation Fund is to empower the BHS faculty and community by fostering a culture of innovation and supporting the development of new ideas and initiatives that will enable our students to thrive in the 21st Century.