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The BHEF Insta-Grant Program is designed to broaden the impact of the BHEF mission to enhance the educational experience of all children within the Byram Hills Central School District, and to serve as a catalyst for new ideas for annual grants written by teachers and administrators.


BHEF Insta-Grants provide teachers and administrators with funding for short-term educational programs. Insta-Grants may fund speakers, workshops, class trips, author visits, or other programs that impact learning and personal or professional development. 


Insta-Grant awards may not exceed $2,500, and these grants must be implemented within six (6) months or before the end of the academic year. By comparison, traditional grants are awarded once per year, with implementation over a two-year period.  For all grants, any unused or under-spent funds are returned to the BHEF.

2020-21 Insta-Grants

Pupil Core Eye Tracking Glasses, BHHS ($2,500): This insta-grant will provide funding for the Pupil Core Eye Tracking Glasses, an eye tracking device that provides detailed information about the eye’s movement including gaze direction and pupil size data as well as projecting the gaze location into the real world using its outward facing camera. The glasses will  be used by a student in the Authentic Science Research program for his research project, and would play a beneficial role as a tool in multiple other projects within the ASR program. The tracker will also be used within the Varsity Sports programs for precision, for example use by a quarterback in football for practicing efficient eye progression. Additionally, Dan Santora, the athletic trainer at the HS, believes the eye tracker could have applications in the diagnosis and treatment of concussions.

Fun, Games and Learning During Recess (1st Grade), Coman Hill ($2,061):  The goal of this insta-grant is to provide each Cohort of First Grade Classes with an indoor recess crate filled with activities designed to enhance their creativity, build problem solving skills and foster imaginative play.  Covid has certainly come with many challenges.  One of the biggest challenges for primary classroom teachers is the fact that our children never leave our classroom.  Now our classrooms also serve as a lunchroom, gym, library, music room, art room, tech lab and indoor recess play area.  This is of particular concern once it becomes too cold to have outdoor recess or breaks.  The children will be confined to our classroom for weeks at a time every minute of the school day.  We feel strongly that indoor recess should provide an opportunity for children to be challenged and engaged in fun and meaningful activities.


2019-20 Insta-Grants

Using Meditation in the Classroom to Promote Executive Functioning Skills, HCC ($431): This grant fits into the HCC missions of “creating an active learning community in which everyone is empowered to take risks and to embrace rigor while maintaining a balanced healthy mindset.”  It also encourages personal development by promoting mindful meditation as a protice for personal wellness.  Meditation improves learning by giving students a tool to assist in regulating emotions in a positive way and assists in developing the frontal lobe of the brain, crucial for improving executive functioning skills. Funded Byram Hills Education Foundation, as well as the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Plants with Purpose Greenhouse, BHHS ($2,479): The goal of this grant is to support the Life Skill Science program.  The school requested funds to build a greenhouse to be used to develop a hands on approach where students would plant, manage and care for plants and vegetables.  In addition it will also be used by the Biology classes to aid in their course instructions.  Compost from the cafeterials will be used to help in the growing process, promoting a holistic approach to sustainability. Funded Byram Hills Education Foundation, as well as the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Mobile Podcasting Equipment, BHHS ($1,944): As part of the 21st Century skills. The English department has been exploring technology as a means to help students develop literacy in as many modes of communication as possible.  Podcasting offers BHHS students the opportunity to develop skills in writing, journalism/interviewing, editing and speaking, all while affording the opportunity to publish student work to an authentic audience via Bobcat TV.

2018-19 Insta-Grants

Internet of Things, BHHS ($1,929): This grant funds Arduino microprocessor kits for use in various computer science classes, physics labs and engineering classes. The devices can be used to teach abstract mathematical principles as well as practical electronics. Generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.


Teaching for Artistic Behavior Summer Institute, BHHS ($2,500): This grant funds professional development to acquire plans, tools and strategies to implement a choice-based art curriculum. Choice-based art education, and Teaching for Artistic Behavior are new ideas that are revolutionizing art education, enabling students to act and be treated as artists who direct their own learning and independently choose and explore art ideas.


Place-based Experimental Learning, BHHS ($2,426): This grant funds navigational and measurement tools to enable students to determine their own position on earth using sextants and surveyors.


Design and Create for 21st Century Learning, HCC ($2,300): This grant funds materials for the HCC Library makerspace to support creative design and expression by any and all students and teachers at HCC. The grant includes cubelets, modular robotics and a Button Making machines and accessories, affording students the opportunity to explore, design and create using physical and tangible thing that extend their learning. Generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Multi-Sensory Tools for the Diverse Learner, Coman Hill ($947): This grant provides materials for learners having special needs with the tools they need to access the curriculum using a multi-sensory approach. Students benefit from visual tools, physical supports to help them stay focused, sensory tools to help them remain calm and attentive, and assistive technology to help them reach their highest potential. 


Mindful Learning, Coman Hill ($1,235): This grant provides Kindergarten students flexible seating choices, allowing children to wobble, bounce, rock, kneel or stand which increases oxygen flow to the brain, blood flow and core strength. It also helps young minds be more alert and focused and creates a classroom environment that is conducive to open collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund. 


Wiggle While You Work, Coman Hill ($2,437): This grant allows Second Grade students to differentiate their learning environment, enabling students to fully engage in and access the curriculum in a way that best meets individual learning needs. Students will identify their personal learning style and what works best to maximize their learning experience and produce quality work. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund. 

2017-18 Insta-Grants

Howling and Learning about Wolves, Wampus ($2,390): This grants supports the study of interdependence, a topic that is an integral part of the third grade and art curriculum, by funding a visit to the Wolf Conservation Center in Salem, NY where students observe and study wolves, their relationship with the environment and the human role in protecting their future. 

Storyworks Reading, Wampus ($1,399 and $1,468): These two grants support second and third grade students in reaching a higher rate of literacy achievement and engagement using a variety of resources during Reading and Writing workshops. 

Wellness Day Keynote Speaker, BHHS ($2,500): This grant funds the BHHS Wellness Day keynote speaker presentation by Shaun Derik inspires students to achieve their goals and to pursue their dreams by proactively working through obstacles and setbacks. This grant is generously supported by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.


Solar Telescope, BHHS ($1,518): This grant funds a specialized astronomical telescope capable of direct solar observations with the astronomy, earth science and physics classes, as well as the astronomy club, giving students more hands on experience and opening up new and innovate ways of studying the sun. This grant is generously supported by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund and the BHHS Class of 1977.


Vex Robotics Competitions, BHHS ($2,497): This grant funds resources for the robotics science elective courses. This grant is generously supported by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Physioballs, BHHS ($1,200): This grant allows students to experience ‘active sitting’ which encourages students to stay alert while reducing fatigue throughout the day. This grant is generously supported by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Motion Cameras for Study of Ecosystems, BHHS ($1,862):  This grant funds motion triggered cameras for students studying biodiversity surveys, wildlife studies, and other environmental science topics. This grant is generously supported by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.


2016-17 Insta-Grants

GAGA Ball (Wampus, $2,495): This grant funds construction of a GAGA Dodge Ball Pit for the Wampus playground for use during recess, FUEL and PE. GAGA enables students to develop strategic thinking along with agility, jumping, striking and dodging as part of this fun and interactive activity. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.


Stage Monitoring System (BHHS, $1,410): This grant funds equipment necessary to complete two Assistant Stage Manager Stations and a back stage monitor, modeled after a professional stage monitoring system. The system allows for better management of the stage space and provides an experience more like that of a professional theatre. The system would be used for the three theatre productions each year as well as for the many band, orchestra and choir concerts and other events hosted in the auditorium. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.


Enhanced Technology in Dance Studio (BHHS, $2,455): 

This grant lets the Physical Education Department enhance technology in the dance studio by wiring new components to the existing flat screen TV. Teachers and coaches will be able to provide new and creative ways to present material effectively and efficiently using programs and applications that they are currently unable to present in the dance studio. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.


Student Voice Circles: A Leadership and Facilitation Model for Student Learners (BHHS, $2,500): This grant funds a leadership training program to promote cultural diversity and global competence among Sophomore and Junior members of the Student Leadership Board. Students and teachers will receive training on Student Voice Circles – a school leadership and improvement model based on inclusion and equity. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Potterbot 3D Ceramic Printer (BHHS $2,500): This ceramic printer allows art students to use CAD software to design unique and reproducible forms and to create more complex forms than typical hand building and wheel forming processes allow. This printer lays “ribbons” of clay quickly and precisely so resulting art piece can be altered in any way using traditional claywork methods or left intact for firing. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Bringing Nature to Life through the Bruce Museum of Art (Wampus, $905): This program brings museum objects and live animals to eight third grade classrooms. The program engages students in an interactive, object and inquiry based learning experience that incorporates both science and art in the classroom setting.

"On behalf of the third grade teachers, I would like to extend our gratitude for the rewarding hands-on experience the Bruce Museum provided to our students yesterday and today. This experience was interdisciplinary, connecting our ELA unit on the environment, our science unit on sustainability, and art unit on positive and negative space. 

In our current culture, pop-up art museums are providing art to all.  Thank you for taking the time to write a BHEF Insta-grant to merge the museum experience into our classroom environment. ~ Sasha Davies"


2015-16 Insta-Grants

Technology for Physical Education (BHHS, $2,000): The BHEF is pleased to partner with the Bobcat Boosters to fund this media system for the Physical Education department. This technology, including flat screen TV and state of the art media equipment, will support various health education programs and CPR instruction for all grade levels. This grant is generously supported by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund. 

Buddy Bench (Coman Hill $1,853): This grant funds a designated seating area on the playground as a safe and encouraging place for children to go when they feel alone or are having difficulty fitting in. Students will learn strategies and techniques whether they are seeking a buddy or if they want to make a positive difference by being a buddy. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Vernier Data System (BHHS: $2,497): This grant funds ten (10) Vernier LabQuest Mini Data Interfaces, sixteen Differential Voltage Probes and eight (8) Current Probes to be used for new programs in the physics, applied engineering and other applications in STEAM education. Physics students will use these devices for electronics explorations, utilizing the interfaces and probes to understand the characteristics of electrical and mechanical devices. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.


Music Production Studio Start-Up (BHHS: $2,348): This grant funds one (1) MacBook Pro laptop and music software for the Electronic Music and Guitar Workshop elective, providing industry standard recording technologies and tools for students to compose, edit and mix high quality music or sound. 


Noise Canceling Headphones (BHHS: $275): This grant funds five (5) Earmuff/Noise Cancelling headphones and ten (10) Hygiene Kits for the headphones for students in the Flexible Support Program (FSP). The noise cancelling headphones will assist students by reducing distractions, allowing better focus on educational activities.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam (Wampus: $1,133): This grant funds fifteen webcams and related technology for students at Wampus to connect with other students in the community and throughout the globe through programs such as the Global Read Aloud initiative or other platforms to discuss common books or activities. 

Bobcat Buddies (Coman Hill: $1,847): This grant funds imaginative play and sensory integration materials, board games, and craft supplies to be used throughout the Bobcat Buddy program at Coman Hill which helps develop social, communication and interpersonal skills among students within and outside the classroom setting. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Everyone Matters Book Bank! (Coman Hill:  $2,348): This grant funds a set of grade-level library books to support the Everyone Matters campaign which advocates for every person’s right to dignity and respect, without judgment or shame. The books will be utilized for real aloud and small group lessons in support of the Everyone Matters initiative at Coman Hill when students have the opportunity to share something unique and special about themselves. This grant is generously funded by the Debra Leipman Yale Memorial Fund.

Fun with Phonics (Coman Hill: $1,371): This grant provides Kindergarten students in the Academic Support program with additional learning opportunities through play with collaborative games and activities, fostering skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and mastery of basic early literacy. 


Discovery through Performance with The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Co. (HCC: $1,925): This grant funds a performance and workshop of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Company for all eighth grade students. Students and actors will work in small groups to study accents, staging, costumes, swordplay, and modern screenwriting techniques. Following the workshop the students will create their own modernized performance for the HCC community.

2020-21 Instagrants
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