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Marshfield High has a therapy dog, thanks to grant

Marshfield High School has had a furry addition to its staff this year: Nala, a therapy dog in training, greets students when they enter the school each morning and can be seen padding down the hallway, eliciting smiles from the students, teachers, and staff she passes. Next year, when fully trained, Nala will get to work, helping students manage stress and school-induced anxiety, said Bob Keuther, the principal. 

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Nala, a therapy dog in training at Marshfield High School.Nala’s presence at the school is made possible by a grant provided by the Marshfield Education Foundation, a group founded in 2010 to raise money for projects dreamed up by school faculty and administration.

Other undertakings funded for the 2017-2018 school year include virtual reality headsets at the high school, wrist heart rate monitors for physical education classes at Furnace Brook Middle School, and new technology for the STEAM lab at Martinson Elementary School.

“Teachers can have these ideas of things that are different and creative and innovative, and apply for these grants,” said Sara Prouty, principal of Daniel Webster Elementary School. “They’re all for things that typically the budget wouldn’t be paying for.”

Most of the money the foundation is able to offer each year comes from an annual St. Patrick’s Day weekend 5K race. This year’s event will be held March 17 at 10 a.m. at the Brant Rock Esplanade in Marshfield. Runners and walkers will journey down Plymouth Avenue before turning onto Ocean Street, where the course ends with a view of the sea.

The foundation holds the annual race near St. Patrick’s Day to bank on the palpable merriment in the South Shore during a time of year when green clovers and leprechauns are on everyone’s minds.

“Scituate had the parade, but there was nothing in Marshfield celebrating St. Patrick’s Day,” said Tom Miller, a race committee member and the assistant superintendent of finance for the school district, of the group’s initial decision to hold the race in March. Webster School art teacher Nick DeRosa and his son constructed a robot for display in the school's lobby.

Eight years later, the group has approved 116 grants for Marshfield’s educators totaling more than $601,000, said John Giberti, president of the foundation.

One of the largest projects funded this year was the schoolwide reading program, “One Book, One DWS,” at Daniel Webster Elementary School. The $4,000 grant was used to buy a copy of “The Wild Robot” — about a robot named Roz who must learn how to survive when she finds herself on a remote, wild island — for every family and staff member at the school.

The community read the book through September and October and has held Roz-themed events throughout the year. Teachers have integrated the story into their curriculums. The band teacher wrote a song based on the book for the fourth- and fifth-grade band students to play at their holiday concert. A human-sized robot made by the art teacher stands in the lobby.

Prouty, who grew up in Marshfield and has worked in education for about 30 years, said of the program, “It has absolutely been the highlight of my career.”


June 16, 2016

Marshfield Education Foundation Awards 16 grants totaling $105,990 to Marshfield Public Schools

MARSHFIELD – Expanding C-STEM programming to all 8th graders, enhancing an outdoor classroom, and expanding an innovative writing program to all of the town’s elementary schools are among the 16 educational grants totaling $105,990 being awarded this week to Marshfield Public Schools by the Marshfield Education Foundation (MEF) for the 2016-2017 school year. This year’s grant selection process was the most competitive to date; MEF received a total of 28 grant requests totaling $402,530, the largest total requests in MEF’s history as a foundation.  

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“We were impressed with the quality of the grants and faced difficult decisions in choosing this year’s recipients,” said Rachel Babcock, Grant Committee Chair for MEF.  “Our goals in selecting grants are to seed innovation, expand what works, and support excellence in teaching and learning.  The educational initiatives we are funding for the next school year really met that gold standard, but we are even more excited about the opportunities they will bring to Marshfield Public School students.”

The largest single grant of $20,000 will supplement the implementation of a 2:1 Chromebook initiative for 8th graders at Furnace Brook Middle School, helping to prepare 8th graders for the 1:1 technological environment at the high school.

Two grants support the growing field of Science, Math, Engineering and Technology (STEM) learning to prepare students for the workforce of the future. Furnace Brook Middle School is being awarded $5,715 to expand CSTEM programming to all 8th graders, which includes computer programming, robotics and the engineering design process The Daniel Webster School will receive $10,890 to establish a STEAM Lab to allow students grades K-5 to explore STEM concepts in a student-centered, hands-on approach and allows for the purchase of microscopes, thermometers and other classroom supplies.

Three grants will support the growing research that increased student activity through the use of “stand-up” desks fosters creativity, increased student attention and increased active learning.  South River School will receive $7,139 to add adjustable height stools to each of the nine upper elementary school classrooms and the learning centers.  Governor Winslow School will receive $5,581 for the purchase of 20 stand-up desks. Eames Way School is being awarded $6,479 to the purchase of 36 Isokinetic ball chairs and 12 standup desks.

Additional grants being awarded by MEF for the 2016-2017 school year include:

  • $9,008 for a district-wide initiative known as Trait Crate Plus, which helps develop students into outstanding readers and writers of narrative, informative and opinion pieces;
  • $11,835 to enhance the outdoor classroom at Eames Way Elementary Schoo, creating a space that is accessible and fosters creativity through outdoor exploration, music and tactile play;
  • $7,500 to support the Marshfield High School Smart with Money Fair, an education event that teaches the basics of financial responsibility;
  • $7,000 to provide Chromebooks for a newcomer program at Martinson Elementary School, specifically designed for recent immigrant students with little or no English proficiency;
  • $5,125 to support educational technology for special education students at Governor Winslow School, opening the door to engaging students through multi-sensory, interactive learning instead of textbooks alone;
  • $2,996 to support a Tower Garden, a hands-on initiative at Marshfield High School to grow unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods in environmentally friendly methods;
  • $2,840 for BrainPOP! at Martinson Elementary School. This resource offers hundreds of educational animated movies, quizzes, games and activities aligned with Common Core for students with varied learning styles;
  • $2,580 to bring the town’s elementary school libraries up to local, state and national standards in technology;
  • $700 for a slab roller for use in the 3D-Design Program at Marshfidl High School;
  • $600 to establish an annual Furnace Brook Middle School Lierary magazine to recognize and feature student creativity, along with literary and artistic achievements.

Founded in 2010, the Marshfield Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and funding innovative, educational initiatives in Marshfield Public Schools.  Funding for the grants comes from the organization’s noted Marshfield St. Patrick’s Day 5K, which annually draws over 3,000 runners, and it’s annual Swing for the Kids Golf Tournament, which will be held August 1, 2016 at South Shore County Club in Hingham.  For more information, visit, or find us on Facebook or on Twitter as @MarshfieldEF.

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