It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

Educator Grants—
Imagine the Possibilities!

Through a competitive grants process, Auburn Education Foundation awards funding to educators who have creative ideas that will capture the attention and imagination of Auburn Enlarged City School District students. Funding is awarded to projects that cannot be supported through the regular district budget and fall within at least one of the following six areas: Academics, Arts, Life Skills, Character Education, Physical Education & Wellness, and Technology.

We offer two grant cycles per academic year:

FALL APPLICATION  |  Due by Tuesday, October 15, 2019

SPRING APPLICATION  |  Due by Monday, February 17, 2020

Educator Grants—
Imagine the Possibilities!

Through a competitive grants process, Auburn Education Foundation awards funding to educators who have creative ideas that will capture the attention and imagination of Auburn Enlarged City School District students. Funding is awarded to projects that cannot be supported through the regular district budget and fall within at least one of the following six areas: Academics, Arts, Life Skills, Character Education, Physical Education & Wellness, and Technology.

We offer two grant cycles per academic year:

FALL APPLICATION  |  Due by Monday, October 15, 2018

SPRING APPLICATION  |  Due by Friday, February 15, 2019

Ready to apply
for a grant?

To date, Auburn Education Foundation has funded more than 118 creative educational projects in grades K-12 throughout the Auburn Enlarged City School District. Below are descriptions of some of the projects we have supported that have enabled students to learn in unique and innovative ways. Funding for these projects was made possible through generous donations from the community, alumni, corporations, foundations, and individuals. On behalf of the educators and their students, Auburn Education Foundation thanks its sponsors and donors for their continued support!

2018 - 2019 Grants

Visiting Author Maker Faire

All Elementary Schools

Authors Miranda and Baptiste Paul along with Cameroon farmer Tantoh Nforba, the subject of the Paul’s book, I Am Farmer, visited each elementary school and shared how Tantoh solved water problems and developed community gardens in his country. Auburn Education Foundation funded an evening event where parents, students and community members could learn about the experiences of the authors, illustrator and Farmer Tantoh. The event also featured a Maker Faire in which students in grades 3-6 shared environmentally focused projects. Students, individually or in groups, identified an environmental problem and developed a solution to this problem using the design process taught in the Innovation Lab located in each elementary building. The seed money for these Labs was also funded by Auburn Education Foundation. Chosen projects were displayed at the evening event and the students discussed their projects with attendees.


Sound Recording Technologies

Auburn Jr. High

Auburn Junior High School students interested in the technical aspects of music and visual design (stage lighting, acoustics, live sound mixing) as well as public address technologies (promethean board application, video projection ) will have the opportunity to set up, facilitate, and tear down sound and audio at AJHS events (assemblies, guest speakers, meetings, award ceremonies, etc.). This will be accomplished with the purchase of a set of two wireless microphones and an earset lavalier.

First Person View Drone Project

Auburn Jr. High

With the purchase of three first person view drones, students at Auburn Junior High School will be able to describe, repair and operate these drones AJHS students will be able to experience piloting drones remotely and acquire an understanding of drone technology. They will also have the opportunity to use them in sanctioned BOCES drone competitions.

Project Invent

The Project Invent Program provides curriculum and gives students an opportunity to work with engineer professors from MIT to realize a solution to a global or local issue. Students involved in this program will submit projects to Project Invent and if chosen, will travel to Silicon Valley to pitch their design to industry leaders.

Essential Modular Circuits

Auburn High School

These kits will provide students in the electronics and engineering classes at Auburn High School with simple, easy to understand materials from which they can build series and parallel circuits. Students will increase their understanding of circuits and their applications in modern society.

“Expanding Your Horizons” Girls STEM Conference

Auburn Jr. High

This one day STEM conference held at Cornell University targets 7th and 8th grade girls who would not otherwise be able to participate in a program of this nature. Conference goals are to stimulate the participants’ interest in math and science through hands-on activities and to foster awareness of math and science-related careers.


Asian Elephant Live Free Coloring Book

Herman Avenue Elementary School – 5th and 6th Grade

Herman Avenue fifth and sixth grade students will have the opportunity to develop, illustrate and write captions for an innovative coloring book and to assist the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. Students will gain knowledge and strengthen their appreciation of endangered species, a different culture and how to be a global citizen. Coloring books will be given to each participating student and a copy will be sent to each elementary library. Electronic copies will be sent to the Elephant Nature Park where profits from sales will be used to care for the animals at the park.

Advancing Literacy Skills with Karaoke

Genesee Elementary School

The purchase of a karaoke machine will allow students at Genesee Elementary School to use music and lyrics as a way to strengthen literacy skills. Students will be motivated through music to use phonics to read and identify the link of rhythm, sound and text.

2017 - 2018 Grants

Breakout Boxes

Seward Elementary School

Beth Cuddy

Breakout kits are immersive learning games. Students work in small groups and are given a series of clues which they have to solve in order to “break in” to a locked box. The activity requires the use of skills such as cooperation, critical thinking, communication, and problem solving. Students are engaged, enthusiastic and motivated while working to solve the puzzle. These boxes can be designed to be used with any curriculum at any grade level.

MakerSpace-Combining Coding, Fashion and Micro-computers

Auburn Jr. High

Kasha Fletcher    

Through learning, understanding and application of knowledge, students will apply concepts of STEAM to create electronic functioning textiles. Students will collaborate in teams to design and electronically coded functional textile that is operable by the wearer or user of the textile. Students will be able to explain and present the process to the community.

“The Most Beautiful Roof in The World”

Seward Elementary School

Michael Vail        

The students of Mr. Losani and Mr. Vail’s fifth grade classroom at Seward received an Auburn Education Foundation grant for the purchase of a classroom set of the book, “The Most Beautiful Roof in the World.” The book is a vivid encounter of a famous conservationist, Meg Lowman, and her escapades into the canopy of the rainforests of Central and South America. Students will conduct several projects while completing a unit on the rainforest using this book as a guide.

Math Board Game Library

All elementary schools 

Stephan Kowalski

A series of math games will be housed in the library of each elementary school. Teachers will be able to sign out the games for use in small group instruction. The games enhance the existing curriculum and engage students in fun and relevant learning activities.


Auburn Jr. High

Marcella Didio       

Eight complete kits will be housed in the Auburn Junior High School Library for school-wide use. The kits are an innovative way for students to demonstrate their learning.  Students do not sit in seats, read from a book, look at a screen or listen to a teacher. Instead, students talk to one another about information from the book and think how this information applies to the clue they are reading.

Breakout the Learning: Thinking Outside the Box


Christina Lupo

Five breakout kits that encourage student engagement and learning through collaborative problem solving will be housed in the high school library for teacher use. These boxes allow students to use inquiry, technology and collaboration to work through the clues and solve problems to demonstrate their understandings on a topic. These boxes are cross-curricular and can be used in any subject area.

iPod's for Reluctant Readers

Auburn Jr. High

iPod’s will be used by those students who have difficulty reading independently for any length of time. Several of the seventh graders at AJHS are reading below grade level and innovative ideas are being sought and used to engage these students. Providing these students with audio books that they can listen to as they read will help the reluctant reader and advance his/her literacy.

NGSS Phenomena-based 7th Grade Audubon Trip

Auburn Jr. High

Lisa Spencer 

All 7th grade students will take a trip to the Montezuma Audubon Center in Savannah, NY. This grant pays for the cost of admission. The new state and national science standards (NGSS) focus on phenomena-based learning. Students will use this opportunity to investigate the phenomena of invasive species and its impact on biodiversity. Students will be able to experience first-hand how local ecosystems are impacted. All activities are designed to increase student understanding and awareness of this phenomena.

Challenging Students to Break-Out

Auburn High School

Brian Bealer

Chemistry students will actually construct six breakout boxes that will then be used by chemistry classes at the high school. The boxes are based around a series of puzzles that students have to solve in order to solve the problem. They are tailored for the subject so that students have to use content knowledge to determine the answer. To encourage the success of the group, each breakout box will contain a key to a larger chest that can only be opened once every group has successfully completed all aspects of the activity.

Fitness to the Beat of a Different Drum

Auburn Jr. High

Shelly Connors      

This grant will focus on how music and rhythm can be related to fitness. The drums needed for this project were purchased by Auburn Education Foundation in a previous grant cycle. Several state and national Physical Education conferences have featured the incorporation of drumming into a fitness program to improve fitness, rhythm and behavior. The music and physical education teachers will work together to implement POUND and Drums Alive, two types of drumming-for-fitness programs.

Sustainability Workshops – All 5th Grade Students

All elementary schools

Cayuga County Cornell Cooperative Extension educators will conduct sustainability lessons to each 5th grade classroom in the district. Through a series of hands-on interactions during class times, students learn about sustainability and the environment including recycling, re-purposing, composting and more. District 5th grade teachers will be trained so that the program can be continued each year.

2017-18 Special Project

Genesee Elementary School

Genesee Elementary School’s Odyssey of the Mind team under the direction of Mrs. Anne Mlod, challenged themselves to solve a problem in the community. They chose to focus on the fact that people do not really know about other people around the world and do not do as many kinds acts as they should. With a grant from the Columbian Foundation, the team connected with Odyssey teams in other countries and sent kindness boxes. Each box contained wristbands that say “Kindness is Key”, Tootsie Pops and Kiva gift cards to support Kiva projects which are loans to help people in poverty start a business. Boxes went to teams in Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Mexico, Russia, Singapore as well as teams in the United States. All were asked to do acts of kindness and report back to the Genesee Odyssey team.

Playground & Interactive Play Space

Preschool program at Auburn High School

A safe outdoor playground and interactive play space for toddler and preschool age children who attend the AHS preschool program. Through play activities, the children will exercise, learn new skills, challenge themselves and develop physically, mentally and socially.


High school students collaborated with engineers, architects, and builders. These students had the opportunity to take on leadership roles, mentor other students, and work with one another.


2016 - 2017 Grants

Auburn A to Z

Genesee Elementary    

Marie Jesinski, Anne Mlod, Cinda Gilmore

All district fourth graders in the Auburn School District participate in the Passport to History program. Because finding primary source material written at a fourth grade level to introduce the historical sites to students has been a challenge, the students in Mrs. Gilmore’s and Ms. Jasinski’s fourth grades, working with Mrs. Mlod, will write, illustrate and publish an alphabet book of Auburn. The book will be shared with all schools and used to provide background knowledge of Auburn’s cultural and historic sites. This project is part of a larger unit with the essential question “How does caring about the place we live, appreciating historical and cultural environments and appreciating the past and present help us to be better citizens?”


Victoria Calarco on behalf of all five elementary librarians   

In March, author Alexandra Sly will be visiting the five Auburn Elementary Schools. Her books are about science topics and illustrated with photographs she has taken. She also offers InstaStem Videoconferences which include an introduction to science photography and captions, photographic techniques, and a critique of student photography and captions. This funding along with a $100 donation from each elementary school parent teacher group will cover the fees to have 7 students from each of the buildings and 7 students from a global partner school work intimately with Alexandra Sly. Each building will also have one entire grade level participate in writing science captions while receiving a personal critique from Alexandra. The funds will also pay to get student photography printed professionally.


”Bone Tissue engineering: An Interative Engineering Design Module “

Sharon Campanelli  Auburn Jr. High School   (all 7th grade students)         

This S.T.E.M. engineering design project focuses on creating engineered bone tissue to repair “actual” bone. Students will design a cranial mesh implant for a “patient” (Styrofoam mannequin head) suffering a traumatic skull injury. Students will be exposed to the overarching ideas that engineers apply science to real-world problems – in this case a patient’s inability to heal completely on their own. Students will also gain understanding of interrelated organ systems in the context of bone growth and healing as the design for blood flow and tissue function. Students will explore and test how their designs address potential solutions.

World Music Drumming and Dancing

Auburn Jr. High 

Lisa Edlind

 This grant will fund World Music Drumming Curriculum and the instruments to accompany it.

This program will bring a cultural awareness to middle school students. Ms. Edlind has ten years of experience working with this curriculum, its creator and master teachers and drummers from around the world. Educators and administrators have reported better, more educationally integrated classes, improved attendance, and fewer discipline problems when students are involved with this program. Students learn to communicate better with fellow students and also how to lead, understand and demonstrate the techniques of cooperative teamwork. Students also will gain a better understanding and place greater value on the peoples and musical cultures of Africa and the Caribbean.

Yoga in the Classroom

Auburn Jr. High

Krisi Newton  

Anti-bullying, health and wellness and character education are common themes in American schools today, all focusing on educating the whole child, mind, body and spirit. Yoga, by nature, supports this learning. Research shows that yoga leads to academic achievement, positive behavior and physical and mental well-being of students. This grant will allow for the purchase of mats, blocks and straps, flameless candles, room darkening shades, lavender scented oil and cleaner for the mats. The instructor will implement Meditation Mondays in her Health and Physical education classes a few times per semester and in an after school PBL session using the same philosophy. This proposal is part of our district initiative to enhance student social and emotional developmental health.


Sawing into the Future

Auburn High School Technology 

Justin Herrling

This is to fund the purchase of a Hudson Portable Sawmill to be used in woodworking, construction and civil engineering classes. Students will brainstorm and design projects with lumber that they will have cut and then bring their designs to fruition. Math and science teachers will be invited to work with these classes to integrate the curriculum (milling dimensioning, species of trees and uses). The instructor also plans to have students partner with those who could help with design and creation of structures and furniture. Students would also be able to make items needed for display, seating and storage at the high school. Overall, students would be gaining actual experience in a field involving technology.


Seward’s Edible Outdoor Classroom

Seward Elementary School

Meredith Torrisi  

The edible outdoor classroom is a student-designed edible forest garden and outdoor learning space located on the grounds of Seward Elementary School. Initiated in 2015 by Meredith Torrisi’s fifth grade class, the project encompasses the design and implementation of an outdoor learning space where students at all grade levels can connect lessons in science, math, ELA, health and nutrition to hands-on experiences in nature. AEF awarded a grant for this project for Phase I start up. This present grant is for Phase II which includes the building of an outdoor structure (pergola style) and establishing tree stump seating, raised beds, a pollinator garden and compost bins.



Bottle and Can Recycling

All buildings

Sustainability Committee

This project will place containers to collect recyclable materials in classrooms and common areas, initially at AHS followed by the other school buildings. By collaborating with a variety of student groups, faculty, administration and maintenance, this student driven project will help to address the recycling issue and provide all individuals in our schools the opportunity to help create a greener more sustainable school.

Lorraine Barry Memorial Art Award

The Barry family gives this monetary award to an Auburn High School art teacher to spend on supplies for his/her art classes.

This award was created in 2011 by Mrs. Barry’s family. Lorraine Barry was a wife and the mother of six children.  Mrs. Barry was an accomplished artist. Her works include oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics and sketches. A sampling of her art has been published in a book titled The Art of Lorraine Barry.

Mackenzie Ostrander receiving the award from Janie Hutchinson.

2015 - 2016 Grants

Seneca Lake Ecology Research Trip

Auburn High School  

Kathleen Austin

Nearly 120 high school students explored and investigated lake ecology while aboard the Scandling research vessel on Seneca Lake. Students worked collaboratively, collecting biological, chemical and physical data from the lake water and bottom sediments. The data was compiled and sent to Fingerlakes Institute to become part of the EPA project monitoring the health of the lake. Researcher Nadia Harvieux from the Institute, of Hobart College assisted in leading student research.

National Archery Program

Auburn High School

Jason Brichard, Shelley Connors

The Physical Education Department updated and improved both the archery equipment and the curriculum. This  included  the participation in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) which has been shown to improve school attendance and behavior. NASP is a cooperative effort between state conservation departments, school systems and private organizations to engage students in outdoor activities. Archery is a non-discriminatory sport and can be taught through this program to almost any student of nearly any age or skill level.


Outdoor Classroom and Garden

Seward Elementary School

Meredith Torrisi

The courtyard at Seward Elementary School was turned into a regenerative edible garden. The garden classroom was opened to all students who attend Seward and was used to study science, nutrition, ecology, and environmental issues. The students were able to observe the life cycle of plants, the life cycle of the soil and see how plants can have a symbiotic relationship with one another. Students prepared, planted, maintained and cultivated the garden.


Matt McElligott Evening Program

All Elementary Schools 

Elementary Librarians

Matt McElligott, a popular children’s author and illustrator, visited Auburn elementary schools the week of March 7, 2016. This grant added an evening program for students and their families during that week. The author did an interactive presentation on his newly released book — Mad Scientist Academy: The dinosaur Disaster. The goal of an author visit is to encourage students to read and write.

To Kill a Mockingbird Performance at Syracuse Stage

Auburn High School

Kimberly Doan

Several English classes at Auburn High School read and discussed the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. They then attended the performance at Syracuse Stage. Seeing this particular play was an effective way to teach academic content, to increase student tolerance by providing exposure to a broader, more diverse world and to improve the ability of students to recognize what others are thinking and/or feeling.

Filipino Culture Night

Genesee Elementary

Anne Mlod

Mrs. Mlod, Genesee School Librarian, was selected as aTeachers for Global Classrooms Fellow. She travelled to the Philippines in June. Students at Genesee learned about the Philippines prior to her departure.  At the Filipino Culture night, students and their families tasted Filipino food, played Filipino games and made Filipino crafts.

Creating, Collaborating and Problem Solving with Legos!

Genesee Elementary

Anne Mlod, Cinda Gilmore

Two base plates and a Lego Robotic/WeDo resource kit for students have been purchased for the students at Genesee Elementary School. These component parts supplement kits already available to the students and allow more students to learn Scratch, a free coding program from MIT that allows students to develop their own interactive stories, games and animation. Working with these legos in this capacity help students to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively, all essential skills for the 21st century.