Welcome, Alem!

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Friends of CRLS is thrilled to welcome Alem, our media & research assistant this summer, courtesy of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP). She has been researching ways we can energize our fundraising efforts and will be posting on our social media and website.

We asked Alem to tell us about herself:

“My name is Alem Abraham Cherinet and I am a rising sophomore at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. My favorite subject in school is math, because I just love solving problems especially the ones that have to do with numbers. I also play volleyball at the school and on my free time. When I grow up I want to become a Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner, and my dream college is UMass Boston. I’m very delighted to have been picked to work with FOCRLS, and I have had a great experience so far!” 

Alem has already contributed to the smooth running of our organization, and we know she’ll boost our productivity.

Zora Says Goodbye to FOCRLS

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Zora, who was our student assistant for four-and-a-half fleeting months, made a major impact on our work and morale here in the FOCRLS office. One of her major contributions was being our official Spring Bash photographer, taking well over a hundred images at our biggest fundraiser of the year. She also took photos of FOCRLS mascot Friendly the Falcon around the school, livened up our social media, designed flyers she posted on numerous bulletin boards, and created several cheery graphics we used to promote our Spring Raffle. In addition to putting her varied skills to use, Zora brought a refreshing and informative point of view to FOCRLS, made us laugh, and charmed everyone she met. Her last day with us was Thursday, June 13, as her school year drew to a close and summer beckoned her. We miss her already and are grateful for her being with us for a memorable semester.

2019 Faculty Distinction Awards Presented

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Mr. MacLaury, Ms. Chaney, Dr. Lam, and Mr. Dagher honored by CRLS Class of 2019

Four of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School’s most beloved and skillful teachers took the stage at the high school’s graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 6, 2019 to receive Faculty Distinction Awards.  Duncan MacLaury, Melissa Chaney, Eva Lam, and Ibrahim Dagher were nominated by members of the CRLS Class of 2019 for having the most positive influence on their high school years.  For the thirteenth consecutive year, Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a nonprofit association supporting opportunities at the high school, sponsored the awards, providing framed certificates and helping to convey the students’ admiration and gratitude.

Duncan MacLaury has been a U.S. History teacher at CRLS since 2016. He earned both his Bachelor of Arts in History and Master of Arts in Teaching from Tufts University, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In 2018, his research on the Black Panther Party of Boston was published in the edited collection, The Black Panther Party in a City Near You. Duncan is grateful to be teaching young people, and in particular, the diversity of youth in Cambridge, about history each day. By using complex primary sources and scholarly texts in his classes, he engages students to study history and its importance to the world. His teaching pedagogy strives to uplift the voices of people marginalized in the traditional study of U.S. History and emphasize the power of people in making change in the world. By providing students with tools to use as active agents of progress, he encourages them to create the world in which they wish to live.  One nominating student wrote, “Mr. MacLaury’s style of teaching is very accessible, and he can reach many different students and keep everyone engaged with the material.  I think Mr. MacLaury deserves a lot of appreciation for his teaching, and I love being in his class!”

Melissa Chaney is an artist and educator who has been teaching art for 20 years. She has been at CRLS since 2015, beginning at the High School Extension Program, where she taught for 8 years. Her earlier years involved teaching at a therapeutic school for adolescents. She holds a Master’s Degree from Lesley University in Creative Arts in Learning and a BFA from The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She has taught as adjunct faculty at MassArt and received the Massachusetts State Universities Educator Alumni Award in 2016. Ms. Chaney believes in encouraging all students to create their best work and to find their own unique artistic voices by creating a positive and supportive learning environment that focuses on students’ strengths and potential.  One nominating student wrote, “I have taken three art classes with Ms. Chaney, and she is one of the most supportive and encouraging teachers I have ever had.  She cares about her students as people, not just in the classroom, and wants us to learn and grow in an encouraging environment.  I really love how she takes time to engage individually with each student, and I would have taken so many more classes with her if I could!”

Eva Lam is finishing her first year of teaching AP World History and AP Comparative Government and Politics at CRLS. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from Harvard University and a doctorate in education from the University of Oxford. Her classes encourage students to develop a broader perspective on the world and to seek a deeper understanding of history and politics. She strives to make complex questions understandable, but not simple.  Eva is grateful to her students, and particularly to the Class of 2019, for their curiosity, their hard work, and their excellent sense of humor.  One nominating student wrote, “Dr. Lam is not only an effective teacher but one with a contagious enthusiasm for the subjects she teaches. By the time I was finished with AP World History, I was equipped with not just a vast array of knowledge but the critical thinking skills to dissect and breakdown information. She is also one of the most compassionate teachers at Rindge, knowing when to pause and give students time to process, and she is more than happy to be there for students. Dr. Lam is amazing as a teacher and as a human being.”

Ibrahim Dagher has survived wars, economic meltdowns and, now, 10 years of teaching at CRLS. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Northeastern University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.  Mr. Dagher pioneered CRLS’s Arabic Language Program, developing its curriculum, and growing it to four levels serving over 150 students per year.  He encourages his students to be open and fair-minded freethinkers, driven by inquiry and sound principles, resistant to any herd mentality or prejudgment and, underneath it all, laughing and maintaining a sense of humor as a skill to help them through their own journeys of survivorship. Mr. Dagher is the proud advisor of the school’s UNICEF and Arabic Clubs and serves on the CRLS Extra Curricular Committee.  One nominating student wrote, “Mr. Dagher taught me so much and is the reason I’m going to study Arabic in college.  He wasn’t afraid to stray from the strict curriculum — to talk to us about life, ask how we were doing, laugh — but still got through a ton of material in a very thoughtful, methodical way.  He works harder than he has to and brings so much positive energy into the day of his students.”    

Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School joins the graduates in thanking these four extraordinary teachers for making high school education an inspiring and meaningful experience.

To learn more about Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, volunteer, donate, establish a scholarship, or add your business to the roster of “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community STEAM Scholarships” sponsors, please visit focrls.org, email [email protected], or call 857-235-9290.

Faculty Innovation Grantees Announced for 2019

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Congratulations to our 2019 Faculty Innovation Grantees! These CRLS teachers and advisers will be energizing education with a little help from Friends of CRLS. Grants are up to $1,000 each to fund these projects. Our total number of grantees since 2007 is now 205.

  • David Figueroa, Teacher, ELL Department (pictured above) — “The Common Ground through Dance Initiative” to provide workshops led by Jean Appolon, director of Haitian contemporary dance company JAE, addressing themes of identity through dance and movement.
  • Alvaro Amaral and Shantu Salvi, Health and Wellness Teachers — “Development of Nutrition Education Curriculum with Healthy Foods” to make the Nutrition course in the wellness department more skills-based and engaging by introducing students to new foods and new ways to prepare food.
  • Sandra Cañas, Enroot Program Director, and Juan Casillas, Faculty Latino Club Adviser — “African American and African Caribbean Showcase / Latino Club” to bring performers to CRLS to showcase the different music and dances from Afro Caribbean cultures at an event organized by students.
  • Brett Cramp, Drama Teacher — “Guest Artist Theater Maker & Choreographer” to collaborate with dancer/choreographer/actor Junior Cius, a CRLS alum, on an original physical theater piece.
  • Vera Duarte, Teacher-in-Charge, ELL Department — “Bringing the Prom Experience to Immigrant Youth” to provide half-price prom tickets to English Language Learners so money is no barrier to immersing themselves in the CRLS community.
  • Charlotte Dumont, Teacher, ELL Department — “CRLS Department of English Language Learners Community Building Project” to foster a sense of belonging in the school community by presenting CRLS t-shirts and hoodies as prizes and awards to deserving students at ELL events.
  • William McDonald, Biology Teacher — “Antibiotic Resistance Lab” to give students the opportunity to witness evolution in real time over the course of two weeks using current lab researcher techniques. 
  • Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah, 11th Grade English Teacher — “CRLS Open Mic + Poetry Series” to invite local poets to share their craft, working towards creating a youth-centered space for expression.
  • Drew Pierce, Math Teacher at HSEP — for students to spend 3 days exploring the trails and learning about environmental science, ecology, culinary arts, and leadership at the Noble View Outdoor Center in Russell MA.
  • Ivan Stefanov, Chorus Teacher, A Cappella Adviser — “A Cappella Guest Artist” to invite producer Evan Linsey to work with CRLS a cappella students in learning techniques characteristic of collegiate groups.
  • Laura Umbro,  Music Teacher — “CRLS Chamber Music Collaboration” to invite chamber music professionals from Longy School of Music and Radius Ensemble to perform, facilitate master classes, and  coach student musicians.
  • Susie Van Blaricum, Adviser to CRLS Student Government Junior Representatives — “Junior Prom” to provide a more cost effective dance for 11th graders, with a large number students involved in planning.

FOCRLS News: A Letter from Elaine Schear

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August 31, 2018

 

Dear Friends of CRLS,

After twelve incredible years co-founding, volunteering with, and becoming the first Executive Director of Friends of CRLS, I am retiring from this position effective August 31. My time with FOCRLS the non-profit organization has unquestionably been the best work experience of my life. As a “first generation” daughter of parents who didn’t have the opportunity to attend college and a mom who got her high school diploma when I was in 10th grade, Friends of CRLS gave me the unique pleasure of helping to support many students in similar and much more challenging circumstances.

Despite warnings to the contrary, I felt from the start in 2006, that we were in exactly the right place at the right time to make a success of Friends of CRLS. After all, social justice was and is a core value of our school system as a whole, and at CRLS systems were in place to advance opportunities and nurture students along a path to college which, without support, can be overwhelming and discouraging.

Starting with a few small donations and a green light from then-Principal Chris Saheed that has continued unabated with the support of Principal Damon Smith, we started a faculty innovation grant program and over time were able to add on college scholarships, an unsung heroes program, student travel fellowships, a college-readiness program, and faculty distinction awards.

We knew that if we were going to live up to our mission of “engaging the whole Cambridge community in supporting our students” we needed to move well beyond CRLS to independent businesses, universities, global corporations, foundations, city leaders, and alumni. We now have valued partners among all of these groups. We work hard at making CRLS visible as the incubator of diverse young talent that it is – talent that is worthy not of their charity, but of their investment. The message appears to be working; our 12-year donation total recently topped a stunning $1,000,000!

I leave as executive director knowing that our programs are having a significant impact on students’ aspirations and perspectives on the world. I’m proud of the fact that the FOCRLS organization and its mission to create opportunity and investment is respected and increasingly supported throughout much of the Cambridge community. Our foundation is secure, and FOCRLS is positioned to bridge the effects of income inequality at CRLS for as long as it is needed.

My gratitude goes to all who have been supportive of FOCRLS and of me personally and professionally: our board and advisory council members, CRLS administrators and staff, our many parent and student volunteers, donors and sponsors, and the CRLS students and teachers who inspire us with their energy, talent, and commitment to make the world a better place. Without them, Friends of CRLS would not be as strong and vibrant as it is. I am honored to have been the leader of FOCRLS and will watch with much excitement and anticipation as Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School makes new strides to narrow the gap between family income and educational opportunity.

I’ll be using the period ahead to give my attention to pressing personal matters that I’ve postponed for too long, but I plan to continue to support CRLS and Friends of CRLS wherever I can be of help.

Let’s stay in touch!

With appreciation and affection,

Elaine Schear, Ed.D.

(617) 275-6338
[email protected]

FOCRLS Welcomes MYSEP Employee Ezra!

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FOCRLS is delighted to welcome Ezra, our wonderful summer 2018 Administrative Assistant, courtesy of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MYSEP)!  Ezra Howe is a Class of 2020 student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and began working with us on July 2nd. Over the summer, Ezra will be helping with our social media, the Friends of CRLS website, and local outreach in Cambridge. He is looking forward to helping us raise money for programs that will help Cambridge youth like him get scholarships and go on trips around the world.

Friends of CRLS Student Travel Fellows on an Expedition to Ecuador

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(1/3/18)  Friends of CRLS is thrilled to be awarding a total of $13,000 to six students traveling to Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands over February school vacation.  Students will partake in service learning by helping schoolchildren in an Ecuadorian community and journey into the wildlife wonders of the Galapagos on this school-authorized group trip led by CRLS teachers Annan Lopata and Laura Chiricosta.

Thanks to our kind 2017 donors and generous 10th Year Birthday Bash sponsors, Friends of CRLS is able to double the financial support to student travelers this year, enabling these six talented and motivated students, who would otherwise not be financially able to afford these trips, to fully participate in these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  One awardee wrote in his application essay that the trip “will give me an invaluable perspective of life and allow me to go farther than I ever have in my 18 years in Cambridge.”

Awardees meet application, academic, and financial requirements to qualify for Student Travel Fellowships and earn and raise money as individuals and as members of their trip groups to cover their remaining expenses.  Fellows will keep written and photographic journals and, along with their travel cohort, collectively share their reflections with the CRLS community when they return to Cambridge.  We look forward to hearing from them!

To learn more about Student Travel Fellowships and Friends of CRLS’s other programs, volunteer, involve your business, sponsor our upcoming bash, or establish a scholarship, please visit focrls.org, email [email protected], or call 857-235-9290.

 

Faculty Innovation Grants 2018

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Awardees Announced, Projects Underway

Friends of CRLS is delighted to congratulate the 2017/18 school year awardees of our Faculty Innovation Grants!  Thanks to numerous generous donors, FOCRLS was able to award a total of $12,415 (a $4,195 increase over last year).  These grantees bring the grand total of teachers and staff members receiving Faculty Innovation Grantees to 191 since 2007.  Please visit focrls.org to support innovation at CRLS.

  • Elizabeth Hansel, Physics Teacher — “Team America Rocket Challenge” ($1,000) to design and build a rocket that qualifies the CRLS team to fly their creation in the world’s largest student rocket competition.
  • Jeff Gaglione, Dean of Curriculum & Program, Mathematics — “CRLS Mathematics Department Summer Math Preview Program” ($1,000) to help students succeed in AP and Honors classes with advance preparation through a curriculum of higher level math and the development of studentship skills.
  • Drew Pierce, Math Teacher at HSEP, and Sam Matson, History Teacher at HSEP — “Mountain Classroom Trip for the Students of HSEP” ($1,000) for students to learn environmental science and ecology as well as leadership and teambuilding by spending three days exploring the White Mountains.
  • Brenda Divelbliss and Mila Thigpen, Dance Teachers — “Residency with Brother(hood) Dance!” ($500) to expand students’ exposure to contemporary dance beyond the greater Cambridge/Boston area and increase their creative potential by hosting and learning from a New York based dance duo. (In collaboration with the CRLS Arts Committee and the CRLS Department of Visual & Performing Arts.)​
  • Kendall Boninti and Emily Houson, Library Media Specialists — “Collaborative Learning Spaces at CRLS Pearl K. Wise Library” ($1,000) to empower student choice and foster a participatory culture by establishing two technology-rich collaborative learning spaces in the school library.
  • Allison Deban, Vanessa Black, and Caitlin Plummer — “Accessing Cambridge through Community-Based Instruction” ($500) to provide students on the autism spectrum with opportunities for community-based instruction, building a foundation for functional life skills that will carry into adulthood.
  • Marya Wegman, English Teacher — “We Need Diverse Books” ($865) to increase the classroom library to reflect a broader variety of cultures, races, religions, genders, and identities.
  • Vera Duarte, Teacher-in-Charge, ELL Department — “Community-Building Opportunities for CRLS Immigrant Students” ($600) to provide half-price prom tickets to immigrant students so that money is not a barrier for them to fully immerse themselves in the CRLS community.
  • Marlin Kann, Computer Science and History Teacher — “I am CS @ CRLS” ($1,000) to boost the interest of more students in computer science with a STEM Classroom Invention Literacy Pack of Makey Makeys and “I am CS @ CRLS” T-shirts for the Computer Science Fair and classroom.
  • Lynette Belle, Club Advisor, Falcon Friends — “Falcon Friends Expansion” ($1,000) to provide support and inclusion for students with disabilities, promote awareness, and provide training about disabilities.
  • Amy Dolan, Math Teacher — “T1 84 Graphing (in color) Calculators for Easier Access to Math” ($1,000) to inspire more students to enjoy Algebra 2 and discover the benefits math can bring them by increasing the classroom supply of graphing calculators.
  • Kathleen FitzGerald, Teacher, Civics Teacher and Internship & Project Coordinator — “Storied Landscapes: An Exploration and Sharing of Cultural and Natural Resources Across Urban and Rural Youth Communities” ($1,000) to provide students with an opportunity to experience a region and a way of life vastly different from their own by collaborating with students in Lubec, Maine.
  • Laura Borrelli, Biology Teacher and Advisor of the Student Bike Advocates  “Bike Advocacy Club Helmets” ($950) to provide 30 bike helmets that Student Bike Advocates can customize for bike safety promotion events to increase enthusiasm for helmet wearing.
  • William McDonald and Barbara Dorritie, Biology Teachers — “Antibiotic Resistance Lab” ($1,000) to give students the opportunity to witness evolution in real time over the course of two weeks using current techniques used by lab researchers.

For a full list of our Faculty Innovation Grantees, please click here.