Faculty Innovation Grants Proposals Now Being Accepted

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Deadline for Proposals:  Monday, October 28, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.

Friends of CRLS is seeking proposals from teachers, administrators, librarians, guidance counselors, social workers, and advisers of CRLS/RSTA/HSEP classes, programs, and clubs for projects and experiences with an academic (including artistic and cultural) and/or social development focus.

Faculty Innovation Grants (up to $1,000 each) are ways to energize learning for students beyond the classroom curriculum by enhancing academic exploration, community building, social development, and appreciation of the many arts and cultures at CRLS/RSTA/HSEP.  Visits from accomplished guests, class field trips, special events, performances, group creations, and service learning are among the kinds of projects and experiences Faculty Innovation Grants can fund. 

Please see your CRLS Gmail or the DYK to get the link to the proposal Google Form. If you have difficulty with the form or have any questions about the grants or process, please contact us at info.focrls@gmail.com or 857-235-9290 (ext. 9290 within CRLS) or visit us in CRLS Room 2136.

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

Student Spotlight: Xolotl

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Xolotl, our Class of 2018 recipient of the CRLS Core Values Scholarship and the Colonel & Mrs. Henry Bayard McCoy Memorial Scholarship, now enrolled at Stanford University, told us:

“I am on a journey to learn about the link between masculinity and violence.  At Stanford University, I hope to further this journey by studying how societal norms related to gender, sexuality, and racism place particular constraints on men of color.  As a major in anthropology with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, I hope to study masculinity and racism.  My long-term aspirations are to one day become a professor who can write, teach, and research about Latinx masculinity and gender, and the unseen impact it has on people’s everyday lives.”

Congratulations, Xolotl!

Student Spotlight:  Mikayla

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Mikayla, CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the CRLS Core Values Scholarship, now enrolled at UMass Boston, told us:

“My plan is to go into the nursing major to receive my Bachelor’s Degree, work as a registered nurse to gain some work experience in the field, then eventually go back to graduate school, obtain my Master’s Degree in Nursing, and become a psychiatric nurse.  Another one of my goals during my junior and senior year of college is to travel abroad and do internships where I can have the opportunity to work in hospitals in different countries and provide medical care for those who do not have the money to afford efficient medical care.”

Congratulations, Mikayla!


Student Spotlight: Thomas

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Thomas, the CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the Juliette Kayyem & David Barron Scholarship for Children of First Responders, now enrolled at the University of Rhode Island, told us:

“One definite goal I have for myself is to graduate from college with a degree in marine biology.  As a career, I hope to enter the field of teaching and/or research for Marine Biology or even general Biology. CRLS teachers have recommended to me that I become a teacher, saying I understand how to teach a class and make it enjoyable for students to be there while they learn many important things about the subject I’m
talking about.”

Congratulations, Thomas!

Student Spotlight: Danielle

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Danielle, the CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the Aurora M. (Ciccariello) Leydon Memorial Scholarship, now enrolled at the Bates College, told us:

“I believe that exploring our identities and how social and environmental influences impact our actions will lead to equality and equity. That is my pursuit. I want to combine my desire to study different branches of psychology with my growing interest in legal studies. I intend to further my exploration into the human mind, to investigate why people commit crimes, and survey different types of rehabilitation and other long-term solutions in place of prison. Being a juvenile prosecutor, but more importantly, a mentor, is the perfect fit for me, because it mixes problem solving with my love for children and my fascination with the criminal mind.  I want to use my passion to contribute purposefully and productively by participating in chaperoning youth on the right path to become productive members of society.”

Congratulations, Danielle!

Student Spotlight: Diana

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Diana, CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the“100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community STEAM Award for Mathematics, now enrolled at Stanford University, told us:

“Among all the things I enjoy, I have two outstanding passions. One passion is for mathematics, computer science, and technology. There is no sense of accomplishment like the one I get from solving a complex math problem, one that I want to continue experiencing throughout my life. My other passion is for making a societal impact on underprivileged communities. My goal is to use my college education to combine these two passions:  excel in math, computer science, and technology, and apply it for the benefit of humanitarian causes.  In the long run, my ultimate goal is to found a company that uses technology and innovation and channel new innovative ideas towards solving challenges that our society faces today (probably targeting emergency aid or reducing the carbon footprint). In order to do this, I would also like to learn more about business, entrepreneurship, economics, and political science, to be able to manage and realize such a company. I strongly believe that the technological world today is far too heavily focused on profit and commercial consumerism rather than using creativity and innovation to bring about positive impact upon our very problematic and conflict-ridden world.”

Congratulations, Diana!

Student Spotlight: Rakeyah

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Rakeyah, the CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community STEAM Award for Science, now enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told us:

“Since my childhood in Bangladesh, I have been always dreaming about working in healthcare services or community help programs for a chance to improve health care, especially medicine.  I want to become a biotechnologist to have experiences where I can not only satisfy my great passion for science but also help people have better and healthier lives.  Scientists can now use genetic-editing techniques to correct certain inherited deadly diseases. Without biotechnology, developing medicines or finding cures would be impossible. Through genetic engineering, I want to find breakthrough cures that will prevent a broad set of diseases and save millions of lives.”

Congratulations, Rakeyah!

Student Spotlight: Nusrat

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Nusrat, CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the Dr. David A. Link Scholarship for the Health
Professions, now enrolled at Simmons College, told us:

“My first name means helper in Arabic. In Islam, it’s believed that people uphold the meaning of their
name. My friends describe me as ambitious and optimistic, so my personal goals are just the same.
I’ve always wanted to help those around me and I have a passion for teaching and advocating for
health. I plan to intertwine those passions with a degree in psychology and intend on being committed
to social justice issues and work to provide an equal level playing field in schools, in healthcare, and
within my community. With psychology, I can use what I learn about the human mind, behavior, and
interaction to find a way to help the school and hospital communities.”

Congratulations, Nusrat!