Friends of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School Presents Faculty Innovation Grants

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Friends of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (FOCRLS)’s 2023 Faculty Innovation Grantees
(l-r) Leah Gordon (with PASCO cart), Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah (with FOCRLS mascot Friendly the Falcon), Drake King, Nicholas Yeh, Brenda Divelbliss, Margaret Hans, Allison Wade, Josh Marden, and (front) Brendon Snyder

Friends of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (FOCRLS) recently awarded their 2023 Faculty Innovation Grants to energize learning and expand services for students at the city’s public high school. Seventeen teachers, club advisors, social workers, and administrators received grants up to $1,000 per proposal, with a total of $9,296 for twelve individually-led and collaborative projects. The grantees, who were notified of their awards on February 1, will implement ideas across an array of courses and programs at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (CRLS), the Rindge School of Technical Arts (RSTA), and the High School Extension Program (HSEP). See the list of Faculty Innovation Grantees here.

Academic subjects include calculus and AP African American History while events include a poetry festival and a modern dance performance featuring interactive projections. Also among the recipients’ plans are community-building gatherings, social skills development, and prizes for students who submit the top designs for a math department logo.

Physics teachers Leah Gordon, Joel Tenenbaum, and Afrah Farrah will purchase PASCO equipment for students to experiment with gravity and velocity. “Since all 9th-graders take the same course, this grant has the potential to benefit almost 500 students per year,” wrote Ms. Gordon in the collaborators’ proposal. “The material is reusable indefinitely, so it will benefit students every year going forward.”

English Language Arts teacher Brendon Snyder will establish a classroom library for his Comic Studies elective. “Students of different cultural, linguistic, and economic backgrounds are able to converse about, debate on, share an enthusiasm for, and bond over the world of comics,” wrote Mr. Snyder in his proposal. “It’s exciting to see students who are academically high achievers connect with students that have traditionally struggled academically and see them hear and respect each other’s opinions.”

FOCRLS has been awarding Faculty Innovation Grants since 2007, with the recent grantees bringing the total number of recipients to 248. FOCRLS estimates that Faculty Innovation Grants have enhanced the educations of more than 10,000 students over the past decade and a half.

Faculty Innovation Grants as well as the College Scholarships, Student Travel Fellowships, and other awards FOCRLS presents are made possible by contributions from donors, sponsors, and grantors. For more information about FOCRLS, visit, email, or call 857-235-9290.

FOCRLS is accepting proposals for Faculty Innovation Grants!

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Attention CRLS teachers, advisors, administrators, social workers, specialists, librarians, liaisons . . . FOCRLS is accepting proposals for Faculty Innovation Grants!

Energize learning beyond the classroom curriculum by enhancing academic exploration, community building, social development, and appreciation of the many arts and cultures at CRLS.

Visits from accomplished guests, class field trips, special events, group creations, performances, and service learning are among the kinds of projects Faculty Innovation Grants can fund. Requests for small non-capital items are also eligible, with some past examples being books to build a classroom library, graphing calculators, and audio recording equipment.

Grants are for up to $1,000 each. We’re looking to sponsor projects, experiences, and resources that CRLS/CPS or other sources are unable to fund.

Proposals will be accepted through Tuesday, November 15 at 11:59 p.m.

To learn more, please see your email or email

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.