Farmington School District Earns Grants to Launch Robotics Program

SAU 61
Ruth Ellen Vaughn, Superintendent
35 School Street
Farmington, NH 03835

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003

Farmington School District Earns Grants to Launch Robotics Program

FARMINGTON — Superintendent Ruth Ellen Vaughn is pleased to announce that the Farmington School District received two grants to support the creation of an after school robotics program in its elementary, middle and high schools.

In October, the New Hampshire Department of Education awarded the Farmington School District with a $9,815 grant to be used to purchase robotics kits at all three schools and fund a stipend for coaches as well as competition costs.

Additionally, in December, the district received a Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant for just over $26,000 to enhance schools’ technology curricula.

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) offerings will increase both in the classroom and after school, impacting approximately 700 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Those who choose to participate in the after school robotics club will learn about programming, build new robots, partake in area competitions, collaborate with students in other school districts and understand the impact of robotics on the workforce today and in the future.

“The creation of a robotics team at all three schools directly aligns with the Farmington School District’s goal of further developing students’ skills in science, technology, engineering and math,” Superintendent Vaughn said. “We’re so thankful to have received this funding, especially given the increasing amount of career opportunities out there in STEM related fields.”

After receiving its first grant in October, the Farmington High School Robotics Club — led by teachers Shannon McCracken-Barber, Hanna Owens and Charles Trainor — began working to develop the plans to develop a self-sustaining robotics team. They secured a partnership with Great Bay Community College and work with Information Systems Technology professor Mike Harrison, who is the team’s designated higher-education mentor.

High school robotics students dubbed themselves “The STEAM Makers” and are preparing for their first competition on March 2-4 in Windham.

“I do this because of my friends,” said Farmington High School sophomore Conner Beaton. “The people that I’m doing this with are amazing. I love them all. I wouldn’t want any other team.”

Students in third through eighth grade have begun meeting weekly at the Henry Wilson Memorial School under the supervision of teachers Jennifer Thomas, Brian Hall and Thomas Pringle to plan, develop, design and build Lego-based robots.

For more information about the district’s robotics clubs, contact Director of Curriculum and Assessment Melissa Lefevbre at 603-775-2627 or


Coalition of Plymouth County Police Departments Awarded Grant for Jail Diversion Program

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018

Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Phone: 781-428-3299

Coalition of Plymouth County Police Departments Awarded Grant for Jail Diversion Program

BRIDGEWATER — Chiefs from six Plymouth County police departments, which are working in a regional collaboration to pool their resources, have been awarded a grant by the state Department of Mental Health to improve the way law enforcement serves those suffering from mental illness.

Over the next three years, $45,000 (each year) will be given to the coalition of police departments to pay the salary of a medical clinician who will be embedded with police to assist those suffering from mental illness by diverting them from the courts/criminal justice system.

The grant was awarded as part of the state’s Regional Jail Diversion Program to the police departments in Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Whitman, Middleborough and the Bridgewater State University Police.

The grant was awarded this week after a proposal was submitted by the Bridgewater Police Department on behalf of the partnering police agencies.

“As part of the program, a clinician will ride along with police officers in our communities and respond with them to calls where a person is dealing with a mental health issue,” Bridgewater Police Chief Christopher Delmonte said. “More and more often we are seeing crimes committed by those with mental health or substance abuse issues. Putting them in jail and in the court system in many cases doesn’t get these individuals the help that they need. My thanks to Officer Scott Hile for his hours of work over the past two years leading to this grant award.”

The program will support people with mental health difficulties by offering individuals support and opportunities to get them the help they need, while also aiming to reduce arrests and criminal charges they may otherwise face.

Some of the goals of the program are to:

  • Increase collaboration between local law enforcement and behavioral health providers
  • Increase the number of law enforcement and other first responders training in behavioral health topics
  • Increase the quality and consistency of behavioral health training delivered to law enforcement
  • Support law enforcement to develop policies and procedures that increase safety and effectiveness when responding to citizens with behavioral health challenges
  • Increase the likelihood of diversion from arrest for citizens with behavioral health challenges when safe and appropriate to do so

The coalition and clinician will work closely with the High Point Treatment Center to help those individuals suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders, which often are closely linked.

“While the main focus of this program is to assist those with mental health problems, it also goes hand-in-hand with the efforts our departments have been undertaking in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” East Bridgewater Police Chief Scott Allen said. “We’ve found that many people with substance abuse problems have their addictions rooted in mental health issues. The clinician hired by our coalition will be another great tool for the many substance abuse outreach programs in our region and our health partners like the High Point Treatment Center.”



East Bridgewater Department of Public Works Awarded $497,000 Grant for Pond Street Bridge Project

East Bridgewater Department of Public Works
John B. Haines, Director
100 Willow Ave.
East Bridgewater, MA 02333

For Immediate Release

Friday, Jan. 26, 2018

Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Phone: 781-428-3299

East Bridgewater Department of Public Works Awarded $497,000 Grant for Pond Street Bridge Project

EAST BRIDGEWATER — East Bridgewater Department of Public Works Director John B. Haines is pleased to announced that the Town of East Bridgewater was awarded a grant for $497,000 to replace an aging bridge on Pond Street.

The East Bridgewater DPW applied for the grant, which was awarded on Jan. 19 by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, as part of the state’s Municipal Small Bridge Program.

“I’m happy to say we were one of only a dozen communities that were selected to receive the grant,” Director Haines said. “This will cover the entire cost of replacing the small bridge on Pond Street that crosses the outlet to Robbins Pond.”

The bridge is located near 502 Pond St., between Sawmill Cove and Ousamequin Pines. The money will be used cover the cost of purchasing permits, hiring an engineer to create design plans and bidding and hiring a contractor to complete the project.

Currently there are two metal arches side-by-side that allow water to cross under the Pond Street bridge. The proposed plan is to replace those metal arches with two concrete boxes. Improvements to the road shoulders, water main and road will also be made.

Because plans are still in the preliminary stages, a timetable has not been set for when the project will begin.

In 2014, East Bridgewater had 17 bridges and culverts assessed by an engineering firm to determine the condition of each structure and rank them in order of priority for repair or replacement. Last year, the Town voted to fund maintenance work on three of the structures that were in most need of attention and that work has been completed.

In 2016, the state allocated $50 million over five years to help cities and towns repair small bridges that do not qualify for federal funding.

The East Bridgewater DPW applied for funding last year, but did not receive a grant. The application was renewed this year, and the grant was awarded to the Town.


Melrose School District Receives Regional DESE Grant to Further SEEM Collaborative Work

Melrose Public Schools
Superintendent Cyndy S. Taymore
360 Lynn Fells Parkway
Melrose , MA 02176

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003

Melrose School District Receives Regional DESE Grant to Further SEEM Collaborative Work

MELROSE — Superintendent Cyndy Taymore is pleased to announce that Melrose Public Schools has received a portion of a nearly $90,000 grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to improve student learning through the SEEM Collaborative.

The SEEM Collaborative is a 10-member organization that formed in 1986 to provide quality education to school districts and strengthen existing school programs and services that would otherwise not be accessible or affordable to local districts on their own.

Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Wilmington and Woburn applied for the DESE grant as a consortium, and will receive $88,900 to be allocated over a two-year period beginning in 2018.

The grant money will support each district’s work on improving inclusive practices. This includes providing identified teachers, administrators and members of child study teams with targeted professional development, coaching in Universal Design for Learning — a framework designed to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how we learn — and inclusive practices that support the achievement of all students.

“As the Melrose Public Schools strives to provide quality education for our students, it is imperative that our faculty continuously refine their skills for inclusive and engaging instructional practices that provide all students with opportunities to succeed,” Superintendent Taymore said. “We’re thankful that DESE awarded the SEEM Collaborative with this grant allocation so we can continue to provide the best services for all learners.”

Melrose Public Schools will also work to:
• Examine and question resource allocation in more depth, using data available in districts along with tools provided by DESE, particularly new Resource Allocation and District Action Reports.
• Make meaningful changes in resource allocation to support best practices and district improvement strategies.
• Measure the impact of resource shifts on the desired outcomes. Melrose schools will be paired with an action research consultant who will help gather data, measure impact and report results.