Second Annual Innovative Learning Grants Fund Field Trips and Anti-Bullying Project

Clarkstown North PTSA awards $2,100 to six teachers for inspiring programs


The Clarkstown High School North PTSA will award six grants on Friday in amounts from $250 to $400 and totaling $2,100 as part of its Innovative Learning Grants program.  Ten Clarkstown North teachers submitted applications for the 2011-2012 grants. The PTSA underwrites the program to provide activities that would not have been funded due to budget cuts.

The 2011-2012 recipients are:

  • Akiko Uchiyama will receive $400 for a “Japanese Drum Taiko Workshop” to help build team spirit and increase cultural awareness through a unique, hands-on cultural experience. 
  • Arleen Whittaker will be given $400 to take her SAIL students, who participate in an alternative education program, to the Museum of Natural History.  Many of her students have never spent a day in New York City and budget cuts have curtailed field trips.
  • Jordan Turner will receive $400 to take his ninth grade Global Studies students to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the new galleries for the Art of Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and South Asia.
  • Sabrina Riccoboni will be given $400 for her “Voices of Bullying” Project, which will offer students a chance to participate in contests related to bullying and have their work featured in a book for incoming freshmen.
  • Allison Borrelli will receive $250 in partial funding to paint her Kinder North classroom.  Her students and Art Honor Society students will paint appropriate murals as part of the Child Development curriculum, which focuses on the importance of the preschool environment for learning. 
  • Heidi Bernasconi will be given $250 for her Marine Biology Collection Trip, which provides students with more than 200 organisms that they care for throughout the year. The activity that is central to the Marine Biology curriculum. 

The ability to build upon the program and fund more projects next year is one of the goals of North PTSA President-Elect Dorothy Atzl.

“These grants are only possible through the incredible support we have received from of our parent and teacher members,” said Atzl.  “Building on this momentum, we are confident that our Innovative Learning Grant program will not only continue, but we will be able to provide more funding for more teachers next year!”

The Innovative Learning Grants, which are only in their second year, were awarded in accordance with NYSPTA regulations, which involve a competitive application process.  A committee reviewed and scored all grant applications and following deliberations selected recipients for the 2011-2012 academic year.  Those teachers, whose requests were not funded, have been assisted in in finding alternative grant opportunities or donations of supplies.   

“With all the budget cuts in education that we are faced with, it’s reassuring to have such a committed and focused PTSA to provide this type of support for our teachers,” said Clarkstown High School North Principal Harry Leonardatos. 

The CHSN PTSA also funds student scholarships, teacher grants, other student programs and campus beautification projects.

The PTSA is an active advocacy organization for education and youth on a local, state and national level.  It ensures that the voice of educators, parents and students are represented on school-based committees, as well as school board meetings and budget workshops.  The PTSA also provides students with the opportunity to volunteer and develop leadership skills by empowering them to be participants in decisions that affect their school.


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