PEF Grants

Portland Education Foundation’s volunteer board is committed to a tradition of awarding grants to teachers for the support of classroom innovation. We want Portland educators to feel their hard work is recognized and supported by the broader community beyond school walls. These grants are a way of recognizing, encouraging and supporting educators’ efforts to innovate and excel. By supporting better teaching, the grants are also a means to improve our students’ educational experiences.


Comprehensive Teacher Grant Report


Portland Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2009, is happy to announce they have awarded 25 grants for their 2013-2014 cycle.  The awards were given to 25 teachers and teacher teams in the Portland Public School District.   PEF President Mary Bennett added, “One of the most rewarding things we do as trustees of this foundation is to give out money to fund innovation in the classroom.  I am astounded at how small amounts of money can have such big impacts directly to the students.  My only regret is that we can’t do more.” 


All of the funding requests were compelling and worthy of attention, which made the selection process that much more challenging. Those chosen represent PEF’s best efforts to fund a broad range of innovative student experiences.


Portland Education Foundation is run by a volunteer board working to support the Portland Public School District by advocating for excellence in education, connecting schools and our community, and supporting students and teachers.  They are committed to making these kinds of grants and continue to increase both the numbers and funding amounts of grants as the foundation grows.


If you would like to volunteer for PEF or would like more information, please visit the PEF website,, or email PEF at If you would like to donate to this effort, please visit the donation page on to donate easily via PayPal.

The following is a brief summary of the grants funded:  


PEF 2013-2014 Grants

1.) Many Stories - East End Community School

Fifth graders will create stories based on interviews with family members to be included in a book and added to the school’s library, representing the varied cultures of the student body and supplementing the study of immigration.


2.) Tile Mosaic for Bird, Bug, and Butterfly Garden - East End Community School

In this project, first graders will carve clay tiles identifying local plants and animals to be collected and used in a large mosaic in the school’s bird, bug, and butterfly garden, or placed in the garden as stepping stones.


3.) Understanding Maine: Wolf’s Neck Farm - East End Community School

This grant allows fourth graders to spend five days conducting fieldwork at Wolf’s Neck farm in order to broaden their understanding and study of the sate of Maine.


4.) Audiobooks for “H”all - Hall School

This grant allows for the purchase of new audiobooks to be added to the school’s library collection and used for grades K through 5.


5.) RAZ Kids - Longfellow School

This grant provides first graders with headsets for use with the online reading program RAZ Kids. Headsets will allow students to work and listen independently, enhancing the program’s effectiveness.


6.) Reading Pride and ELL Family Literacy Night - Lyseth Elementary School

In this project, High interest/easy reader books will be purchased for the school’s ELL students. Information about the texts will be presented at a Family Literacy Night, which will also include literacy games and a reader’s theater presentation.


7.) Telling Stories - Reiche Community School

This grant expands and enhances the fifth grade unit on memoir writing, providing additional creative opportunities for self-expression and forging intergenerational and cross-cultural bridges to broaden perspective around story telling.


8.) Designing Portland - Reiche Community School

This project enhances the the third graders’ year-long study of Portland, introducing architecture, design, and urban planning concepts. Students will produce building models with which to further explore learning.


9.) The Daily Five - Reiche Community School

The Daily Five is a way of structuring the reading block so that every student in this first grade class is independently engaged in five meaningful literacy tasks: Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, and Word Work.


10.) Moving Oceans - Reiche Community School

Marine biologists, a children’s book author, and several teaching artists will help students to create a sculptural installation representing ocean food chains, with which they will interact to demonstrate and solidify learning.


11.) Content Area Studies - Riverton Elementary School

This grant funds a year long plan to incorporate science and social studies on a regular basis to expose students to real world, hands on experiences such as varied field trip and presentations.


12.) Art Van - West School

Art Van, a therapeutic art program, would work with two groups of West School students in this project, making art as a way to build trust, create healthy relationships, and encourage healthy risk taking.


13.) Little Free Library - PATHS & Lyseth Elementary School

This project is a collaboration between high school students at PATHS and fourth grade art students at Lyseth to build little free libraries and install them at PATHS, Lyseth, the Boys and Girls Club, and Northfield Green.


14.) Horse Sense II - King Middle School

Students in a functional academics class will improve skills through the study of horses, including a seven week experience riding horses at Riding to the Top therapeutic riding center in Windham. They will also write essays, listen to a novel, and create a picture book.


15.) Invasive Species - King Middle School

This grant allows seventh graders to study the habits of intertidal organisms, especially the invasive Green Crab and the Asian Shore Crab, through the purchase of a saltwater aquarium and needed materials.


16.) King Shutterbugs - King Middle School

This project is a year long monthly photography workshop culminating in a juried show at a local art gallery.


17.) ReVOLT & Engineering Our Energy Future - King Middle School

Enabling the purchase of a thermal imaging camera, this grant allows eighth graders to investigate their homes’ energy use and design/build energy conversion devices as part of the physical science curriculum.


18.) Field Trip to UNE Science Labs - Lincoln Middle School

This grant enables sixth grade science students to visit the UNE science labs as a culminating activity for their year-long study of the life sciences which includes study of the Gulf of Maine and local watersheds through resources available from the UNE science departments.


19.) Digital Cell Biology - Lyman Moore Middle School

This grant allows for the purchase of three digital microscopes for seventh grade biology students to use in their study of cell structure and function.


20.) Reading and Writing Workshops: Fiction & Nonfiction - Lyman Moore Middle School

With this grant, a collection of fiction and nonfiction books will be purchased for use with recently adopted curriculum from the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project to promote independence in middle school student learning.


21.) A Healthier America Begins With US - Lyman Moore Middle School

In this project, a Social Studies/English Language Arts integrated unit is designed around personal and global health issues. The unit will compliment a Blood Drive and Wellness Fair that are existing annual events and Lyman Moore. Students will identify, research, write, and present in an investigation of public health challenges in today’s world.


22.) Fitness Factory - Lyman Moore Middle School

This grant provides funds for quality commercial fitness equipment for the middle school fitness room so students can develop the skills and knowledge needed to be lifelong active participants in their own personal health and fitness.


23.) Hidden Histories - Casco Bay High School

In this expedition students will write and perform original interactive improvisation scenes based on ordinary Maine people and artifacts from the American Civil War. Grant money will be used to purchase the anchor text “Killer Angels”.


24.) Drama Outreach: “Tales of the World Come Alive” - Deering High School

Deering students will script, rehearse, and perform world folktales for young children in the Boys & Girls Club facilities at Sagamore Village and Riverton Park housing complexes. Hard copies of the book will be donated to both sites.


25.) African Drumming for Dances - PATHS

This grant will allow the addition of a new course to the dance curriculum that allows dancers to have an intensive experience in another art form. Dancers will have a week intensive in African drumming where they learn about rhythm not only with their bodies but also through learning how to play the rhythms on drums and percussion instruments.