Recent Grants

PEF Funds Spelling Bee Programs for Grades 2-8

The Spelling Bee program offers students from across the schools an exciting opportunity to compete against each other through a literacy-based program. This grant allows an equitable Spelling Bee program to exist at all five schools and benefit students across the district in grades 2-8. Additionally, it provides for extra instructional hours supporting students in their preparation and allows for more students, who may not have the resources at home, to prepare for the Spelling Bee with a teacher.

PEF Funds New Cyclorama for the PMHS Auditorium Stage

A Mini Grant by PEF allowed the purchase of a new cyclorama curtain for the upstage wall of PMHS auditorium to be installed in time for the Spring musical. The “cyc” is an essential for theatrical and music productions as well as speaking engagements or awards ceremonies. The cyc covers the back and sidewalls of the stage and is used with lighting to create the illusion of sky, open space, color or great distance and perspective as part of the stage set while concealing risers that are stored behind it. Once installed, the cyc will be utilized by Sock’n’Buskin, PMS Drama, Pelham Children’s Theater, and all concerts and speakers and awards ceremonies in the auditorium. The “cyc” allows the lighting crew to have more creativity with lighting effects as well as be beneficial for storage of concert risers. The PEF funded the cyc curtain as well as the rigging and hanging for its installation. Mr. Beck, Mrs. Abeshouse, and Dr. Zanky were the grant writers and are enthusiastic about all of the future uses for the new cyc to replace a very aged and damaged former cyclorama.

Low Brass Instrument Collection for All Six Pelham Schools

The Pelham Education Foundation is pleased to announce a new grant that was initiated by PMS and PMHS Band Teacher Andrew Van Bochove and elementary school Band Teacher Madison Martineau. This grant will provide the funding to expand the low brass instrument collection for all six Pelham schools. Low brass instruments are indispensable to any band program. The grant provides baritone horns to the middle school and high school, a 1 3/4 size tuba to the middle school, a sousaphone (a marching tuba) to the high school, and one trombone to each elementary school. Students will gain access and opportunity to learn quintessential band instruments, which can expand student access to scholarship opportunities.

Juilliard-trained composer and pianist, Will Healy, to collaborate with PMHS concert chorus students

A grant has been approved requested from Music Teacher, Maria Abeshouse for Juilliard-trained composer and pianist (and Pelham elementary and middle school grad) Will Healy will collaborate with PMHS concert chorus students to share his artistic process and work with the students in developing their own methodologies. Through a PEF mini-grant, four sessions from December to May will culminate with the creation of an original score of music that will premiere at the PMHS Spring 2019 concert. More than 100 students will benefit from this artist in residence, and the song will remain in the library to be used for years to come.

MusicFirst Classroom in all six Pelham Schools

The Pelham Education Foundation has approved a second grant for Music Teacher Maria Abeshouse which brings technology to the music departments at all six Pelham schools. This major grant allows for the purchase of a one-year subscription to MusicFirst Classroom, a web-based software application that supplements music education in grades K - 12. The application allows for more hours of practice at home, independent learning, and expeditious feedback from instructors to students in all grades who participate in a music ensemble.

Jazz Musician in Residence

The Pelham Education Foundation has approved a grant request from Band Teacher Andrew Van Bochove. The funds will allow him to bring a jazz musician in residence to the PMS and PMHS jazz bands. This mini-grant will allow jazz musician Sean Nowell to teach the art of improvisation to jazz band students in PMS and PMHS. Mr. Novell will meet with the students once a month for an entire school year to teach different styles of improvisation and the use of technology to aid in improvisation. Students will be better equipped to compete and participate in NYSSMA Majors, and their confidence will benefit.

Me in My Room Perspective Project

The 8th grade students typically produce a perspective drawing, but with the help of this grant, a professional photographer will take pictures of the children. Students will then layer these photographs over their own drawings of their bedrooms. The photos will bring an enhanced perspective to the end result by using mixed media and multiple dimensions. The grant was requested by Mrs Schwarz, the 8th grade art teacher. Over 200 students will benefit.

Woman in Gold screening

The 8th grade art and social studies teachers have collaborated on a grant request to compliment the students' current Holocaust education. The teachers have arranged for the Pelham Picture House to host a private screening of Woman in Gold, a movie about Austrian art, including the famous Gustav Klimt piece titled "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I," stolen by Nazis. The movie is interesting, providing information about history and art and showing the children how multiple school subjects overlap and coincide. The movie is inspirational and will give students additional information about this historic period. All 250 8th grade students will attend the screening this spring which will hopefully begin an annual tradition.

Aspire to Inspire

The PEF recently approved a grant to fund the “Aspire to Inspire” Diversity Oversight Committee Speaker Series, which will kick off with workshop events for the middle school and high school students on February 5th with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, who is a wildlife specialist with an interest in bears and the only African-American woman scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Additionally, she will conduct an evening presentation, on February 5th, open to all members of our community. Dr. Wynn-Grant’s story is compelling as an African-American woman who discovered her love of science after overcoming barriers in her career and earlier academic years.

A second workshop as part of the “Aspire to Inspire” Series, featuring Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, targeting all four elementary schools’ older grades will take place in late Spring. Mulholland is a recipient of the 2015 National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award and was a participant in over 50 sit-ins and demonstrations by the time she was 23-years-old. She was a Freedom Rider, a participant in the Jackson Woolworth’s Sit-in, and helped plan and organize the March on Washington. As a white southern woman, her courage and fortitude in the Movement is well regarded. Joan has appeared in several books including Coming of Age in Mississippi, Breach of Peace, We Shall Not Be Moved, and a new illustrated children’s book about her life, titled, She Stood for Freedom. Joan has previously spoken at Colonial School engaging her audience with her story. Principal Jeannine Clark and Dr. Maria Thompson director of humanities, applied for the grant on behalf of the Diversity Oversight Committee.

Science Research Grant Announced

Our already exceptional science research program is growing thanks to a sizable grant approved by the Pelham Education Foundation. Through this grant, we will be able to fund a science research consultant who will provide professional development for teachers and students, who will then act as mentors to other students. This consultant will also offer guidance to the students as they prepare for the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair by reviewing their presentations and providing constructive criticism. The consultant, David Keith, most recently led the Authentic Science Research Program at Byram Hills High School to great success. He has identified our greatest need to be in the area of scientific writing and believes with his training, our students will be more successful. Finally, he will work with elementary school teachers for two full days to develop programs to prepare their students for the fourth grade STEAM-oriented science research fair and showcase.

Poetry Guy, Ted Scheu

The Pelham Education Foundation will bring a professional poet and former elementary teacher to work with K and First grade students. Last year, Ted Scheu visited students in grades K-5 at all four elementary schools and conducted writers’ workshops with grade 5. The response to his visits was overwhelmingly positive. This year, with the help of PEF, Mr. Scheu will spend a full day at each school and conduct separate Poetry Workshops with Kindergartners and First Graders. Mr. Scheu—otherwise known as “That Poetry Guy”—will share his writing process, work with student poets to discuss rhyming, rhythm, similes and metaphors, and help the groups craft their own poetry. Research shows that introducing poetry at an early age builds vocabulary, fluency and writing skills just to name a few of the benefits. Workshops will be interactive, engaging, and developmentally appropriate. You can find Ted Scheu's bio and work at

Dr. Wynn-Grant, the Deputy Chair of the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee for the Society for Conservation Biology

Through a grant funded by the Pelham Education Foundation, an exciting speaker will be coming to Pelham on February 5th, 2018. The community is invited to learn about Dr. Wynn-Grant’s experience as a large carnivore ecologist working at the American Museum of Natural History. Her talk will also focus on her personal story, including barriers and challenges she has faced and what she has learned from her experiences as well as her message of inclusion. In addition to her work studying bears and lions, Dr. Wynn-Grant is passionate about diversity and is the Deputy Chair of the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee for the Society for Conservation Biology..

Percussion Instruments

New percusion instruments for middle school and high school

The Middle and High School Bands have a new sound. Thanks to a major grant from the Pelham Education Foundation, the students in the percussion section have new instruments! Purchased in the 1970s, the old instruments had served our students well. New band director, Andrew Van Bochove, felt that the sound of the over 40-year old drums, bells, and cymbals was compromised due to their condition. The items being replaced include a new drum kit, set of timpani, marimba, vibraphone, orchestra bells, congas, bongos, concert bass drum, chimes, cymbals, as well as new hardware to ensure all the new equipment is properly supported and stored for greater longevity. The students will have the opportunity to perform using crisp, high-quality percussive instruments while also learning about proper storage and care going forward. We can’t wait for the winter concerts!

Moliere Than Thou

Live performance celebrating classic French comedy

In January, the high school will enjoy a performance of “Molière Than Thou,” a one-man show performed in English by Timothy Mooney. Mr. Mooney performs a “greatest hits” of Molière’s works This engaging and participatory opportunity, made possible through a grant from the Pelham Education Foundation, will enhance student studies of 17th century society and French culture in a historical context. The performance will be for students in French III, French IV/V, SUPA French, Theatre Arts and AP English classes, and AP European History class.

A Capella

Helping launch the PMHS’s A Cappella group

As a result of student demand, the high school is forming an A Cappella singing group. The group will be student run, with Mrs. Abeshouse serving as its teacher advisor. To help get the group established, the Pelham Education Foundation has provided funding for a consultant to assist at the outset with conducting auditions, arranging songs, running rehearsals, and transitioning into a self-directed ensemble.


Maker Spaces at all Six Schools

A coordinated team of teachers, parents, students, and administrators, led by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Steven Garcia, Director of Technology Mr. Michael Tromblee, and Director of Math & Science Dr. Thomas Callahan, have been working over the past year on one of the biggest grants the PEF has ever considered. After careful consideration and much discussion, the PEF has awarded a grant of almost $200,000 to create MakerSpaces in each of the six Pelham schools. The Maker Movement is about innovation, collaboration, experimenting, tinkering; using materials to create products and solve problems, individually and within teams. Because students are “making”, the traditional silos of different subjects break down and the experience is interdisciplinary. Each school will have a dedicated space, and the Grant involves everything from furnishings to supplies and equipment. All spaces will have low to high tech resources. Legos, craft and art supplies, computers, green screens, and 3D printers will be dedicated at each MakerSpace.



The Pelham Education Foundation (PEF) recently approved a sizable grant to replace basses and cellos for use by Pelham Middle School students as part of its ongoing mission to enrich curriculum and provide funding for special equipment. Typically larger instruments, such as a basses or cellos, remain at the school while students have their own instrument for at-home practice. The grant to replace the Middle School's instruments complements PEF's recent grant to replace the High School's larger, full-sized basses and cellos. Middle schoolers require instruments typically at 1/2 size and had been practicing with instruments that had lost their best sound quality and function and which were, in many cases, too large. The instruments had holes, cracks and battered bodies producing poor sound quality and were in use for nearly 30 years.

The inferior instruments understandably affected student moral as well as performance quality. To protect the new instruments, a storage room was arranged in the High School by Mrs. Clark and ongoing maintenance of the basses and cellos will be provided as well. For instruction purposes, educators at the Middle and High schools could not be more pleased to eliminate the distraction of instruments of lesser quality and poor sound and the Pelham Eduction Foundation could not be more pleased to enhance the thriving orchestral programs in Pelham schools.

Mindfullness project

To help integrate Mindfulness into Pelham schools, the Pelham Education Foundation recently approved a large grant to bring the School Yoga Project—a company with experience in a school setting—to the district. Similar programs have been implemented in neighboring schools such as Bronxville, Larchmont and White Plains. Studies show that mindfulness increases students’ self-awareness and respect for self and others, teaches emotional behavioral regulation, and helps students achieve balance and reduce anxiety. The program is meant to help students learn to cope with distress, emotion regulation and stress management.

The plan includes a three-year timeline with a gradual introduction of Mindfulness training across the district, starting with grades 1, 3 and 7 in the first year, along with K-8 staff training. There will also be parent workshops where School Yoga Project professionals can educate parents about the initiative, as well as present strategies that can be used at home.

World-Renowed Choral Conductors

The Pelham Education Foundation is pleased to sponsor two world-renowned choral conductors as artists-in-residence for the 2016-2017 school year. Harold Rosenbaum and Brian O'Connell will hold a series of choral conducting workshops with Maria Abeshouse, the PMHS Choir Director, and the roughly 100-member PMHS Choir, focusing on advanced choral techniques and phrasing. Micro grant amount: $1,749.

Human Painting

"Human Painting" Art Project

The Art Department was the recipient of a grant for a large-sized "human picture frame" which was used to teach eighth grade students about the elements and principles of art and design.

Human Painting


Scores of parents and elementary students thronged the Pelham Middle School and Pelham Memorial High School to participate in the Pelham Education Foundation's fun and educational Exploratorium. The Exploratorium was jointly presented by Pelham Public Schools and The Pelham Education Foundation and was sponsored by Meridian Risk Management and Joan Solimine Real Estate.

Human Painting


Through a Pelham Education Foundation funded residency program with The Picture House, eighth grade students worked with facilitators to create “Election Documentaries.” The students developed scripts, discussed guidelines for what was to be said, and learned how effective scenes are shot.

Human Painting

Apple IPads for Elementary Students

Pelham’s elementary school students will have the opportunity to use Apple iPad tablet computers to enhance their learning in the classroom next year, thanks to a grant from the Pelham Education Foundation.

The iPad, selected after reviewing best practices because it takes multiple technology tools and integrates them into one platform, can be used as an e-reader, internet browser, research tool, word processor, camera, video recorder and presentation tool affording teachers and students increased flexibility.

Teachers have been trained to use a multitude of “apps” in all subject areas to differentiate instruction, providing enrichment as well as help for students with special needs. The iPad is also a tool that teachers can use to implement and monitor assessments. Second grade teacher Beth Finkelstein noted, “The iPads are a great accessible tool to use when working with a small group of students on skills specific to address their needs. There are apps to focus on reading fluency and comprehension, handwriting, spelling, counting money and practicing math facts and tons more! There are also great writing apps, such as Toontastic, that is a motivating and easy to use writing program that allows students to create stories, including scenes, characters, audio and animation. I am excited to have the iPads available as a great technology tool that allows us to target skills and motivate and reach students in a new way.”

The Netbook computers donated to the Middle School were chosen for their durability and will allow teachers to bring the educational benefits of a computer lab into the classroom. The hand held Smart Response clickers quickly engage students while allowing teachers to easily assess student understanding and instruction knowledge during instruction.

Human Painting

"Clicker" Student Response System Devices

The devices, which resemble television remote controls, allow a teacher to poll a class to find out how many students respond correctly to a question. “As a result of this assessment,” says teacher, Alissa Schaps, “I can differentiate my instruction to meet the needs of all of my students.

During a Spring 2012 PMHS faculty meeting, an admissions officer from Barnard College instructed teachers in the act of writing college recommendations for students. Another consultant from Barnard worked with English teachers to help students write better essays for their college applications.
The Foundation provided the guidance department a SMART Board so that visiting college officers can easily present to groups of students. The department is also updating the college research software, Naviance, used by counselors and students.

Finally, the Foundation sent a counselor and group of students to Camp College to promote access to higher education to students traditionally underrepresented on college campuses.

For a Listing of Major Grants Click Here For a Listing of Micro/Mini Grants Click Here