Oyster River Mini Grant Initiative 

ORAA gives small grants (a maximum of $300 each) to fund innovative Oyster River classroom projects that are not being supported by the district budget. To date $12,445 has been donated through the Mini Grant program. Here is a PDF Listing of Past Grants

Mini Grant Application Instructions for Oyster River Teachers: HOW TO APPLY FOR A MINI-GRANT. Application Deadline for the 2017-2018 grant cycle is now past. Applications for the 2018-2019 grant cycle will be accepted from July 1 - October 1, 2018.

Be sure to also look at all the other Oyster River projects we fund on an on-going basis! They are listed on our main donation page.

2017-2018 Mini Grant Projects (Total to Raise: $2,605)

(Please make a tax-deducible donation to the project that touches your heart!)

Mini Grant #8: Oyster River Middle School – Picnic Table for School Garden (Request: $300)
Teacher: Jacqueline Bruhn, ORCSD Sustainability Coordinator & Sara O'Brien, 5th Grade Teacher & Save The Earth Club Coordinator


The garden at the Middle School has been maintained by Art Teacher Joe Boucher. He has been running garden club for many years after school in spring and fall. He has also taken care of the garden over the summer with regular watering and weeding. In February of this year Jacqueline Bruhn was hired as Green Team Leader at the Middle School. Jacqueline is a Lifetime Master Gardener with extensive experience in school garden programs. She has been assisting Joe with the garden club.

In June the ORCSD Facilities Department undertook extensive renovations to the elementary and middle school gardens. Jacqueline, Joe and Jim Rozycki (Director of Facilities) worked together to renovate, expand and significantly improve the garden space at the Middle School. The garden area at the middle school was doubled, leveled and weed fabric laid under gravel. This allowed the existing beds, which historically had been used with containers inside of them, to be used as more traditional raised beds inside the new garden footprint. All of the costs of the work, including equipment needed to clear more space, gravel, weed fabric and new compost for the beds, has been covered by the district.

Because we now have the space, we would like to purchase a picnic table for the garden. The picnic table we would like is $360.49 at Home Depot. The picnic table would be used by teachers who would work in the garden in small groups and students in the garden club and new sustainability club. The table would go in the far left of the photo, where the 3 colored chairs are. 

Mini Grant #7: Moharimet Elementary School - Speech Recorder (Request: $155)
Teacher: Stacey Segil, Moharimet Speech Language Pathology Assistant


We are requesting an MP3 CD/Radio Cassette Recorder with USB and Music Port for use with students with speech and language disorders.  This recorder provides a high-quality speaker and microphone system. It will allow us to play therapeutic materials, and record and play back student speech and language samples.  A stand-alone recording device helps us to be more interactive with students when conducting diagnostic testing. We can also play music CDs that go along with books. We will use this recorder to help students with expressive and receptive language during therapy and diagnostic sessions. 


Mini Grant #3: Oyster River Middle School - Dissolved Oxygen Meter (Request: $300)
Teacher: Michele Martin, ORMS Science

I am applying for the mini grant in the amount of $300 to purchase a dissolved oxygen meter for my classroom (cost about $250), with any extra money going to purchase additional water quality materials.  I teach eighth grade science, and a huge part of the curriculum is biological interactions within the environment. Our curriculum aligns with the NGSS standards, with a special focus around our very own Great Bay.

With this purchase, students will be able to go out to Hilton Park, and other areas around our bay to test the quality of the water. We tie the importance of stewardship for our local environment, and what we can do to protect Great Bay into this unit. Some invasive species deprive our local animals of oxygen, and this device will show the students what is really happening in the bay with actual data they can see. This allows them not only do important field work, but create an ownership and connection to Great Bay.  

I have attached a picture of a past field trip to Hilton Park, where we have tested the water quality, but without the important information of dissolved oxygen in the bay. 

Mini Grant #6: All Schools - Special Education Core Word Posters (Request: $300)
Teacher: Kristen Hughes, Accessibility Specialist, ORCSD 


A growing number of students within our district are relying on Alternative and Augmentative Communication, or AAC.  Research conducted at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has centered on the use of AAC in classrooms to support every student’s use of language, as well as best practices for implementation by all staff members, focused on core vocabulary.  Core vocabulary is defined as a small set of simple words, in any language, that are used frequently and across contexts (Cross, Baker, Klotz & Badman, 1997).

The use of a core word poster allows immediate access to visual supports of language in their classrooms or therapy spaces.  This mini grant would allow for purchase of 8 large sized core word posters to be printed and distributed to various classrooms and spaces within all schools in the Oyster River Cooperative School District.  


Mini Grant #4: Oyster River High School - Spanish Cultural Experience (Request $300)
Teacher: Mary Beaton, ORHS Spanish

Efrain Fuentes and Silvia Gomez are folk artists from Oaxaca, Mexico. They will be in the US in the Spring of 2018 and I would like to invite them to come share their craft with upper level language Spanish students (Spanish AP, level 4 and possibly level 3). This would be an “in school field trip” format and during the school day, Spanish language students will visit with the artists for a 45 minute lecture/demonstration. 

​The goal is to give students the opportunity to speak directly to the artists in Spanish, practicing their language skills while learning about the traditional carving and painting techniques and the cultural influences that are reflected in their craft. The total cost is $575.00 for the day.  I am asking for a $300.00 grant from the Alumni Association to help defray the cost per student.  We will try to open this to as many students as possible.  


Mini Grant #9: Oyster River Middle School – Save the Earth Club Compost Bin (Request: $50)
Teacher: Jacqueline Bruhn, ORMS Sustainability Coordinator


On September 8th, middle school students participated in a day of “Making a Difference”. Students learned about how our trash impacts the environment. They sorted 3 days worth of middle school trash that was destined for a landfill. They also attended a brainstorming workshop with Alex Fried, Executive Director of Post Landfill Action Network. Following these events, Sara O’Brien (5th grade teacher) and Jacqueline Bruhn (Sustainability Coordinator), started a Sustainability Club (which students renamed Save the Earth Club or STEC).

The Club has met twice so far and the main initiative the students would like to work towards is having an on-site compost bin for food waste that is ending up in the trash. This is not food waste from the kitchen. That is currently sent to an industrial composting company. Students were hoping to be able to bring classroom compost to a bin on-site. A compost bin would also serve the garden by providing a place to compost plants after the end of the growing season. It would also be wonderful to have compost available to use in the garden on an ongoing basis.

The goal of the club is to have the students raise the funds needed to purchase the wood for the bin. The wood, chicken wire, screws, etc. costs approximately $250. Our hope is that we can get two matching grants, one from the Alumni Association for $50 and a second one from the Strafford County Master Gardeners for $50. The students will raise the remaining $150 through a variety of efforts. Jim Rozycki (Director of Facilities) has approved a location for the bin near the garden. He is also willing to work with his staff so the bin could be accessible for composting in the winter. Both Bill Sullivan (ORMS Assistant Principal) and Jay Richard (ORMS Principal) have approved the building of a compost bin on site. Photos are of the bin we propose to build. 

Mini Grant #10: Oyster River High School – Research and Writing Workshop with Author Kate Messner (Request: $300)
Teacher: Kathy Pearce, ORHS School Librarian


Children’s author Kate Messner will be visiting the district on December 4 & 5. While at the high school on the afternoon of December 5, she will present to sophomores and juniors about the kinds of research she does as an author and how she goes about it - everything from basic library & online research to field trips, specialized research libraries, and interviews. This presentation will directly relate to the work students are doing in US History classes at that time.

After that presentation, she will conduct a hands-on writing workshop where she will work with approximately 30 students from our Creative Writing Club and our Advanced Writing class who will have recently completed the National Novel Writing Month challenge. This will be a unique opportunity for students who are passionate about writing to learn from a successful published author.

Kate presented at the NH School Library Media Association’s annual conference in 2016, and the district librarians were impressed with the excitement and level of engagement that she generated regarding the research process. We knew that our students would greatly benefit from working with her directly. Any support that the OR Alumni Association can give to this visit would be greatly appreciated, as there is not a budget line available for such enrichment activities. Our portion of the cost is $1,250. 

Mini Grant #1 & #2: Moharimet & Mast Way Elementary Schools – Ozobots 
(Request: $600, Really needs $1200)
Teachers: Sarah Curtin and Susan Leifer, Moharimet and Mast Way Technology Integrators
THE MINI GRANT FOR $600 HAS BEEN FILLED but collections are still needed to reach $1,200 so feel free to donate!

We would love to purchase a classroom set of Ozobots for teaching coding, problem solving, algorithms and critical thinking. We envision sharing this kit between the two schools. Two mini grants (the maximum ORAA can promise to fundraise for this project) would pay for $600 of the $1,200 total cost of the kit.​​

Mini Grant #5: Oyster River Middle School – Robotics
(Request: $300, Really Needs $3,900)

Teacher: John Silverio 7/8 Grade STEM
THE MINI GRANT FOR $300 HAS BEEN FILLED but collections are still needed to reach $3,900 so feel free to donate!

I have been organizing and facilitating the robotics program for the middle school students over the last three years.  Every year we run into the same issue of having a tremendous amount of interest, but a lack of resources to offer it up so a majority of the students get an experience. I am requesting this grant so we can utilize the $300 to help purchase another Lego Mindstorm EV3 Robotics set. Our goal is to have enough robotics sets for the STEM classes as well as for the after school program. ​We really would need 10 more sets, a total cost of $3,900.