​​​​Oyster River Mini Grant Initiative 

ORAA gives small grants to fund innovative Oyster River classroom projects that are not being supported by the district budget. To date $17,975 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. 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.

2018-2019 Mini Grant Projects

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

ORAA will do its best to donate a minimum of $300 per project out of monies raised through monthly "wine & dine" event ticket sales.

Any straight donations made here will also be passed on directly to the project (minus PayPal transaction fees).

​​​​​Mini Grant #1: ORMS Musical Production and Drama Club - Body Microphone Rental 

Teachers: Music Teacher Sarah Kuhn and SLP Teacher Juliann Woodbury

Amount Needed: $800​
​Amount Raised through Straight Donations: $200

Grant for $500 Disbursed October 7, 2018

We run the ORMS Musical Production and Drama Club. Our goal is to be an open invitation for any students interested in acting or the theatre, to be part of a fun and welcoming group. Last year we had 40 middle schoolers involved in a production of Cinderella. We had two complete casts so that every child got the opportunity to be both a speaking part and a supporting member of the ensemble. Students also worked to help create costumes, run the backstage, lights, and the curtain. These students had the opportunity to feel success and ownership over a huge project. Our feedback from parents was tremendous and positive! The only complaint we heard over and over was that it was hard to hear our actors with the floor microphones that were in the high school auditorium. This year we would like to rent body microphones for our actors to wear. Over 86 children will directly benefit for this production, as we have 86 currently enrolled in the drama club.

The play will take place on January 11, 12 and 13. We would need the microphones for those days plus the day before for dress rehearsals. We would need the funding for the microphones by the first week of December in order to rent them. These microphones will allow students to use their voice in healthy and age appropriate ways. The microphones are the same as professional actors use to allow them to protect their voices. The cost to rent 8 microphones and the accompanying equipment is $800. We plan to involve our theatre parents in fundraising, but would be honored if you would consider us for one of your grants.

Mini Grant #2: ORMS STEM Challenge Kits 

​Teacher: Science Teacher Michele Martin
Amount Needed: $300+

Amount Raised through Straight Donations: $150
Grant for $450 ($300 and $150) Disbursed December 9th & 13th

​This mini grant would purchase STEM challenge kits for 85 students to encompass four different projects that incorporate an overall theme in the classroom fusing science content with hands-on engaging engineering challenges that are designed by students themselves.
The first science challenge involves designing and conducting a mini-research project as students try to design and win a ‘contract’ to manufacture a special kind of polymer glue called Gluep. The second project explores energy transfer, specific heat, heat capacity, temperature, and insulation while designing a device that limits heat transfer by challenges students to design the best product that will keep hot chocolate warm the longest. The third project involves design teams that must get creative to get loud as they transform cardboard tubes and items commonly found at home or school into a nonelectrical device to amplify smartphone sound. My goal is to excite students as they explore how sound waves are transmitted, reflected, and amplified by different shapes and materials. Teams modify designs and then compete to produce the best device to increase the volume and clarity of music or tones. The fourth projectchallenges students to design gas powered rockets. Along with the chemistry involved, in a classroom competition, student teams learn the real-world implications of the engineering design process.

Mini Grant #3: ORMS Diverse Books for 6th Grade Classroom Library

Teacher: Language Arts Teacher Emily Geltz
Amount Needed: $300

Grant for $400 ($350 & $50) Disbursed February 10 & June 3

​As a 6th grade ELA teacher, one of my most important jobs is to curate a classroom library that allows students to have both windows into other societies and ways of life and mirrors to their own worlds. To feel seen by others is essential, just as is understanding those who are different. Through stories, kids can start to connect with all of humankind, to break down biases, and to empathize. With my level-funded budget, I struggle to make sure I have stories featuring kids who reflect my specific group of students every year. I work to buy books with my own money and gather them from conferences, but what stories have been left out? With this grant, I will work to buy stories that are as diverse and special as my students are. That will reflect their heritages--from Iran to the Philippines. That will have characters who speak more than one language, have hearing aids, or who have lost siblings or parents. This grant will benefit current students, but also students in years to come. Stories keep giving.

Mini Grant #4: ORHS Cricut Cutter for Digital Graphic Design Course

Teacher: Computer Science Teacher Cathi Stetson
Amount Needed: $400
Grant for $400 Disbursed November 11, 2018

I am the computer science and graphic design teacher at the high school. The Digital Graphic Design class works on projects to staff members in the high school (potentially the entire district) using software that they have learned in this course (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign). To date we have created new signage for doors and the athletic office.  We have also provided flyers for an event for a transition fair.  I am providing real life opportunities for my students and they really enjoy seeing their work come to life in the building! We currently make signage with a Cricut cutter that was purchase for our Maker Space in the library. This past year I brought my personal Cricut cutter in to be used in my Digital Graphic Design course. We are limited by the size to only 12” wide cuts. I would like to give students and teachers the opportunity to use a more professional cutter (although they run in the $1000’s) but this plotter, sign cutting machine would be sufficient for our uses in the high school and perhaps in the district for professional looking signs. This particular cutter comes with many supplies that would really be helpful to get started.

Mini Grant #5: Mast Way "Bobcat Bolt" Running Club

Teacher: PE Teacher Cathy Baker & Nurse Katherine Moore

Amount Needed: ~$700

Amount Raised through Straight Donations: $330.50 (from Gault Builders)
Grant for $350 Transferred to Bobcat Bolt T-shirt Account, June 5, 2019


The Bobcat Bolt Running Club is a popular morning run club that meets twice a week from 8-8:45am for 4 weeks in the fall and 4 weeks in the spring. The spring run club culminates in the Bobcat Bolt 5K and Kids Fun Run event. This mini grant will be put toward the purchase of brightly colored "Bobcat Bolt Run Club" t-shirts for kids to wear on the 5K course for added visibility.

Mini Grant #6: ORMS Jazz Band - Financial Assistance Scholarships for Disney World Performance

Teacher: Music Teacher David Ervin (with ORMS Parent Representative Jean Nelson)

Amount Needed: $5,000
Grant for $400 Disbursed March 10, 2019

David Ervin has been bringing Oyster River Middle School Jazz Band students to Disney for 24 years. As he describes it, these trips are a collective effort of the students, parents, school and the community. Students get to prepare for a performance like no other they have experienced. The preparation for this is extensive and intense, but they will be ready. Only the best bands in the country get invited to perform at Disney. This is a 5-day Music trip that just happens to occur at a theme park. Many hours will be spent setting up and performing, attending a half-day workshop with world-class musicians, and listening to live music performances every day. Money raised through this mini grant will help pay for students who otherwise could not afford to attend such a trip. Expenses include air fare to Orlando, hotel, food, bus transportation, instrument and gear transportation, and security (approximately $1,200 per student). The ORMS jazz band is comprised of about 80 students and we estimate that about 10% will need financial assistance.

Mini Grant #7: ORHS/ORMS - Projector for Student-Built Augmented Reality Sandbox

Teacher: ORMS Teacher Sue Bissell with Silas Twickler 10th grade student at ORHS
Amount Needed: $800
Amount Raised through Straight Donations: $0

Grants for $425 ($350 and $75) Disbursed January 6th & 16th

We are writing to request $300 for funding to put towards the purchase of a projector for an augmented reality sandbox that will be housed in a 6th grade science room but could also be a potential traveling exhibit in the elementary, middle school, and high school.  Typically, in a science catalog, this item costs $8,000.  An Oyster River High School student will be making a homemade version of one as an independent study/ Extended Learning Opportunity. The student will be looking for other possible funding sources to try to raise the other money to build the frame, the 3D camera and the kinetic sand to fill it.  The sandbox is a flexible educational tool that combines 3D visualization applications with topographic mapping that students can manipulate and see in real-time, enhancing discovery-oriented learning across multiple sensory modalities. Students mold the sand with their hands and watch the landscape come to life! This learning experience helps promote interactive social skills, a natural connection to physical world awareness, and innovative problem solving. Using a motion-sensing 3D camera and data projector, the sand is augmented in real-time with an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. It has great applications for the study of geographic, geologic and hydro-logic concepts such as watersheds, erosion, sea-level rise, etc. The technology enables dynamic, hands-on interaction with science concepts and is a powerful tool to help bridge the gap between two-dimensional representations and real landscapes, enhancing spatial thinking. In addition, kinetic sand has been shown to be a useful tool for students with sensory processing disorders.