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Salmon Tank / N.Ryan

Salmon Tank / N.Ryan

When one thinks of fish in a classroom, images of goldfish emerge as a class pet.  When Nick Ryan, High School AP Biology and Physics Teacher, thinks of fish he sees the ability to demonstrate the entire life cycle of salmon.  Growing fish from eggs to alevin (baby salmon still with a yolk sac attached to them) to maturity, the NEF grant allowed Mr. Ryan to run the Salmon in the Classroom more effectively.  This is demonstrated by being able to purchase additional equipment that helps ensure fish survival throughout the program and allowing the students to have a great learning opportunity.  In addition, the salmon has engaged Mr. Ryan with other students and staff that are interested in seeing the growth, talking about the program and its benefits in the classroom.

Develop Thru Play

The Kindergarten teachers of our littlest learners (grant led by Jennifer Egli) at Orchard Hills received a grant to purchase items which included multicultural dolls, international play food and dress up items. They have an Egli Post Office, Hospital and even a Cafe! The teachers have witnessed the children taking orders in the restuarant, writing receipts, caring for the babies in the hospital and drawing maps for the fire in the fire station. The level of engagement that this grant has provided for the students is priceless. It has enhanced social skills, language, writing, and most importantly their confidence.


The children are so excited and engaged in their play now. They look forward to coming to that center when it is their turn to come to play. The language they use during play has a purpose. The teachers catch the children looking at themselves in the mirror when they are dressed up. This gives them confidence, and they can see themselves as the doctor, waitress, postal worker, firefighter etc.. The children that are more timid have an opportunity to express themselves in ways that are building their individuality and confidence.  As teachers, they can see the difference in the children's learning and engagement.

Learning To Work Together
Head Chef
Imagine What I Can Be

Develop Through Play / J.Egli

Flannel Story Boards
Flannel Story Boards
Flannel Story Boards
Flannel Story Boards
Flannel Story Boards
Flannel Story Boards

Flannel Story Board / B.Zimmerman

The gift of the Flannel Story Boards gives children the opportunity to play with language, explore communication, demonstrate their knowledge and experience events to apply it to the skill of writing.


For the Orchard Hills Kindergarten teachers (grant led by Melissa Israel & Barbara Zimmerman), it means they can provide their students another way of experiencing, playing with and developing emerging communication skills that are needed as a precursor to writing.  Kinders need many experiences in order to develop prior knowledge that can later be tapped into when trying to write fiction or non-fiction stories.  As today’s households are taxed with duel working families, single homes and in some cases economic struggles, common real world experiences are limited.  It is priceless when an educator can provide children with a means of experiencing events, increasing their abilities to communicate and connecting that writing is just communicating with words on paper.    


Since the grant has been implemented, the teachers have seen increased cooperation as partners or teams work together to recall story information.  Children are learning to listen to each other and exchange ideas.  Emerging writers are recalling information they created on the flannel board story and are being able to use it as a detail in their story drawing or writing.  They are also able to begin writing letter strings for more words because their stories are so detailed.


According to one teacher, MakerSpace is a way for students to become actively engaged in a variety of new mediums while employing the 7 Habits to create and explore in a way they cannot do in the curriculum burdened classroom setting. Students need opportunities to develop the 21st century skills, like: creative problem solving, ingenuity, teamwork, etc.. That really can't be done without the approach to learning and engagement that MakersSpace provides. The students are excited to come to MakersSpace sessions and seem genuinely enthusiastic as they synergize and explore. They leave the experience smiling! Every child should have a MakersSpace to restore their natural curiosity and foster a love of learning.

Three elementary classrooms and Novi Meadows began their MakerSpace Journey the 2015-2016 school year.  Novi Meadows started planning in August and implemented its first MakerSpace session with 6th graders in October 2015. The elementary classrooms started their year by setting a culture of inquiry by using questioning strategies, project based learning, and genius hour before launching their MakerSpaces.  Along with creativity and collaboration being fostered, content standards are tested, applied, and become an innovative thread to what students create.

Making is about empowering students to see that they can bring their ideas to life, and create new things. A maker is someone who makes something -- from food to robots, wooden furniture to micro controller-driven art installations- and are typically driven by their curiosity for learning and creating new things, as well as by an interest in sharing their work and processes with others. We are all makers at heart, and that every new project incorporates new learning.

Four classes -two from 6th grade and two from 5th grade- were chosen to pilot the MakerSpace technology and experience this fall.  With each session, the team of educators involved in the pilot continue to reflect and revise the process in order to improve the next set of sessions for all the students in Novi Meadows.  This MakerSpace is now open to all of Novi Meadows.

As new technology continues to be introduced, our approach is a gradual release/scaffolded model in which the goal of each session is to allow students plenty of time to explore their own curiosities, experiment with their own ideas, and celebrate their genius and their learning.

Makerspaces / Various


Ukuleles / NEF

In a learning community such as Novi, music instruction has a profound impact in the education of a child; in addition to breaking down cultural barriers, it is also well-documented that the study of music leads to improved academic success.  A study by researchers showed that children taking music lessons improved more than the others in non-musical abilities such as literacy, verbal memory, visuospatial processing, mathematics and IQ.

Mr. Ownby, music teacher at Parkview, applied for and received a grant from the NEF to bring a new twist into the classroom through the purchase of ukuleles.  The primary goal of bringing these instruments in the classroom was to enhance the teaching of the curricular units in third and fourth grade music.  This includes learning basic music theory skills, literacy and using routinely in public performances.  The use of ukuleles allows Parkview to reach more students in new ways, celebrate our diversity, connect to and enhance the core curriculum, and stay at the forefront in the field of Elementary Music Education.

Keep Us Safe

Every classroom in the district would benefit from having a universal precaution kit available. Universal Precaution Compliance kit combines personal protection and immediate clean-up items to aid in the cleanup and disposal of infectious blood or body fluid spills.  Safety is a partnership with the parents and community and an assumption that every student and staff has access to the tools necessary to assist safely in an emergency.

POST Secondary educator Lori Burkhardt, was awarded a grant from the NEF to use as a learning project for her students.  Our POST secondary students are entering the community and learning how to participate as citizens and assembling safety kits is a way to give back to the school community that has supported them as students for years.

Compliance Kit / L.Burkhardt

Link Crew

Link Crew Ready to Welcome the New Freshman / N.Carter

Link Crew Helps Ease Freshman Transition to HS / N.Carter

Novi High School launched a program named Link Crew, which provides yearlong support for the incoming Freshman class.  Link Crew is a high school orientation and transition program that provides a structure that guides freshman toward both academic and social success.  The crew, which consists of about 50-75 students, help to enhance our safety and a secure learning environment where freshman will gain awareness about what it means to be a Novi Wildcat and enhance their overall disposition when it comes to social, behavioral and academic expectations.  The Link Crew Leaders represent and reflect the diversity found in our school. 


The grant, submitted and led by Shelia Ebel, Michelle Evans, Karin Halvorsen, Kristen Jones, Chandra Madafferi and Heidi Pendergraff, allows each leader to take their crew of 10-15 freshman on orientation day through a series of positive, fun activities designed to help them all get to know each other and learn important information about the school.  The crew leaders then continue to build relationships and meet with them periodically through the year.

Governing Meadows

5th grade students on a Project Based Learning (PBL) team studied about Government and the democratic decision making process through a school improvement project at Novi Meadows.  The 5th grade courtyard went unused for years and was in need of a strong face-lift. 


Along the way, students visited with various professionals at the Novi Civic Center for advice and assistance.  Students surveyed fellow 5th grade students for ideas and came up with a plan for bringing the courtyard back to life.  The plans were presented at each lunch period and the school voted for one plan. The final plan went to the executive branch (Principal) for approval and judicial branch (Meadows Lighthouse Team). 


The Meadows family then came together to bring the plan to reality and celebrate the end result.  This PBL project, led by Cary Grimm, clearly allowed the students to drive the project and use their voice in the initiation, planning, decision making and implementation process.

NM CFCU Donation
NM Courtyard
NM Courtyard
NM Courtyard
NM Courtyard
NM Courtyard
NM Courtyard Scale Measurements
NM Courtyard Proposal Building
NM Courtyard Pre
NM Courtyard
NM Courtyard City Council

NM Courtyard Crew / C.Grimm


HOSA Activity / B.Roose

This teacher grant, led by Emily Pohlonski & the Novi HOSA team, allows HOSA students to have access to the proper materials to  prepare for events and learn more about certain careers in the medical field.  With the United States' large aging population, career possibilities in the medical field are growing every year. HOSA events use information contained in these books acquired which provide authentic health career experiences.  These books reside in the HS Library for all students to reference and have an equitable opportunity to access health career details, regardless of socio-economic status. 

HOSA Activity / B.Roose

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