aef logo 2018

UPDATED, Nov. 25: Spirits were high at Tryst as the Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) held its annual fund-raiser Nov. 19 as all gathered celebrated innovations in education within Arlington’s public schools.

The event raised $7,425 for the foundation. All funds raised will directly support AEF’s work supporting and advancing public education in Arlington.

Photos from the evening >>

AEF board members, supporters, guests and grant recipients shared a lively evening recognizing AEF’s work. The theme of the night was “Educate, Innovate, Empower,” words that celebrate AEF’s 25-year history and establish a forward-looking motto as AEF continues to fund grants that enrich teaching and learning in every one of Arlington’s public school.

 Evidence of AEF’s work was on display through numerous presentations of recently awarded grants that are now up-and-running in the schools. The grants presented highlighted the wide variety of projects funded by AEF and included the following:

Story Box Library, Kara Olivere, districtwide;

Cold War Pinball and the Beautiful Brain Conference, Michael Sandler, AHS;

Colors of STEM, Atwood Cheung and Nancy Chew, Brackett;

Math Games, Johanna Bunn and Julie McDaniel, Gibbs;

Ukulele Hero ,James Ham, Bishop; and

Literature Circles, Rachel Grodman and Alyssa Napolitano. Gibbs.

Each year, the AEF board chooses one innovation-in-education grant to be designated as that year’s Dawn Moses Memorial Innovation Grant. This award pays tribute to the legacy of Moses, a former AEF board member, who served on the board from 2005 until 2012, when she died.

Dawn especially advocated for sustainable, student-centered grants that encompass alternative ways of learning. These values are embodied by the 2018 Dawn Award-winning grant “Discovering our Voices Through Literature Circles,” written by the Gibbs ELA Team of Melissa Heath, Heather Mahoney, Rachel Grodman and Alyssa Napolitano. This innovation grant is truly student-centered and will affect every sixth-grader in Arlington.

The evening featured two guest speakers, Brian Meringer, the new principal at Ottoson Middle School, and Kristen DeFrancisco, the principal at the new Gibbs School.

Meringer thanked AEF for giving his “outstanding staff” at OMS the opportunity to pilot new projects. DeFrancisco commented that because teachers see themselves as innovators, the connection with AEF’s Innovations in Education grants is a natural fit. She added that she is extremely grateful for the support Gibbs School has received from AEF.

AEF’s work is an investment in all of the Arlington public schools, and AEF is deeply grateful for all of its donors’ generosity. In particular, AEF would like to thank its diamond sponsor, the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, and its platinum sponsors, Belmont Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry and Arlington Orthodontics.

AEF awards more than $100,000 in grants to the Arlington public schools each year. From small innovation grants to districtwide initiatives, AEF works with school administrators and teachers to fund programs, professional development and projects that support and enrich the teaching and learning that occur in all of our schools. AEF relies solely on contributions from the community.

For more information or to donate, visit

This news announcement was published Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, and updated to a news summary Nov. 25.