The Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation is proud to fund the creative and innovative ideas of the Cape faculty, staff, and students. Since 2002, CEEF has worked with the district to enhance and support the education of Cape students with projects that would otherwise fall outside of the school budget.

Read about some of our most recent grants below, or scroll to see our full grant history.

2021 – 2022 School Year

Telescope for Moon Viewing When first grade teacher Sarah Howell saw how excited her students were after a “moon viewing” event last year, she knew she needed a better telescope to make the event an even bigger success. Howell’s grant will give her a more powerful, portable telescope that will allow her students to explore more of the moon during their viewing event for parents and students. Access to the telescope will also be available to all teachers who want to incorporate similar curriculum.


3D Design and Printing Leesa Joiner, new PC Technology Integration Coordinator, uses 3D printing and design in her work with classrooms at Pond Cove, but needed an update for equipment. Design process skills are an important step in a PC education, and with updated and faster technology, students will be able to see tangible results of their design projects.


Multi Touch Smartboard for CEHS Life Skills Classroom Hoping to expand learning opportunities and models for Life Skills students, educators Beth Mylorie, Tom Farmer and Hilary Roberts received a grant to bring an advanced smart board to the classroom. This technology will allow education to become portable and tangible to their students, recognizing that “learning becomes meaningful when it has value and significance for students, matches their cognitive abilities, and shapes students’ reality, personality, skills, development, and future.” This pilot program, based on use of these boards in other Maine schools, will potentially allow educators to expand learning models across the district.


CEHS Experiential Discovery and Leadership Learning Drawing on the leadership and collaboration skills learned and practiced in three different CEHS classes, a Discovery and Leadership Program will allow students to push their skills and learn from each other. CEHS’ Boys’ Freshman Academy, Girls’ Freshman Academy, and Women’s Leadership Academy will combine for a day at LL Bean’s Outdoor Discovery and Ropes Course. The day will grant students the opportunity to exercise and adopt new collaboration and team-building skills.


Cape Robotics Raised Platform Raised platforms have become increasingly common among VEX Robotics teams in the region, and are a standard component of higher level competitions such as the Maine State Championship and VEX Worlds. The teams currently practice on the floor of their lab and this grant will bring the field up to current standards and help alleviate storage issues. Seniors Evan Gebhart, Marcella Hesser and Matthew Zimmerman will design and build the platform in the CEHS wood shop, under supervision of Jim Ray. Evan said “Seeing such a project through from inception to completion will be an invaluable learning experience for us, and the platform will be the legacy of this year’s eight, highly accomplished, senior Robotics Club members.”


Jazz Cabaret and Visiting Artist CEHS Band Director Rob Wheeler will bring to CEHS and CEMS the Brian Thomas/Alex Lee Clark Big Band as visiting artists. Comprised of 18 professional musicians/educators from the Boston Metro area who specialize in teaching and performing contemporary styles of music and improvisation, the group will work with students over the course of several days during interactive clinics including new and original music. Their visit will culminate with a performance during the CEHS Jazz Cabaret in the Spring.


Place-based Education at Turkey Hill Farm An exciting collaboration between CEEF and the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust at Cape’s own historic Turkey Hill Farm. CEMS’ Joanna Payne, along with teachers Steven Price, Kristina Moniz, and Aaron Fileo, will develop curriculum and hands-on opportunities through a new, place-based model of learning for eighty 7th and 8th-grade students. This model of learning immerses students in a local landscape which then becomes the focal point for the traditional core subjects of language arts, math, and sciences. Projects involve the team, school, and community, bringing an innovative approach to classic studies.


Cape Underground A repurposing of unused space at CEMS, Counselor Kim Sturgeon’s grant will expand classroom and meeting opportunities for Middle School students. Although once classrooms, the lower level at CEMS had long been used as storage. Sturgeon’s grant will see much of the space cleared, and revitalized with new furniture giving it a renewed purpose. The furnishings will be moveable and allow the space to adapt to the needs of teachers and groups using the area. In need of space for students and teachers to meet, the new “Cape Underground” revitalizes and reimagines the resources in place at CEMS.


SOS The SOS program is an evidence-based program for grades 6-12 that gives students and teachers the knowledge to better understand how to handle incidents of peer suicidal ideation and better understand their own thoughts and feelings with regard to suicide. CEMS’ Psychologist Kaite Haaland and the counseling team brought the grant to CEEF with the hope of not only increasing awareness of the issue in CEMS but also giving students the tools to better help themselves and their peers. Haaland believes the knowledge and awareness can guide students not only in Middle School but into High School and beyond. More information on the program itself can be found here and information will be sent home to parents as well.

2020 – 2021 School Year

Willow Brook Outdoor Classroom Student Hope Taylor applied for her second CEEF grant to help expand outdoor learning opportunities for the entire district. The grant will establish an outdoor classroom for 24 students on CELT property, complete with benches, tables, and outdoor whiteboards, all of which Taylor and volunteers will build. The classroom is a short walk from all three schools, and affords the opportunity for students and teachers to enrich their study of the environment, as well as explore learning in a new setting.


CEMS Mindfulness Director Expanding on the successful mindfulness program established in 2019, Principal Troy Eastman, Counselor Stephanie Royal, and Social Worker Sarah Hasson, applied for a grant to establish the position of Mindfulness Director for the Middle School. Erica Marcus will continue and expand her work with teacher training, drop-in sessions for parents and students, and collaboration within the Middle School. Students and faculty benefit from learning to recognize emotions and safely express them, and how they fit into the Middle School community as a whole.


Community Read for Mental Health Focusing on Pond Cove librarian Cameron Rosenblum’s book The Stepping Off Place, CEHS will host a read-along and discussion in conjunction with Thomas Memorial Library.  The book addresses many aspects of mental health, and the project will incorporate both classroom and community discussions about the book and how to address and improve mental health. 


Coder Express Pond Cove students were able to carry on this beloved tradition remotely thanks to a grant to Mr. Charltray and the 4th-grade eTeam. The grant allowed each participant could have an at-home bag with supplies, a cookie, and of course, hot chocolate!


New England Aquarium Virtual Programs Fourth Grade teachers, Julie Merriam and Mary Jane Ham, came together to build a grant that will allowed the entire fourth grade to participate in the New England Aquarium Climate Change Virtual Field Trip. The CEEF grant allowed students to continue the tradition of field trips in a new way, and Merriam and Ham strove to find a way to still experience the thrill of hands on learning. They shared that it was “imperative to teach our young learners about our sacred oceans” and found that the New England Aquarium (NEA) offered programming that brought the oceans and experts to students. Each class studied and participated in activities exploring STEM skills and climate change, and then interacted with an expert from NEA via Zoom. Ham and Merriam noted that this interaction with NEA was key to a student’s understanding and connection, and that “anytime a student interacts with a real scientist or someone deep in the field – they benefit.” 


Natural Helpers/Peer to Peer Space Creation Hoping to provide a safe space for HS students to talk, de-escalate their feelings, receive peer-to-peer counseling, or even engage in meditation. The creation of the space will provide a home base for the Natural Helpers, and Peer -to-Peer group already established at the High School. Providing a space for students to help others offers a unique experience and perspective for the entire high school community.


Persona Dolls Pond Cove Kindergarten teacher Amanda Marsden and Counselor Bri Gallagher were awarded a grant to bring Persona Dolls to early childhood learners.  These child-size dolls have diverse backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and families and engage students in powerful dialogue. The dolls help introduce conversation around bias and bullying for young learners by becoming part of the classroom community. “We have an opportunity to create a climate and culture that rejects racism and embeds anti-racist teaching and learning into our early childhood classrooms when it is most impactful and will make real change.


Cape Snowshoes Like many educators, 8th Grade Experiential Learning Teacher Morgan Kerr had to be creative to keep his students engaged and safe during the pandemic. Kerr crafted an innovative solution to expand nature-based education for his middle-schoolers: snowshoes.  “Winter is a very unique time to really explore the world around us. The snow and loss of foliage allows us to explore areas where we might not be able to in the summer, spring, or fall. For the experiential program in particular, we will use [snowshoes] to further expand our study of the importance of salt marshes and its importance to Cape Elizabeth’s and Maine’s coastal ecology.”

Thanks to the generous support of CEEF and CELT, Kerr was able to purchase 25 sets of snowshoes for CEMS. With small cohort classes, 2-3 classes of students are able to use them at a time. Long term, Kerr is hoping teachers will take advantage of the new equipment and incorporate snowshoe excursions into their winter curriculum. 

2019 – 2020 School Year

Helping At-Risk Readers The Pond Cove Literacy Team (Becky Swift, Mary Dulac and Rosemary Ginn) applied for a grant to assist Pond Cove’s most vulnerable readers over the Summer.  The change from in-person to remote learning meant these readers weren’t getting as many “new-to-them” books for frequent reading practice, and the team was concerned that reading wouldn’t continue over the Summer. With a CEEF grant, twenty-four book bags, consisting of twelve books each, were assembled and distributed to students for Summer reading.  Making sure these students had multiple, “just right” books to practice with over the summer meant better preparation for the Fall.  An innovative and adaptive solution to help Pond Cove students!


Naturalization Ceremony Ted Jordan received a grant to fund a naturalization ceremony hosted by CEHS Government students for 50 new citizens as they take the oath of US citizenship. The ceremony will be held at the CEHS auditorium. Students will plan a breakfast, interview participants, and make connections between the event and curriculum topics around immigration and policy-making.


Mindfulness Practice for Emotional Regulation in the Classroom Louise Lynch and Maria Rinaldi received a grant to fund mindfulness training for teachers at CEMS. As part of the CEEF/Thompson Mental Health Initiative, participating teachers will receive practical training from an expert at “Wise Minds, Big Hearts” to integrate mindfulness practices in their classrooms. Teachers and students will learn skills to manage stress, increase empathy and self-awareness, and monitor their own levels of worry and anxiety. Check out this update for information and mindfulness tipsMindfulness Update


BLACK KID JOY Performance Ensemble. Christine Marshall received a grant to bring the BLACK KID JOY (BKJ) Performance Ensemble to CEHS. Through songs, dance, and acting, BKJ is the work of an ensemble of 40 artists from Philadelphia that expresses the joy, power, and ongoing challenges of the African American community.  Students were able to not only see the performance but also meet the performers and try out their singing/acting skills during in-school workshops.


Peaceful Pond Cove – 4th-grade Helpers Presented by Tara Bucci, this grant will provide opportunities for 4th-grade students to be responsible leaders for their peers and mentors for younger classmates. Through trainings led by teachers, staff members, and community helpers, students will develop leadership skills with a focus on responsible student behavior. Helpers will be trained around issues of safety, being a buddy for those in need, technology assistance, playground safety, and building a healthy school community. 


Artist in Residence Mike Scarpone and Caitlin Ramsey received a grant to bring musician Trent Austin to CEHS and CEMS. Trent is a celebrated artist, musician, and entrepreneur who is dedicated to music and jazz education. CEHS and CEMS jazz bands and trumpet sections will work with Scarpone in three days of clinics to improve style, technique, and musicianship. Students will apply these skills and perform alongside Scarpone in their annual Jazz Cabaret.


Raising Trout in 6th Grade A grant was awarded to Hannah Rohner, Josh Chase and Allison Caruso at CEMS for students to participate in the Portland Water District’s TroutKids program. This grant will fund the supplies needed to raise brook trout in the classroom and test water quality for their release. This experiential learning opportunity will benefit current and future 6th-grade students through authentic learning experiences around anatomy and physiology, ecology, human impacts, water quality, watershed protection, and Maine’s economy.


A Celebration of Maine Authors and Illustrators – Audio Library Aligning with Maine’s Bicentennial in March 2020, a grant was awarded to Ingrid Whitaker, Cameron Rosenblum, and Tom Charltray at PCES for a community project to promote literacy for Pond Cove students. Cape Elizabeth community members will be recorded while reading picture books by Maine authors and illustrators. The goal is to create a library of 200 narrated books by members of the community that will be a resource for teachers and students at Pond Cove now and in the future.


World Map for Pond Cove Kate Zellers received a grant for the purchase and installation of a large world map at PCES. The map will be matte mounted so students can explore as they walk down the hall. The map will be used for interactive lessons in geography and map reading,  and promote an understanding of our place in the community, country, and the world. 


Sexual Assault Awareness For Everyone Event  (SAAFE) CEHS students Ella Briman, Hannah Johnson, and Genevieve Rodda received a grant to help fund a full-day event promoting sexual assault awareness at CEHS. Through a variety of discussions and speakers, this event will advance the community’s knowledge around sexual assault. Discussions will focus on education, prevention, strategies, and coping, and will contribute to creating a safe environment at CEHS. 


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