Grant Application

First, thank you to everyone who helped me develop ideas yesterday here, on Twitter, and in my building. I am applying for this grant with the Aetna Foudation. The first thing I have to do after I convince all 5 administrators and the board of education to approve the project, is support a letter of inquiry to the Aetna Foundation. Below, if the first draft of that letter.

Organization Information

Background and Mission

Frelinghuysen Middle School was founded in 1965; it serves a diverse population in Morristown, NJ. Below is our mission statement:

Frelinghysen Middle School is committed to:
Lifelong Learning
• Assessment and evaluation that fosters learning
• Meeting the needs, interest, and concerns of students
• Value beyond school
A Positive School Climate
• Value and embrace the diversity of the school population
• An adult advocate for every child
• A child-centered learning environment
• A physically and emotionally safe and supported school
• Open communication
Family & Community Partnerships
• The school as a learning center for the community
• The community as a learning site
• Open dialog and communication
High Expectations & Excellence for Every Student
• Educators committed to young adolescents
• A challenging, rigorous curriculum based on content
• Flexible organizational structures that recognize student
excellence in many areas
• Rich and varied teaching and learning opportunities that
integrate technology
Equity & Equal Opportunity for Every Student
• An adult advocate for every student
• Instruction that maximizes student growth and fosters
the academic, social, and emotional growth of every
• Recognizing learning styles and multiple intelligences
• Differentiated instruction that promotes equity in

Relationship with Aetna
We have no current relationship with Aetna.
Project Information

Project Overview

This project, in broadest terms, aims to improve the overall health and well-being of every student at Frelinghuysen Middle School and then to empower the students to similarly impact the larger community through service projects.
Utilizing grant funds, every student will be provided with an iPod Touch. This is critical for several reasons. First, they will be preloaded with fitness-aimed applications. Some examples are Epicurious, which they can use to find healthy recipes, and Daily Burn, which they can use to track their diet and fitness activities. Furthermore, in exchange for the iPod Touch, students will document their journey over an eight-week period on their own blogs. Frelinghuysen Middle School has a blog network where students can all have their own blog. To help them get started and to help keep them motivated, fitness and wellness instruction will be integrated into every subject. The iPods are vital to ensure that every student has access to the resources they need to deeply learn about the areas of health and wellness which they are passionate about.
Lastly, the school is broken into 3 houses, which operate almost as self-sufficient entities within the school. Each house will be responsible for organizing a different community service project to help the community improve in areas of health and wellness. The House of the Phoenix, in conjunction with the Community School, will offer free classes on healthy cooking. The House of the Dragon, will organize a community run, with an emphasis on getting families to run together. Any funds made, will bee used to extend and sustain the program as our student numbers increase. The House of the Tiger will design a program to incorporate more physical activity into the school day. The service projects listed here are just examples until I can talk to the house leaders and get their input.

Project Description

  • It has been widely reported that this generation of students is the first that is predicted to live shorter lives than their parents. Students, on the whole, are not healthy. Childhood obesity is climbing at an alarming rate, along with the other health problems that come with that. Combined with an increase in unmonitored use of video games, television, and computers that promotes a sedentary lifestyle. Students do not have the eating habits nor the requisite amount of physical activity to keep them healthy long term.
  • The purpose of this project is to make a lasting lifestyle change in the students of Frelinghuysen Middle School and enable and empower them to be able to make a meaningful change in their families and communities.
  • The project has several stages.
      • Step 1 – iPod Touch: Every student and teacher will be provided with the same technology, an iPod Touch. The iPod Touch was chosen for several reasons. First, applications can be preloaded that have beneficial information, such as workout routines or healthy eating tips, that do not require Internet access at home. Second, since the school is installing a ubiquitous wifi network over the summer, the students will be able to access rich information in both independent and guided settings to learn more about their areas of personal interest in health and wellness. For example, students could use the Internet or an Internet-connected app to learn more about exercises that could help him/her to meet a particular fitness goal while another student could use Epicurious to find healthy recipes to make with his/her family.
      • Step 2 – Relevance:  Education is key to help the students get started on the path to wellness and to continue if they start to waiver or lose focus. As such, health and wellness will be seamlessly integrated into every subject area at least once a week. The iPod Touch will also allow for more innovative, engaging lessons that will be retained by the students.
      • Step 3 – Mentoring; Every student will be assigned a mentor. The mentor will meet with each student to discuss what they think are appropriate fitness goals as well as what they would like to see changed about their family’s fitness. This will vary by student’s needs, but could include things like eating healthier, or including more activity in his/her daily routine. They will come up with achievable, realistic goals for an eight-week period.
      • Step 4 – Training: Students will receive training on how to setup their blog to journal their experience. Students will be required to write at least one entry every two weeks, or a total of four entries. Each student will document his/her journey to physical wellness.
      • Step 5 – Service: As the students are learning, the best way to help them have lasting retention is to put them in a position of leadership where they can teach and inspire other. The school is broken up into 3 separate houses – the House of the Dragon, the House of the Phoenix, and the House of the Tiger – and each house will have a separate, meaningful project that will impact the community. These will begin to be planned through each houses leadership board and should be initially completed with 10 weeks of the beginning of the project. Assuming success, the projects will be sustainable and can become a staple in the community to inspire and help the families to achieve physical wellness.
      • Step 6 – Reflection – Mentors will meet with their students to see how they did accomplishing their fitness goals and, if needed, make new goals (Ideally, this should be ongoing throughout the project). The houses will meet to discuss their thoughts on the projects and ways to make sure that they maintain physical fitness permanently. Then, the House leaders and the principal will all meet together to determine if the project should be carried forward and implemented in the years to come as well.
  • The project has two targeted audiences. The initial target is the students of Frelinghuysen Middle School. The secondary target is their family and community members in Morristown, NJ.
  • There will be two different measures of success looking at each of the intended audiences. For the students, they will be setting individual fitness goals. Their journeys will be chronicled on their blogs. Both the blog and conferences with mentors will be used to evaluate how successful the students were. The second audience, the community and family members, will be evaluated based on use of the community service projects.
  • The expected outcomes are that most students will increase their activity level and learn some basic healthy eating skills that they incorporate into their lifestyle at home. Furthermore, as the students become healthier, it is expected that they will be both more alert and better able to focus. The improved physical well being will be manifest in their school career.
  • The findings will be disseminated through the words of the students themselves. http://litteacher,com is a networked WordPress 3.0 installation; what that means is that every student will can a connected blog. All of the blogs will be publicly visible. They will be able to support each other through comments and their journeys, struggles, and successes have the potential to impact a worldwide audience.
  • Communication is key in a project like this. Teachers will receive training before the project begins on how to integrate physical wellness instruction. the iPod Touch, and reflective writing (blogging) into their classes. This will mostly be done through in person meetings. Communication with students will be done through their blogs, through their classes, and through their individually assigned mentors.
  • There are many people who will be vital to the success of the project. LJ, JR, and MM are the house leaders and will be helping coordinate their houses’ service projects. EM, the principal, will be vital in getting the teachers on board. SR is the Community School Director and will help with getting the community involved in the service projects. Jason Bedell, the Educational Technology Specialist, will handle all technical training on the iPod Touch and the blogs, as well as be responsible for data dissemination.
  • We have 1,033 students and over 70 teachers currently. The student number is expected to rise. To pay for an iPod Touch for each student at $200 each, as well as the website hosting required to support that number of bloggers and visitors, we are requesting $250,000.

Brief Budget and Explanation
The key tool used to learn about wellness, organize the service projects, and report through student blogging is the iPod Touch. At $200 each, we can purchase about 1150 with the funding. This would be enough to grant 1 to each student and teacher in the building and plan for new students during the year. With this initial roll-out, the project itself will be sustainable for several years.
Previous Funding
We have no previous funding for this new project and have not been funded previously by Aetna.

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