Grants in Action

Check out what’s happening with some of the REF Grants!

Expanding the Reach of The Rockets Help Desk

The Rockets Help Desk (RHD) is a student-driven technology integration team that solves real world problems in a high school setting and creates media that teaches students, faculty and the public. REF is funding additional hardware, software and accessories to enable them to meet their overwhelming demand. Rockets Help Desk is a truly authentic learning experience.

Check out the informative tutorials and happenings on the RHD website.

RHD recently had an article published in EdSurge describing the evolution of the team from a pilot program to a credited class that makes video tutorials for edtech tools, learns from edtech professionals, and consults with teachers who want suggestions for ways they can incorporate tech into their classes.

Coolidge and Parker Students create Breathtaking Digital Art 

Art Teacher Sarah Doane showcases artwork created on iPads from REF 2014 grant. Numerous different art techniques have been explored and enjoyed by students.

Click on image below to view or go to:

 3D Printing Initiative is up and running at RMHS

This year teachers and students are getting familiar with the capabilities of theMakerBotReplicator 3D printer. Teacher Kent Hatton has developed several projects for next year’s curriculum where students will design, construct, evaluate, and then redesign their devices following an engineering design workflow.








Check out the 3D printed backyard concrete castle that the castle model was based on!

The printer has already  had a much broader impact on all students than expected, even with the limited use in the Introduction to Engineering curriculum.


  • Printing models of student work really keeps them involved and excited in the design process
  • 3D printed models of tutorial parts help students to visualize more complex geometry used for teaching the Autodesk Inventor CAD software tools.
  • Students get really interested and inquisitive about the design possibilities with 3D printing. This leads to  discussions about the limitations of manufacturing processes and how to account for them in their designs.


Party-goers at REF’s Imagination Celebration had a chance to view this printer for themselves!


Challenge Day at Coolidge Middle School

Earlier in the school year, the Coolidge Middle School community participated in the Challenge Day, an experiential workshop for students and adults. The program was designed to empower participants and create the change in thinking necessary for a more positive school community.

Sarah Marchant, Coolidge Principal, told REF about the event.

“The impact this experience has had on our building community is amazing! The event increased our empathy towards each other.  It was evident that everyone has some sort of challenge in their life, be they big or small, and that we can appreciate that these challenges shape who we are. 

And it’s important to get to know each other for who we are, be proud of who we are, and to be empathetic that even if we don’t know all there is to know about each other, that everyone is special, everyone deserves respect, and to be empathetic. 

Students have been kinder and more understanding with each other.  The teachers who participated really appreciated that many more challenges face our students today than they realized, and we have to consider each child as an individual, and to meet them where they are at, not just academically but emotionally.”

Elementary School Ukulele Program

Reading now has a Ukulele strings program in all five elementary schools! After piloting the program successfully at Wood End and  Birch Meadow, REF funding a grant to bring the program to the other three schools.

Pictured here are 4th and 5th graders at Joshua Eaton, Barrows and Killam playing their Ukuleles!















RMHS Robockets

RHMS hosts FIRST Robotics Competition in Hawkes Field House, bringing “Varsity Sport for the Mind” to Reading

40 Teams from the New England District and hundreds of spectators enjoyed wonderful day of robotics. The event, sponsored by the FRIST robotics organization,  is free to spectators to encourage and promote student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math.

It was a very successful event for the Robockets. They ranked 9th overall making it to the Semi-Finals as well as winning the Entrepreneurship Award. Teacher Chuck Strout was named finalist for the Woodie Flowers Mentor of the Year Award and Reading community member Sanat Patel was awarded Volunteer of the Year award. There was also a surprise  appearance of Woodie Flowers and Dean Kamen, founding members of the FIRST organization.

Watch the video to see the Robotics robot in action. To learn more about the Robockets, visit their website.

Community Outreach at  Library Teen Tech Week

The high school Robotics team members gave an interactive demo and ran a free 2 hour workshop for students in grades 6-12. They assisted younger robotics enthusiasts in building robots with the  OWI 4 Mode  EM4 Motorized Robot Kit.