Grants Overview

CSF awards grants to fund initiatives that take place in one or more of our six schools, during the school day, impacting a significant number of students and which are not able to be funded through the school district budget. Ideas for grant applications originate from Chappaqua teachers, administrators, parents and students and follow one of two grant application processes. Information about how to apply for a CSF grant can be found on the Apply for a Grant page.

CSF Grant Pathways

Traditional Grants

Traditional Grants fund innovative ideas costing in excess of $2,500 or which require significant district support to implement. The application cycle for these grants begins in the fall of the school year with a final decision coming in the spring following a many month development process. Once approved, purchases are made and staff development occurs so that these grants are in place during the subsequent school year.


The InstaGrant process is used to fund innovative ideas costing $2,500 or less and which do not require significant implementation support. InstaGrant applications are reviewed and approved throughout the school year which allows for a fast track review of smaller requests and implementation during the current school year.


Our Newest 2020-2021 Instagrants

The great thing about CSF InstaGrants is that they allow for an immediate impact on teaching and learning! Below is a list by month of approval of the InstaGrants awarded during the 2020-2021 school year. We can’t wait to see them in action!

October 2020

IG20-21-01 Building a Foundation for Antiracist Teaching & Learning in AP Government & Politics: The Color of Law ($2154.00)

This InstaGrant provides 200 copies of the Book, The Color of Law:  A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein for the AP Government & Politics curriculum at Horace Greeley High School.  This book will supplement the online textbook.  The students will use the information in this book to research the public policy & societal discrimination in Westchester county and America as a whole.  The College Board Civic Action Project will provide students the opportunity to engage in sustained real-world activity that will deepen their understanding of course content. 

Sheila Jacob, Suzanne Mosca, Jess Somma, AP US Government and Politics Teachers, Horace Greeley High School

IG20-21-02 Middle School STEAM Drone Project ($2341.12)

This InstaGrant funds the purchase of five drones each for the Bell & Seven Bridges STEAM Departments.  The drones can be used as a part of several core classes at the middle school level.  Drone integration will inform teaching of topography mapping, scratch & javascript programming, digital storytelling, and environmental science analytics and photography. 

Tabitha Sasso, Robert E. Bell Middle School STEAM Teacher, Jenny Gieras, Seven Bridges Middle School STEAM Teacher

IG20-21-03 Building a Foundation for Antiracist Teaching & Learning in American History:  Stamped ($835.20)

This InstaGrant allows for the purchase of copies of the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Abram X. Kendi for students in U.S. History & Government.  Over the course of the 2020-2021 school year, the instructors will revise the curriculum map for Regents U.S. History & Government, building a five-unit curriculum aligned with the periodization in the book.  Antiracism will become a lens for understanding America, past & present.   The curriculum planning will be supplemented with instructional resources created by the Zinn Project to support the use of Stamped.

Tom Witmer & Jaqueleen Zamora, Social Studies Teachers, Horace Greeley High School

December, 2020

IG20-21-04 Establishing Consistent Listening Opportunities for all Middle School Students ($2398.50)

This InstaGrant provides portable quality listening equipment to each music teacher at middle school level.  The current educational landscape requires music teachers to travel to different classrooms to meet with each pod.  This grant will provide a more seamless transition into the classroom and ensure that every student has a consistent listening experience.

Seven Bridges Music Department: Elliot Semel, Kim Meade, Stan Serafin – Department Chair; Bell School Music Department: Gina Serafin, Laura Abbatantuono – Department Chair, and Madison Martineau

IG20-21-05 Flexible Seating for 2nd Grade Class ($946.80)

This InstaGrant is a pilot of flexible seating cushions for Sarah Alley’s 2nd Grade class.  The goal of this grant is to provide a personalized educational experience for each student while increasing student stamina and focus.  

Sarah Alley, Second Grade Teacher and Abby Gitlin, Occupational Therapist, Douglas Grafflin Elementary School

IG20-21-06 Lavalier Microphones for English as a New Language (ENL) Students ($959.92)

This InstaGrant allows for the purchase of 8 lavalier (clip on) microphones for the ENL teachers at each school in the district.  A lack of quality sound in remote teaching and learning can be a significant barrier for English Language Learners.  These microphones will provide ENL students with greater access to instruction by minimizing challenges of inconsistent sound quality. 

Helen Harrison on behalf of all District-wide ENL teachers

IG20-21-07 Lavalier Microphones for Large Learning Spaces at Bell & Seven Bridges Middle School ($1919.84)

This InstaGrant allows for the purchase of 16 lavalier (clip on) microphones for large space-classrooms at each middle school.  It is sometimes difficult for students who are learning remotely to hear the lesson when a teacher circulates a large classroom space.  These wireless lapel microphones will provide better sound quality for all students in the middle school mathematics and english language arts classes.

Joshua Culwell-Block, Director of Technology, Chappaqua Central School District

Our Newest 2020 Traditional Grants

These grants were approved by CSF in the spring of 2020 and will be implemented in classrooms during the 2020-2021 school year.


Academic Commons Repurposing Project ($50,000)

In response to the call of Greeley students for a space for students to relax, congregate and socialize, the Student Life Coordinator convened a committee of students and faculty to reimagine the Greeley Academic Commons as a place devoted to social/emotional well-being. By surveying the student body and interviewing teachers clinicians and administrators, the Committee came up with a set of goals for the space to facilitate its use as a place to unwind, gather with friends, hold club meetings and display student created content. While final room layout and furniture selection is still being determined, this grant will provide the bulk of the funds necessary to bring the reimagined space to reality.

Matthew Friedler, Horace Greeley Student Life Coordinator; Priya Ma, Science Teacher, Daniel Valentin, English Teacher and the Horace Greeley Academic Commons Redesign Committee


Elementary Classroom Library Diversification Project ($30,500)

This grant supports the diversification of elementary classroom libraries across the District. Recognizing that books are both “Windows” through which readers learn about others who may be different from them and “Mirrors” where they see themselves and their families reflected in the characters and stories, this grant aims to expand classroom libraries to include more authors, characters, and storylines to more accurately reflect the diversity of our community and world. Through this grant, each District teacher K-4 will be given an allowance to select books from a curated list to enhance their classroom selections of books for read-alouds, book clubs and individual choice reading.

Adam Pease, CCSD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction; Jamie Edelman, Director of Literacy; Alissa Stoever, Assistant Principal, Westorchard Elementary School; Jennifer Thompson, Staff Developer


Enhancing Physical Education Through Visual Displays ($24,173)

This grant builds upon the work Westorchard physical education teachers have been doing integrating technology, particularly use of iPads, into gym instruction using a variety of tools, resources and apps. Adding large formats displays on both sides of the Westorchard gymnasium allows students and teachers to share work they have done on their iPads, and use a broad range of teaching tools such as videos, images and diagramming to deliver curriculum. By using large screens to display instructions for activity sequencing, teachers will be able to more effectively work with individual students and groups to ensure concept mastery by all.

Mike McNeece, Tom Williams, Physical Education Teachers, Westorchard Elementary School

Traverse Climbing Wall ($9,433)

This grant funds the installation of a traverse climbing wall with a mat system and versa challenge course in the west gym of Douglas Grafflin elementary school. Through use of this wall students will have opportunities to work together, take risks, accomplish challenges, and enhance problem solving techniques.

Ryan Spillane, Physical Education Teacher, Douglas Grafflin Elementary School

Westorchard Cafetorium Sound and Video System ($32,638)

This grant supports the upgrade of the sound and video system in the Westorchard cafetorium. By enhancing the audio visual capabilities in this shared space, this grant will support theater productions, grade level performances, whole-school assemblies and other events for all Westorchard students.

James Skoog, Principal, Westorchard Elementary School


2019-2020 School Year InstaGrants

These InstaGrants were approved throughout the 2019-2020 school year and are currently in place in classrooms impacting students throughout the District.


All Night In A Day – Holocaust Learning Experience ($1,980)

This InstaGrant helped to fund a collaborative learning experience about the Holocaust between the english and social studies departments. By providing 300 copies of the book Night by Elie Wiesel, all 10th grade students can read the book at the same time and participate in the “All Night in a Day” program.  The English/Social Studies collaboration allows students to make powerful connections between literature and history – pairing their literary analysis with historical analysis of the Holocaust, resulting in deeper understanding. 

Susan Lunnie and Regina McKie, 10th Grade Teachers, Horace Greeley High School

Active Learning in a Proficiency-Based Spanish Classroom – Mobile Spanish Library ($2,200)

This InstaGrant allows Spanish classrooms to explore proficiency-based curriculum through the use of free voluntary reading and book clubs. Students can read for their own enjoyment, at their own level and without judgement or assessment. Data suggests that this practice supports language acquisition and builds student confidence as they finish books in Spanish. It also supports metacognition as students start to notice how they read, how they can improve, and what they can do with the language after reading. Book clubs provide a similar learning experience and conversation starters for class.

Isabel Irizarry, Spanish Teacher, Horace Greeley High School

Active Learning in a Proficiency-Based Spanish Classroom – Collaborative Whiteboard Tables ($2,500)

This InstaGrant complements the mobile library InstaGrant through the addition of whiteboard tables to language classrooms. These tables allow for students to engage in conversation, recording and reporting while maintaining a flexible physical space. Students will be able to move more freely around their learning space, which can be reconfigured with learning stations, reading nooks, project pods, and conversation corners. By incorporating these tables into their classrooms, teachers will be able to implement proficiency-based curriculum in an active learning style.

Steve Warren, Spanish Teacher, Horace Greeley High School


Expanding the Tonal Palate of the SB Orchestra ($2,499.89)

This InstaGrant funded the purchase of a drum kit and additional accessories for the orchestra at Seven Bridges Middle School.  These materials allow the orchestra to utilize new instruments and play new songs which were previously not possible.  Additionally, these materials allow the acquisition of a variety of new sets of skills, including how to set up, operate, and care for the instruments, how to read a percussion clef and to practice rhythm reading.

Kim Meade and 7th and 8th Grade Orchestra Students, Seven Bridges Middle School

Go Be Kind ($2,194)

This InstaGrant enhances the social and emotional aspects of learning in middle school children by bringing to life the lessons being taught with the RULER program.  The Go Be Kind journals allow students to come to know themselves better, learn to take risks in and out of school, learn how to talk to peers, teachers and adults, and most importantly, learn the power of being kind.

Dana House and Patricia Adams, 6th Grade Teachers, Bell Middle School

Investigative Journalism Through Podcasting ($2,404)

This InstaGrant funded the equipment necessary for a new eighth grade English curriculum unit. This unit pairs learning about investigative journalism and trends in podcasting with students’ ability to plan, compose and record their own podcasts. Podcasting allows students to evolve their written work into a substantial and multidimensional piece of work that can be streamed or downloaded and optimized for playback on any number of devices. Students will be producing podcasts that are authentic, targeted to the Chappaqua community, employ the writer’s workshop model, and institute best practices of investigative journalism.

Michael Palmieri, Seven Bridges Middle School

Latin Percussion in Orchestra and Band ($2,498.95)

This InstaGrant funded the purchase of Latin American musical instruments to allow students to play a wider range of music including Latin American, Afro-Cuban, Jazz, and Contemporary Rock.  Having access to these instruments gives students a more authentic experience when playing multi-cultural pieces and allows for a cross-curricular experience when students are studying different cultures..  By broadening the types of instruments accessible to our middle school students, students gain exposure and understanding of the diversity in our schools and in the world beyond.

Laura Abbatantuono and Madison Martineau, Orchestra and Band Teachers, Bell Middle School


Election 2020 ($1,315.05)

Recognizing the importance of understanding how the President of the United States is elected, this InstaGrant enhances the third grade social studies curriculum focusing on US government and US regions. Students are provided with Scholastic magazines and display maps to learn about the electoral college and about US geography and regions. While the magazines will be specific to the 2020 election, the other materials will remain in the classrooms to enhance education for years to come.

Warren Whitney and Karen McNally, Teachers, Grafflin Elementary School

Election 2020 – Roaring Brook and Westorchard ($2,630.10)

This InstaGrant expands the Election 2020 proposal which originated at Grafflin to the third grades at both Roaring Brook and Westorchard Elementary Schools.

Adam Pease, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction; Mary Devane, Staff Developer

First Grade Innovative Chairs ($2,366.51)

This InstaGrant funded furniture to allow students more choice and flexibility with regard to where they sit in the classroom (different types of chairs vs. on the carpet/floor).  It also allows students to select seating with movement opportunities while doing group/class work.  Many studies indicate that movement helps to stimulate brain function and alertness. By giving students a choice in their approach to the learning process, young children become more invested in their learning and begin to recognize what helps them do their best learning.

Sandi Schassler, Douglas Grafflin Elementary School

Floor Chairs and Desks ($2,469.42)

This InstaGrant represents the culmination of the persuasive writing unit done by Grafflin Elementary School third grade students.  The children worked in groups to imagine items that would enhance their learning opportunities and to create presentations to persuade their classmates, teachers and members of the Chappaqua School Foundation to select their concept for funding. Many excellent ideas were presented creatively by the students. The winning concept was additional floor chairs and floor desks that could be used to make working on the floor easier and more productive. The addition of this furniture to third grade classrooms allows teachers to create group and individual work areas in multiple configurations and spaces, enhancing learning flexibility.

Mara Cohen, Warren Whitney, Laurie Ende, Karen McNally and their 3rd grade students, Douglas Grafflin Elementary School

Grafflin Kindergarten Focus Furniture ($2,467.23)

Through this InstaGrant, kindergarten classrooms at Grafflin obtained four different seating options for students. By introducing different seating options into the kindergarten classrooms, students have choices better suited to specific types of learning activities. Seating options help all students access curriculum and enhance their ability to focus on their learning.

Nancy Larkin, Lisa Tighe, Pam Worth, Douglas Grafflin Elementary School

Greenburgh Nature Center-Recycling Program ($2,500)

This InstaGrant supported the pairing of a waste reduction and recycling program with environmental education through the Greenburgh Nature Center. By learning about how individual choices impact the world around them, students are empowered to sort their waste and do their part in helping to make the earth a healthier and safe environment.

Carol Bartlik, Douglas Grafflin Elementary School

Kindergarten Vertical Work Stations ($2,211.10)

This InstaGrant funded five standing work stations for the kindergarten students at Grafflin.  Having vertical work surfaces available to kindergarteners enhances their learning in multiple ways, including supporting the development of appropriate fine motor grasp during pencil and paper activities.  Integrating work area options into the kindergarten classroom helps create positive and appropriate habits early on, ensuring appropriate academic skills and a strong sense of self esteem around those skills.

Jennifer Pollitt, Abby Gitlin, Douglas Grafflin Elementary School

Math Stackers ($1,405)

This InstaGrant added a multisensory aspect to the second grade math curriculum.  The addition of the Math Stackers manipulatives help students acquire important skills including communicating mathematical ideas, using multiple representations to show their thinking, and representing and solving addition and subtraction equations when there are unknowns in the problem. The Math Stackers can be used both independently and for group work, supporting multiple types of learning situations. 

Mary Goff, 2nd Grade, Westorchard Elementary School