Supporting Creative Learning.

About RSF

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We are happy to answer any questions that you might have by phone, in person or by email. We hope that the below will address some more commonly asked questions.

Why Science?

How will this impact my family?

I don’t have children in the Rhinebeck School District, why would I be interested?

I am a local business owner, how will this benefit my business?

I support the arts, why are the Sciences the focus of this Foundation?

How is the Rhinebeck Science Foundation going to fund major programs in our schools?

Where do the ideas for programs come from?

What kind of projects will be funded?

Who decides what gets funded?

What do the Rhinebeck Schools offer now? How do our students compare with Red Hook?

Is the Rhinebeck Science Foundation affiliated with CISPE? PTSO? SOAR?

How will the endowment be managed?

Why does hands-on learning work?

How does hands-on learning affect the teachers’ workload?

Where is the money for the endowment going to come from?

How can I justify giving money to the schools after years of tax increases?

How can I learn more?

Why Science?
Willard R. Daggett, President, International Center for Leadership in Education said in a recent speech “In a world in which science and engineering will become the cornerstone of what is needed to know and be able to do in the 21st century, the U.S. is being outpaced dramatically by India, China, and Eastern Europe. The decline of U.S. enrollment in science and engineering combined with the fact that scientists and engineers will be even more coveted in the work force in the coming years places the U.S. at a great disadvantage as a nation.”*

Bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering make up sixty percent of the total degrees earned in China. Five percent of the degrees earned in the United States last year were in science and engineering.*

Rhinebeck Science Foundation will support opportunities to connect science and technology with the things our children experience every day – the arts, athletics, communications, research and the environment. With scientific knowledge, our students will learn to think critically and interpret information rather than rely on others as “the experts.”
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How will this impact my family?
The mission of the Rhinebeck Science Foundation is to grant awards for programs that impact the maximum number of children. Our children need a strong grounding in the sciences in order to be successful in a future where scientific and technological changes will be moving faster than we can imagine.
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I don’t have children in the Rhinebeck School District, why would I be interested?
It is the children of today who will be steering the future of the United States in a global economy. Through the help of foundations like the Rhinebeck Science Foundation, those same children will have the ability to provide innovative leadership internationally. This is an investment in our community for today and our country for the future.
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I am a local business owner, how will this benefit my business?
Community supported foundations that augment the public school budget are an increasingly popular way for local businesses to support their community’s public schools. It is an especially effective way of getting the community involved in enhancing public education. Better schools mean more than just smarter kids. Better schools also mean a stronger and more vibrant community, a richer pool of employees for local businesses and the opportunity for children to make a greater contribution toward solving some of the big science and technology problems that we face nationally and globally.
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I support the arts, why are the Sciences the focus of this Foundation?
Our children need to be problem solvers. This requires an ability to use their imaginations to think beyond the textbook. Art, literature, theater and music all help to stimulate the imagination. Imaginative minds are minds that can envision new ways of doing things.

The Rhinebeck Science Foundation believes in a creative approach to learning the sciences. Productivity in a global marketplace requires a workforce, not only of scientists, engineers and mathematicians, but also of journalists, teachers and artists. The arts and sciences are very much intertwined.
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How is the Rhinebeck Science Foundation going to fund major programs in our schools?
Our goal, as a 501(c)(3), is to create a one million dollar private endowment for public education in the Rhinebeck Central Schools. From that endowment, we will spend a minimum of 5% annually on specific curriculum based projects involving science, math and technology. The balance of the funds (the endowment) will be invested through a national investment firm in order to grow the money available and keep a fund to support all students in the Rhinebeck School district in perpetuity.
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Where do the ideas for programs come from?
It is ultimately up to the teachers and administrators of the Rhinebeck Central School District to apply to the Foundation for grants for specific programs. However, the School District, Staff and Rhinebeck Science Foundation have worked very closely to brainstorm and research appropriate programs for funding.

Ideas are being generated through discussions with local educational facilities and the school district. The Rhinebeck Science Foundation continues to research potential “partners” for the Rhinebeck Schools through local and national programs such as LEGO Education, IBM Engineering programs, and Project Lead the Way.
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What kind of projects will be funded?
To be considered for funding, all programs, equipment purchases and professional development must show a direct impact on students in the classroom. The Foundation places a high priority on programs that present opportunities to as many students as possible and works to ensure continuity in learning between the elementary, intermediate and high schools.

The Foundation will award grants to promote thematic, hands-on math, science and technology programs where learning is inquiry-based and happens through exploration. Any project that incorporates the use of the sciences, mathematical theory, and/or technology will be considered. Applications for art, literature, theatre and music programs that are grounded in the sciences will also be included.
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Who decides what gets funded?
Funding of programs within the Rhinebeck Central School District is a collaborative process between Rhinebeck Science Foundation and the Rhinebeck schools. Applications for funding are first approved by the Rhinebeck Central School District’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, building Principal and District Superintendent prior to being presented to the Foundation.

Our schools, like all public schools in the state, must meet the curriculum guidelines standards set by New York state. In addition to meeting our guidelines, and being supported by the teachers, any programs funded by the Foundation must also meet the state’s requirements. Marvin Kreps, the district’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Joe Phelan, Superintendent of Schools help the Foundation ensure that we navigate this process properly.

Once applications are submitted, the Grant Review Committee will read all applications and make recommendations to the Executive Board of the Foundation. The committee will consist of Board members and area experts in the sciences whose desire is to further the goals of RSF. We will have a standing group of qualified experts in relevant fields who will be called on to advise the committee on a case-by-case basis.

After an application is approved, the Rhinebeck Science Foundation requires a timely accounting of all funds spent both during and at the conclusion of the program. The applicant must also provide a program evaluation at the completion of the program (or school year) to determine the effectiveness of the program.
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What do the Rhinebeck Schools offer now? How do our students compare with Red Hook?
Some interesting recent statistics and information:

Rhinebeck offers AP courses in Biology, Physics and Chemistry.

The Red Hook Central School District offers International Baccalaureate courses in Physics and Biology; they also offer AP courses in Biology and Environmental Science.

Both schools offer science electives. You can access their offerings on the districts’ websites.

Red Hook Central School District has 2,500 children. Rhinebeck has a little over 1,200. The Aggregate Budget State aids rate is 36.1% for Red Hook giving that district $14.5M in funding from the state. Rhinebeck receives $3.5M, a rate of 14.2%. The State Aid is based on a formula called the Combined Wealth Ratio. 57.9% of Red Hook’s budget comes from local taxes, 82.2% of Rhinebeck’s budget comes from local taxes. NY State has determined Rhinebeck is a wealthier district than Red Hook.

95% of Rhinebeck graduates go on to attend 2 and 4 yr colleges. Some of the institutions that members of the class of 2007 are attending include, Berklee College of Music, Boston University, Hobart and William Smith College, Ithaca College, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Rhode Island School of Design, Syracuse University, Tufts University, University of Pennsylvania, US Military Academy, West Point, Wesleyan University, Wheaton College and Williams College. (A full list may be seen on the RCSD website.) In previous years Rhinebeck graduates have attended Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Dartmouth, Amherst, Vassar and Bard. Needless to say, this is a school system and academic program esteemed by college admissions departments.
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Is the Rhinebeck Science Foundation affiliated with CISPE? PTSO? SOAR?
While not formally affiliated with these groups, all 4 organizations are dedicated to making our good schools great. Rhinebeck Science Foundation is looking forward to a collaborative relationship with each organization in order to ensure that our efforts are complimentary.
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How will the endowment be managed?
The Rhinebeck Science Foundation’s portfolio is held at an internationally recognized Wall Street Investment firm with broad experience in handling investments for non-profit organizations. The advisor provides specific investment recommendations while specific strategy is set by the Rhinebeck Science Foundation’s Investment Committee. The Investment Committee consists of RSF board members as well as business professionals with relevant experience.

Rhinebeck Science Foundation limits access to its account to the President and Treasurer of the Executive Board. Any expenditure over $500 must be approved and co-signed by the President and Treasurer of the Board. For more information regarding financial statements and our annual report, please see the About RSF section on this website.
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Why does hands-on learning work?
When children can touch and feel the work they are doing, they become inspired to try new things and different methods. They learn to learn why a toothpick bridge will collapse in a strong wind, why a pumpkin launched 25 yards will hit it’s target every time or how the vibration of a steel drum is interpreted in the eardrum.

For more information on hands-on learning, our Resources section includes links to the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health both of which speak to this method of teaching to today’s students.
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How does hands-on learning affect the teachers’ workload?
The goal is to empower the students to take responsibility for their learning. When teachers can motivate students to explore the answers to their questions, interdisciplinary education becomes more seamless as students discover how to link concepts they have learned from other subjects.
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Where is the money for the endowment going to come from?
Of course, our hope is that every household in the school district will be inspired to help us reach our goal of one million dollars. It is the support of our community that will help us seek additional funding from private foundations, corporations and government grants.

As a 501(c)(3), the Rhinebeck Science Foundation is able to apply to these entities for funding that is unavailable to the school district directly. When we can show that our school district and our community are committed to augmenting the science, math and technology curriculum in the Rhinebeck School District, large granting bodies will award money, equipment and professional development to the Foundation for our schools.

Community supported foundations that augment the public schools are an especially effective way of getting the community involved in enhancing public education. Better schools mean more than just smarter kids. Better schools mean a stronger and more vibrant community.
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How can I justify giving money to the schools after years of tax increases?
As residents of Rhinebeck, we are concerned about our taxes, and we have watched them increase over time.

Frequently, tax increases are needed to cover costs outside the classroom—things like pensions, state-mandated programs, utilities and transportation.

By supporting RSF, you can help our teachers provide more than they would otherwise be able to under the district’s budget constraints.

The quality of our schools has a direct impact on our community’s attractiveness as a place to live, and our property values remain strong because our schools remain excellent. RSF is committed to helping exceed our district’s already high standards.
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How can I learn more?
If you are interested in hearing more about the Rhinebeck Science Foundation and would like to attend an information session, please send your name, address, phone and email address to info@rhinebecksciencefoundation.org. We will be happy to send you an invitation to our next available event.

If you would like more information about making a donation, our Capital Campaign Plan, contributing your time, foundation finances or how grants are handled, please email Jennifer Hammoud at [email]jen@rhinebecksciencefoundation.org[/email]. For specific information on our staff, please visit our Bio page.

We look forward to your participation in the Rhinebeck Science Foundation. Volunteers with energy and time are much needed. Events planning, public relations, fundraising and mailings are a few of the areas where your talent would be greatly appreciated!
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* Address presented at June 2005 Model Schools Conference by Willard R. Daggett, Ed.D President, International Center for Leadership in Education