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Rhinebeck Science Foundation Presents First Grants to Rhinebeck Board of Education

On Tuesday, September 23, 2008, the Rhinebeck Science Foundation awarded its first gift to the Rhinebeck Board of Education. At the BOE meeting attendees were able to see first hand how the recently formed Foundation is helping Rhinebeck students learn and retain greater knowledge in their science, math and technology classes. The Rhinebeck Science Foundation chose to focus on science for several reasons explained Rhinebeck Science Foundation Treasurer, Andrew Schulkind, “The U.S. is being outpaced by India, China, and Eastern Europe in creating science scholars. We’re losing our competitive edge in research and business innovation, but we can avert a real crisis in our country with fresh ideas in science, math and technology education. Rhinebeck residents, parents, and educators decided to be proactive instead of waiting for the state and federal governments to fund innovative, new ideas in our schools.” It is the mission of the Rhinebeck Science Foundation to provide funding to the school district to enhance the students’ experience of learning. This money will provide the foundation for larger hands-on projects in the future.

The Rhinebeck Science Foundation, created in early 2007, has caught the attention of the community and its fundraising effort is quickly seeing results. After only six weeks the Foundation was able to raise enough money to make a gift for the 2008-09 school year. “We are thrilled to be able to present this gift to the Rhinebeck Central School District one year before projected,” said Ali Hammoud, Chief Fundraiser.

The Foundation has purchased equipment valued at $6,000 to enhance the science learning experience for the students in all three Rhinebeck schools. Chancellor Livingston School will receive six microscopes and a visual projection system. These microscopes will support the science curriculum for grades K-5. In collaboration with Sharon Hicks, a Bulkeley Middle School 7th grade science teacher, the Rhinebeck Science Foundation helped secure a grant from the Taconic IPA to purchase five new stereoscopic microscopes and a visual recording/projection system. Currently BMS students in 7th grade Life Science have only one microscope. The five additional microscopes will permit additional hands-on, project based learning, allowing small groups to work with each microscope. Lastly the Foundation has purchased a spectrophotometer and an environmental TREKKER system to be used at the Rhinebeck High School in chemistry, environmental science, and biology classes. These purchases will lead to hands- on, thematic, long-term project- based learning regarding soil testing, water testing, turbidity, and ph probes.

“We are excited to be making our first gift to the Rhinebeck Central School District. It has come to fruition through the strong and collaborative relationship we have forged with the Board Of Education, Administration, and most of all, the teachers. It is their ideas that inspired these particular gifts. We are happy to be able to help them enhance their classrooms for all of Rhinebeck’s children,” says Jen Hammoud, President of the Rhinebeck Science Foundation.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Hammoud at