Pierce School

The BEF has partnered with Pierce School educators for over 34 years to advance their vision of a strong, equitable community and high achievement for all. BEF grants strongly support this vision and help to continuously improve the quality of education that Pierce students receive.



Deborah Levine (English Learner Education, Grades 3-7, Pierce School)
Lauren Carroll (English Learner Education, Grades K-8, Runkle School)
Chinese Cultural Exploration
Ms. Levine and Ms. Carroll will travel to China with China Educational Tours to learn, first-hand, about the culture, history and school-life of students so that they may better understand Brookline students that have emigrated from China. Pierce School houses the Native Language Support Program for Chinese Speakers and Runkle School has also experienced an increase in native Chinese speakers in recent years. Ms. Levine and Ms. Carroll seek to better understand their students’ previous experiences so they can help their students adapt to their new Brookline schools.

Tanya Gregoire (Enrichment Challenge Support)
Explo Studio – Critical Making Camp for Educators
This summer, Ms. Gregoire will attend Explo’s Critical Making Camp for Educators for an immersive, hands-on maker experience to further learn the skills necessary to cultivate the maker mindset in students at Heath and Pierce Schools. As an instructional coach, Ms. Gregoire will use what she’s learned to assist teachers in creating engaging lessons that utilize the schools’ maker spaces and to provide meaningful feedback for student directed projects.

Erin Yang (Literacy Specialist, Grades K-8)
Attending the Neuroscience of Reading Summer Institute
This summer, Ms. Yang will attend Learning and the Brain summer institute at MIT to learn the latest thinking on what is known about how typically developing children and children with disabilities learn to read. This work will allow her to examine how neuroscience research can be translated into educational best practices with the goal of better identifying students at risk of dyslexia and other literacy disorders.

Julie Boss (District-wide K-5 Math Specialist)
Alison Hansel (Math Specialist, Pierce School)
White Privilege Conference
At this four-day conference, Ms. Boss and Ms. Hansel will deepen their skills and gain resources for facilitating effective conversations on issues of race and white privilege within our schools.  This conference will enhance Ms. Boss’ role as a SEED leader and Ms. Hansel’s role on the Pierce Equity Team allowing them to bring their experiences back to their peers.

Kelly Slattery (Inclusion Coordinator)
Global Autism Project Volunteer Experience in China
Ms. Slattery was selected to participate in the Global Autism Project to travel to China that helps build the skills of teachers in China to work with students with autism. This two and a half week volunteer opportunity will give her increased cultural understanding of how China manages it special needs population. Ultimately, Ms. Slattery will share her experiences with other colleagues so that they can have a better understanding of how best support new students coming from China to Brookline.


Collaborative Grant for the 2020 American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference
The entire Occupational Development Department of the Public Schools of Brookline will attend the annual AOTA conference, which conveniently takes place in Boston. This is a rare opportunity for the entire department to participate in professional development that is specifically for their field, and allows the therapists to stay up to date on the latest clinical and educational practices, and evidence-based treatment and evaluation techniques.
Pierce Participants: Erin McQuaid, Priscilla Perry

Attending Seeing Stars Reading Program Workshop
A group of Special Education teachers, Learning Center teachers, and Literacy Specialists will attend a workshop to assist students with reading and spelling. The Seeing Stars Program helps students develop symbol imagery, which can help students with word recognition, reading fluency, and spelling.
Pierce Participants: Amanda Baranowsky (Pierce, Learning Center), Laura London (Pierce, Special Education)

NCTM Boston Regional Conference
A group of 42 math teachers and specialists from every Brookline school will attend the National Council of Teachers of Math Regional Conference in Boston in the fall. In addition to networking, exchanging ideas, and learning about innovations in the field, this grant will allow math teachers across the District to collaborate with the goals of making the transition from middle school math to high school math more seamless.
Pierce Participants: Jesse Carson, Alison Hansel, Joeanna McPherson, Tara Washburn, Kathleen Hubbard (K-8 Math Curriculum Coordinator), Norma Gordon (Districtwide Math Coach),

World Language Teachers Learning Together Across Levels, Locations, and Languages
Six foreign language teachers from across the District will attend a convention of the American Council of Teaching of Foreign Languages in Washington, D.C. to participate in workshops and learn best practices, current research, classroom activities, and network with peers in the field.
Participants: Heather Pinault (Lincoln, French), Leslie Prime (Pierce, Spanish), Ashley Griffin (Lincoln, Spanish), Esther Morales (CCS, Spanish), Victoria Ridge (Heath, Spanish), Alyssa Rose (Baker, Spanish)

Vice Principals ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership
The District’s Vice Principals will attend the premiere educational leadership conference in the country. This grant will allow the Vice Principals to have concentrated time to gain needed professional development, and have time to work together and collaborate in a way that they have rarely had the opportunity to do. They will attend workshops on subjects relating to wellness, student conduct, discipline, and social/emotional learning, and will bring this learning back to directly help students at Brookline schools.
Participants: Donna Finnegan (Runkle), Joshua Howe (Baker), Isabel Gunter (Lincoln), Kirtan Patel (Heath), David Youkilis (Driscoll), Saeed Ola (CCS), Steve Simolaris (CCS), Peter Cipparone (Lawrence), John Badger (Pierce), Jim Stoddard (Pierce), Jamie Yadoff (Pierce)


Ben Conlon (Grade 4)
This grant will provide the supplies necessary for Mr. Conlon’s 4th grade students to design, engineer and build a Rube Goldberg machine that will correct papers.

Leslie Fagen (Enrichment Challenge Support)
Ms. Fagen received a grant to purchase Spheros robots to teach coding and collaboration in 6th grade classrooms.

John Ferguson (Instrumental Music)
With this grant, Mr. Ferguson will commission a former Brookline and current Berkeley College of Music student to compose a musical piece for the Orchestra students to perform.


Pierce educators will also participate in the following Systemwide Grants:

Educational Excellence and Equity: Seeding, Feeding, and Cultivating Cultural Proficiency in Our Schools
With research that was conducted about course recommendations, transitions between middle and high school, and the desire to increase equitable practices in Brookline, the Office of Teaching and Learning has developed a plan to improve equitability in thought and practice in today’s classrooms. The Senior Director of Educational Equity will design and deliver a twelve-hour Cultural Proficiency course to all PSB teachers, which will be rolled out in several phases over three years, all Public Schools of Brookline principals will be trained, and in the first full year 25 educators will be trained to then teach fellow teachers. The course will address issues such as how to understand racial identity development, cultural mismatch, racial microaggressions, and how stereotype threats can impede learning.

Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) Training
The Senior Director of Educational Equity and the Director of Professional Development will attend the SEED training in Boston so that the Office of Teaching and Learning can better support the growing number of SEED professional learning groups in the schools.

Teacher Learning By Teachers for Teachers
The Brookline School District will engage teachers who have received professional development grants to brainstorm the best ways to share their ideas, gained knowledge, and best practices with one another. District administrators and teachers will work together to create an event that will highlight the positive commitment of the PSB educators, which will potentially culminate in an event that will be open to all educators in the District.

Reading Between the Lines: Equity, Reading and Early Intervention
In its desire to support the increasing number of students with learning disabilities, the District will train a team of teachers at all elementary schools in a variety of reading interventions to support struggling readers specifically with their disabilities. This will increase the number of teachers with specialized literacy knowledge, will help more students, and will allow teachers who are currently employed in the District to be the experts, rather than hire specialists from outside the District for these students.

Grants for 2018-19

For a complete list of 2018-19 Pierce School grants, click here.

Previous Grants at Pierce

Amanda Grindstaff on BEF Grant "SPARK in Action" from Brookline Education Foundation on Vimeo. 

Also, Melissa London talks about how BEF grants enhance learning.


For a complete list of Historical Grants, click here.

Awards Held By Pierce Educators

For a complete list of awards held by Pierce educators, click here.

BEF Parent Contacts at Pierce

Mark Barnett email Mark
Caroline Pierce email Caroline
Jennifer Rothstein email Jennifer
Kate Thibault email Kate