Getting students outside to learn during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a priority for educators, but it is also a challenge for those working in during a New England winter. A grant provided by the Dedham Savings Community Foundation is making it a little easier for teachers and students at Westwood’s Martha Jones Elementary School. The foundation provided 300 stadium-style chairs to the school – enough for each student to have their own seat.
“We had been having our students bring in a beach towel to take outside and sit on every day,” said Martha Jones Elementary School Principal Donna Tobin. “But when the ground is wet or cold, it’s hard for them to be outside working or eating.”
Tobin says the foundation, which is an offshoot of Dedham Savings, has been a generous funder of the school. “This is just one more way they’re supporting us during the very unique challenges we’re facing keeping students in school during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tobin.
“Like a lot of community banks, it’s important we give back to our community,” said Mark Ingalls, Dedham Savings' CFO and COO. “We know that during the pandemic there are a lot of organizations that are struggling, and we know how tough this has been on kids, parents, teachers and administrators. When the school came to us with this grant proposal, we knew it was a creative way to support those students.”
The stadium chairs grant is valued at $4,200.
“The students really seem to be enjoying the added time the chairs are allowing them to be outside during the school day,” said Tobin. “This grant has particular meaning during these times when it’s critical our students be in-person and learning with their peers when possible.”