Eleanor, Author at Red Hook Education Foundation

Please Give to the Student-In-Need Initiative

The Student-in-Need Initiative supports programs throughout the year that align with RHEF’s mission of equity for all students, regardless of their ability to pay. Donations provide, among other items, clothing, eye glasses, field trip funds, exam fees, and school supplies for Red Hook students.  These are just a few of the many ways your contribution makes a difference for Red Hook kids. Please join RHEF as we work together to meet the needs of students and families at home and in school by making a gift to the Student in Need Initiative.


We’ve partnered with PayPal to accept credit card donations to make supporting RHEF easy: click on the button above to donate now. Or you can simply mail a check payable to the RHEF at PO Box 2, Red Hook, NY, 12571.


In the past, RHEF has encouraged contributions to our Student in Need Fund initiative by honoring individual teachers and staff members with each donation. Feel free to send us a note along with your PayPal donation mentioning who you’re honoring with your gift. Here is just some of the feedback from Red Hook faculty and staff:

  • “What an honor! This is welcome news indeed. Just a few weeks ago I brought to the attention of our team a child in need of eyeglasses.” (middle school teacher)
  • “Wow. That is awesome. What a wonderful way to start the holiday season.” (high school teacher)
  • “Thank you for letting us know! This is a great gift.” (middle school teaching team)
  • “How wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I do have a student in mind that could use some clothing this winter. I will reach out to Mr. Boyd.” (Mill Road teacher)
  • “Thank you so much!!! This certainly brightened my day 😉 I already know which student in need I would like to help out!!! Happy Holidays to you and your family!!!” (middle school guidance counselor)

RHCSD Receives $3.5 Million Towards an Auditorium

Announcement Made at Red Hook Education Foundation Annual Gala

Red Hook, NY –On Friday, June 23rd, Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston) announced that $3.5 million dollars in state funding was made available to the Red Hook Central School District for construction of a new auditorium at the High School. Funds were secured through a 3 million dollar commitment from Speaker Carl Heastie and a $500,000 grant through Assemblyman Cahill.  The grant was announced at the Red Hook Education Foundation’s annual gala at the Bard SummerScape Spiegeltent.  This annual event raises money for educational opportunities in the school system and is also a champion for the development of a new auditorium.

“For far too long the community has been underserved by the lack of an auditorium to gather for performances, community meetings, as well as the need for a large student space.  After speaking with leaders in the community it became apparent that this was a priority for the Town.  Residents recognize the importance of this project but it is understandably difficult to place the financial burden totally on the local taxpayers.  With this additional state assistance the project is now in a place where voters can be presented with a reasonable bond vote which would serve the surrounding areas for years to come.  I want to thank Speaker Heastie who displayed a deep interest in the issue when first presented and without whose leadership this investment would not be possible.  Further thanks go to our partners in the school system and local advocates who have shepherded the project through its planning phase and will ultimately be responsible for its development,” said Cahill.

“I get chills thinking about the thousands of students who will be positively impacted by the opportunity to perform in a real performance space and not a gymnasium.  This grant, coupled with a modest bond referendum, will make it possible to immediately improve the existing programs and begin to imagine other twenty-first century programmatic possibilities.  I also believe that a large assembly space of this nature can be a boost to our local economy as we think about hosting more regional events.  On behalf of the current and future students of the Red Hook Central School District, I want to thank Speaker Heastie and Assemblyman Cahill for recognizing this glaring need,” said Red Hook Schools Superintendent Paul Finch.

“The board of the Red Hook Education Foundation has been advocating for an auditorium over the last few years and we are so pleased that Assemblyman Cahill understands the needs of our community. His leadership and commitment to equitable access to quality education is inspiring. Red Hook students will benefit in untold ways from having a hall for the school community,” said Eleanor Davis, Red Hook Education Foundation President.

“With such great champions in the community and the school system, I’m hopeful that that this project will soon become a reality,” concluded Cahill.

The Red Hook Education Foundation’s 7th annual gala at the Bard SummerScape Speigeltent was attended by over 300 community members and raised over $70,000 to benefit the auditorium project. Run by a volunteer board, the Red Hook Education Foundation is a 501c3, independently operated public charity.

For more information about the auditorium click here.

3D Printing in Red Hook Schools

3D printing technology is taking off in Red Hook schools!

With support from our generous donors, RHEF recently funded the purchase of 3-D printers for Red Hook High School and Linden Avenue Middle School, including the  purchase of a 3D printer for the high school library with a $1,000 mini-grant to “Red Hook Makes in 3D,” part of the “Red Hook Makes” program, a collaboration between Red Hook Central School District, Red Hook Public Library and Bard College to bring Maker programs to Red Hook community members, with an initial focus on children in grades 3–12.

Maker programs provide hands-on learning opportunities for community members to build, design, tinker, and play with an idea, including training and access to a variety of high tech and low tech tools, equipment, and supplies. “Students learn how to be ‘makers,'” according to RHHS Technology teacher Tim Fitzmaurice. “Having a 3D printer in a school is like having an engineering education in a box. Students learn the value of innovation and iteration.”

3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model using a large variety of materials. It’s one of the fastest growing methods of manufacturing in the world today, and Red Hook students now have the opportunity to experience this process firsthand. 3D printers make it easy for teachers to seize the interest of their students and enhances hands-on learning by doing. It brings objects out of the computer screen and into the hands of students for inspection and analysis.

High School student Jake Hrycun recently designed an air intake connector for his car engine using Inventor software, printed it on the Makerbot 3D printer, and successfully installed it in the engine.

“The 3D printers have created a surge of excitement with our tech students and is spreading throughout the high school,” says Technology Education Instructor Tim Fitzmaurice. “Students are starting to solve their own design problems by drawing parts for projects using Inventor software. Now they can look at the design as a 3D rendering and can actually create a model they can hold in their hands to analyze. We have been showing it off during our morning television broadcast to the rest of the school and have already seen an increase in enrollment in our design classes for next year.”

Based on a survey distributed to all RHHS students, 337 students stated that they were interested in using a 3D printer. Access to 3D modeling software and printing can spark further interest in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) fields for students that might not ordinarily pursue that path. Students from Mr. Fitzmaurice’s Engineering classes were asked to help teach their peers. Additional programs will be made available by Red Hook Makes instructors.

The goal of “Red Hook Makes in 3D” is for students to demonstrate comfort using 3D modeling software and 3D printing. After students complete a 3D printer certification program, offered during lunch periods and after school, they will be able to use the printer in the library to innovate. The public library and Bard College are providing staff and students to co-teach lessons on various maker topics, such as 3-D modeling and printing, during and after school at the High School. The 3D printer is also be available for teachers to use with their classes.

At the high school, every technology-based class now has experience using the printers. At the middle school, five technology education classes will explore 3D printing from the 6th to 8th grades. School faculty fully anticipate that cross-disciplinary collaborations will begin to emerge as a result of this new technology (e.g., with art, geometry, and chemistry.) When the worldwide education experts from the New Media Consortium Horizon Project identified technologies that were expected to have a major impact on STEM+ education in the next several years, 3D printing was considered one of the most important technologies.

Classes include (but not be limited to): Principles of Engineering, CAD, Technical Drawing, Production Systems, Transportation Systems, Residential Structures, Architectural Drawing, and Aerospace Design. At the middle school, five technology education classes will explore 3D printing from the 6th to 8th grades. School faculty fully anticipate that cross-disciplinary collaborations will begin to emerge as a result of this new technology (e.g., with art, geometry, and chemistry). There may also be opportunities to support extra-curricular activities like the Robotics Club.

In addition, RHEF funded the cost for district technology teachers to travel to a one-day 3D printer conference in New York City.

RHEF Provides Funds for New Musical Instruments

The foundation has approved a mini-grant of $1,100 for the purchase of new musical instruments for elementary school students whose families cannot afford rental costs.

The educational advantages of learning to play a musical instrument at an early age — developing creativity and an appreciation of the arts — are well-known. Because these purchases will be high-quality instruments, their value to the district will continue through the years, ultimately saving money when compared to damaged or inferior quality instruments.

RHEF Funds New After-School Knitting Program

Knitting has been called “the new yoga,” though it’s an ancient skill that’s now available through a new after-school program funded by the RHEF. “LAMS Knit” is aimed at providing middle and high school students with a relaxing way to develop focus and maintain clarity. Knitting also can allow students a creative outlet that can culminate in an appreciation for design and color, not to mention the chance to create wearable items that a student can be proud of.

Mentoring Clubs Awarded RHEF Mini-Grants

The RHEF has awarded a $1,000 mini-grant to the Linden Avenue Middle School’s Mentoring Club and a $700 mini-grant to the high school’s Mentoring Club. The aims of both groups are identical: to help develop a genuine, caring connection between at-risk students and a group of adult volunteers — teachers, staff and administrators — from the district. And in that way, to show students they are accepted and valued.

Though both groups are identified as “clubs,” a more accurate description would be “programs.” Though, like clubs, they are voluntary, they are not driven by a student’s interests so much as by his or her needs. Students are selected based on the risk factors in their lives and involved in creative activities that allow them to bond with the adult volunteers through activities such as community breakfasts and creating holiday crafts.

Getting a “Lego” up on Mathematics

To many of us, math is an abstract and mysterious discipline. The decision to fund a $741 mini-grant request that will allow elementary school students to have an actual hands-on, engaging math experience was as simple as pi. This grant will allow students from third through fifth grades to explore the world of math through the use of Legos.

Legos will help teachers introduce students to such concepts as problem solving, multiplication, geometry, fractions and area and perimeter by building (sic) their spatial and proportional awareness. Those familiar Lego bricks will help students understand the why and the how of mathematics by making basic concepts tangible. The grant will enable math teachers to construct a “Lego Wall” where elementary school students will see how learning — and understanding — math can be fun.

Foundation Helps Support Anti-Bullying Effort

The foundation has given Linden Avenue Middle School a $700 mini-grant to help promote the school’s efforts to stop bullying. The LAMS ACT PAC has already had surprising success in helping to pass the statewide Dignity for All Students Act.

The club’s aim is the same as in the past: to work with students, teachers, administrators and parents to create a bully-free environment by educating students and giving them strategies to deal with the problem.

The grant will be used to help the club to get its message out earlier than in the past. Until now, efforts at the beginning of each school calendar year have been delayed while students raised money through fund-raisers.

RHEF Supports Students Attending Leadership Conferences

RHEF continues to support student participation in the New York State Council on Leadership and Student Activities (NYS CLSA), a conference fostering leadership skills among both high school and middle school students throughout New York State. The goal of the conference is to inspire participants to learn and take home ideas to make a difference in their school and in the lives of their peers and community members. Red Hook students lead and attend workshops at the conference and bring important skills and ideas for community service back to the Red Hook school community, energizing organizations throughout the middle and high schools.

In 2014, twenty students from Linden Avenue Middle School and Red Hook High School, along with their advisors, attended the Red Carpet of Leadership Conference in Albany (November 23-25) with support from RHEF.

Sponsored by the New York State Council on Leadership and Student Activities (NYS CLSA), the conference fosters leadership skills among both high school and middle school students throughout New York State. The goal of the conference is to inspire participants to learn and take home ideas to make a difference in their school and in the lives of their peers and community members. During the conference students exchanged ideas, learned about different programs that are used by other student leaders throughout the state, and had the opportunity to hear internationally known motivational speakers.

LAMS student Jennifer Rowland is a member of the statewide student board and LAMS Student Council Advisor, Kim Goldhirsch, serves on the statewide Executive Board. In 2013, Ms. Goldhirsch was recognized the New York State Middle Level Advisor of the Year.

Announcing The Professor Jacob Grossberg Studio Art Award

Beloved Bard Professor Jacob Grossberg, who worked at the college from 1969 through 1998, recently passed away and his wife, Di Baldwin has decided to honor his memory with two awards – one for a graduating Bard student and another for a deserving Red Hook High School senior who will be entering an institution of higher learning to study studio arts. “Jake” adored working with high school students and up until the time of his death was actively mentoring and helping them develop portfolios for college applications. In his memory, Di Baldwin, decided to donate $5,000 to the Red Hook Education Foundation to create The Professor Jacob Grossberg Studio Art Award. Every year for at least the next 10 years, the faculty of the Red Hook High School art department will nominate one student to receive a $500 award.

It is the hope of Di Baldwin that other people who knew Jake will also contribute to this fund so that the award can continue to be awarded beyond the initial ten year period. If anyone would like to help support the The Professor Jacob Grossberg Studio Art Award, please contact RHEF board member Amy Husten at Amy.Husten@redhookeducationfoundation.com