news and events Archives - Red Hook Education Foundation

Creative Play at the New Mill Road Outdoor Stage

The Red Hook Education Foundation provided a $12,000 grant toward the construction of an outdoor stage and classroom at Mill Road School. And now the “playground stage” is up and in full use!

Working from the belief that children benefit from creative play, the stage platform invites students to collaborate on improvised skits, dances and other impromptu performances. Within this safe, familiar environment, they can hone performance and public speaking skills. Tiered seating opposite the stage makes performances accessible to all members of the school community.

In addition, the stage is also an “outdoor classroom” for teachers to use when they wish to bring students outside for a particular lesson, or to offer an alternative-learning environment. The space is ideal for outdoor presentations such as those involving animals, drumming or “messy” activities that don’t lend themselves to traditional classrooms.

The stage is located against the tree line separating the playgrounds from the soccer fields behind the school, where the picnic tables are located. A natural arc created by a few birch trees forms the backdrop of the stage.

This project was a true community effort, made possible by the inspiration, drive, sponsorship, expertise, time and resource of the MRS PTA,  Koerner Construction, Kristina Dousharm Architecture, Cindy Kubik and the MRS principals!

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.

RAMPing Up Music in Red Hook

RHEF is pleased to partner with the Red Hook Association of Music Parents (RAMP) to provide financial support and assistance for music department events in Red Hook schools. RHEF provided seed funding in the amount of $1,450 to support the student musicians, teachers, staff, and volunteers who bring music to Red Hook. Funding provided meals for the 50 plus volunteers and staff that helped run the 2017 NYSSMA Solo Festival, held at Red Hook High School on March 28 and 29th. Funding will also provide meals for the 119 RHHS band and chorus members who rehearse for long hours at Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts prior to their Spring Concert on May 19th, as well as providing financial support for an end of year picnic for the hard working musicians.

In addition to supporting the RHCSD music faculty, RAMP is working to engage parents in their children’s music education, and both raise the profile and increase accessibility of music education in the district and the community. RHEF is pleased to partner with RAMP and enhance Red Hook’s excellent music programs throughout the district.


RHEF’s Continued Support of Red Hook’s Robotics Team

Having proven themselves in just a few short years to be worthy of the challenge, the Roboraiders competed against almost 130 teams from more than 10 countries in St. Louis from April 26-29, 2017 at the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship.

In order to make the trip, they needed to raise the money to cover the costs for the trip.  And the Red Hook community stepped up to help them achieve their target of $15,000:

  • RHEF provided a grant of $2,800 to support the team.
  • The Board of Education paid for the team’s $1,000 registration fee for the Championship.
  • Parents, grandparents, friends, local businesses and others made contributions through the Roboraider’s gofundme page.

RHEF has supported the High School Robotics Club early in its formation:

  • In 2012 with funding from the Red Hook Education Foundation and other organizations, the high school Robotics Team  was started and joined the FIRST Tech Challenge Hudson Valley.  The team designed, built, programmed and tested several successful robots, while learning the programming language RobotC and learning basic mechanical engineering techniques for robot design and construction.
  • In 2013, a $1000 mini grant award given by the RHEF was used to purchase additional robotic supplies and equipment and to help fund registration fees for entering competitions.
  • In 2015, RHEF funded the Red Hook Robotics Team with a $1,000 grant to invest in an Android-based technology platform. The new technology provides more real world skills and experience than the current Lego-based platform.

We see the Roboraiders as an example of one of the many programs that makes Red Hook Schools outstanding. We were proud to continue as a leading supporter of the Roboraiders as they took their place at this celebration of excellence — they ranked 30th out of 64 teams from around the world in their division and won the Judges Award (Higher Priorities Award).

Join us in congratulating the Roboraiders for their success at the World Championships — and consider supporting the team with a donation to help their ongoing efforts.

Life, Learning & Language Program

RHEF supported a recent grant request for $1,000 for Life, Learning & Language (LLL), an after school program at Mill Road Elementary School in coordination with Culture Connect. The program brings Bard College and High School students to the elementary school to mentor and work with children on their English language and other academic and social skills, and to help them adapt to and succeed in school. The program began in September 2016 and currently works with approximately twenty students.

New Middle School Science Fair

RHEF is proud to support the new school-wide and multi-school science fair for Linden Avenue Middle School students that encourages scientific discovery and investigation. Students will experiment in an area of science and present their findings to professionals in the community. In the past, students have attended the Science Fair at Bard College the Dutchess Regional Science Fair.

Our Generous Community Gives Back Through the Student in Need Initiative

Thanks and giving…these two words sum up what we feel and believe about you, our generous community, for giving the gift of a Thanksgiving meal to 36 local families.

With your help, the Red Hook Education Foundation’s Student in Need Fund  purchased Hannaford gift cards for 36 families in the Red Hook School District to supplement food backpacks that do not go home with students during holiday periods. Everyone deserves this simple act of sharing the bounty of our community and we are deeply grateful to each of you for helping to make this Thanksgiving a tribute to thanks and giving.

The Student in Need Fund supports programs throughout the year that align with RHEF’s mission of equity for all students, regardless of their ability to pay. Your donation has provided, 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.

As the holiday season approaches, 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 Fund.


On the Cutting Edge with Laser

You’ve heard of educational programs that are on the cutting edge of innovation? The Red Hook Technology Department is there in a literal and very practical way. Red Hook High School is adding the subject of laser cutting and engraver technology to multiple classes in their curriculum. Students who sign up for technology or art classes, such as sculpture or design, will have access to this “cutting edge” equipment purchased through a grant from RHEF. With training, the equipment will also be available to clubs and any other district department. Students who use the equipment will discover how to turn their computer-generated concepts into working prototypes in ways that match the needs of industry today.

Red Hook Student Councils Host Leadership Conference

The combined student councils of Linden Avenue Middle School and Red Hook High School have been awarded a grant to host a leadership conference for students from Westchester, Ulster, Putnam and Dutchess counties. The grant will support the development of the conference and allow students from fifth through eighth grades to attend two workshops presented by local high school student council members and to hear from a professional motivational speaker. The high school students presenting the workshops will sharpen their leadership skills by planning and presenting the workshops.

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.