• ORAA gives small grants (of approximately $300-$400 each) to fund innovative Oyster River classroom projects that are not supported by the district budget. Each year teachers from all 4 Oyster River schools submit project applications. We fund the projects within one year through our monthly "Wine & Dine" event ticket sales and individual donations. 

  • Please consider making a (tax-deducible) donation for the mini grant project that touches your heart!  Donate to a mini grant project of your choice (5 projects listed below). When you click on the yellow "donate" button below, please select the particular project you would like to donate to from the drop down menu. 

"Women in STEM” Mini Grant to support girls at Oyster River Middle School, 2013-2014
"Women in STEM” Mini Grant to support girls at Oyster River Middle School, 2013-2014

Donate to 2019-2020 mini grant projects


Teachers: Sarah Curtin, Moharimet Tech Integrator, and Margaret Kelley, Library Media Specialist

Request: $300

Description from Teachers: The LLC (Library Learning Commons) professional learning community is comprised of K-4 classroom teachers, the tech integrator, the ESOL teacher and library media specialist. A Library Learning Commons is a place that continues to promote learning. Over the past two years this group has worked toward creating a 21st Century Library Learning Commons model. These self-contained, independent learning kits for K-4 students will be utilized in the library learning commons. These kits are an extension of 21st century learning happening throughout the Moharimet School. The independent learning kits would be rotated through a variety of topics such as classroom curriculum, school wide curriculum and yearly enrichment themes. We believe these kits will promote the LLC as a place where students can gather, explore, learn and read. This Mini Grant will fund storage units to house the kits.



Teachers: Michele Vizzo, English & Language Arts and Sue Bissell, Science

Request: $300

Description from Teachers: The sixth grade Explorer team, building upon a popular social studies World Fair/ Country Ambassador project, has designed an exciting, multidisciplinary endeavor which will allow students to engage in with sincere curiosity and purpose by creating superheroes for social and environmental justice. By developing knowledge through investigation, students will research a country, then choose an issue that is a unique, relevant concern for their country that their superhero will fight for/ against. This problem-solving project incorporates language arts to develop an origin/ backstory for their superhero while drawing on science and math skills to complete several STEM (Super Team Engineering Missions) challenges. Working in groups, through a series of hands-on investigations, students will think broadly and systematically to design solutions to the following problems:

-Build a sustainable, secret lair that reflects the landscape of their country

-Investigate the science of flight and explore whether or not their superhero should have a cape

-Collect evidence to test models and theories to design and build a vehicle prototype for their superhero

-Complete challenge missions like a drop zone challenge, bridge challenge, and natural disaster-resistant structural challenges by designing experiments and interpreting results.

- Lastly, to create a device that captures natural energy and transforms it into something useful that someone from their country could use.

The money from the grant would be used to help fund the materials needed for the 81 students to complete the hands-on activities designed to enhance student collaboration, critical thinking, inquiry, problem-solving, and flexibility.


Mini Grant #3: ORHS – Field Trip TO MURAL AT DARTMOUTH

Teachers: Marjke Yatsevich, English and Tom Hausmann, Spanish

Request: $300

Description from Teacher, Marjke Yatsevich: Each year, students in World Literature and Spanish 5 (typically between 30 - 60 students) visit Dartmouth College to visit “The Epic of American Civilization”, a 2,090 foot fresco mural completed in 1934. Though the exhibition, and volunteer docent guides do not charge students for tours of the art, the cost of transportation to Dartmouth for a day-long trip typically exceeds $300. I would like to be able to offer this opportunity to students without asking them to pay between $5-10 a piece if possible. 

The importance of this project has always been clear to me, but it’s pertinence has increased over the years as our collective discourse in the community and the state have called for greater amplification of indiginous stories and history, and the development of underrepresented voices in our curriculum. This field trip folds into a Latin American literature unit in which we study strains of Latin American revolutions that took place in the mid 20th century. We read sections of The Motorcycle Diaries, In The Time of Butterflies, and we pair poems translated from indigenous South American poets dating prior to Columbus with the panels of the mural. Students are able to notice symbols, themes, and motifs that are culturally significant while they also absorb valuable historical details that cross reference through the various stories (the mural included!) that we will work with. 


Mini Grant #4: ORHS –Debate Club

Teacher: Kara Sullivan, English and Debate Club Advisor

Request: $300  

Description from Teacher: Debate Club is a non-funded extra-curricular activity that has become increasingly popular at Oyster River High School each school year. Although this is an extra-curricular activity it is also academic in nature. There is a Debate class at ORHS and many students choose to participate in Debate Club because of the class. I, along with 4 high school colleagues from surrounding schools, formed the New Hampshire Debate League. Schools involved are Bedford High School, Phillips Exeter Academy and Portsmouth High School. Our combined schools create a schedule of debate tournaments that span from September - April. I am applying for a grant to host two debate tournaments at Oyster River High School in November of 2019, and spring of 2020. These tournaments provide students the opportunity to participate in debate each month working towards the goal of a State Tournament and a possible berth to the Coolidge Cup (a summer debate conference). Hosting a home tournament gives Oyster River Debate Club students responsibility, leadership opportunities and event planning experience. The execution of a debate tournament requires time and money. If granted the ORAA funds, our debate club could offset the cost of tournament fees, provide food and drinks for participants, and purchase trophies/plaques for eligible debaters.


Mini Grant #5: ORMS – Camp Chairs FOR OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

Teacher: Sunpreet (Sunny) Sadana, 6th Grade Science

Request: $300, Real Need: $660

Description from Teacher: I hope to have the students use the camp chairs in the classroom through students cooperatively problem solving on the ground in discussion.  "Science Talk" is a regular part of my room, and I currently have the middle school students sit on a linoleum floor on (which is not entirely possible during certain New England seasons) in a section of the classroom we can form a circle. These camp seats will allow the students to not only circle in the round of my classroom floor for regular science discourse, but also better allow them to engage in a just as powerful learning experience through having furniture that allows them to learn outside. With a Nature Sanctuary, downtown, and University so close, the science field experiences (from nature journaling, to hosting outdoor discussions, and more) could be enhanced through a versatile piece of furniture that could allow students to feel comfortable to learn. Current use will be in Science, but can also be a resource used by the team (80 kids). 


How to Apply for a Mini Grant

Oyster River teachers should submit an application for the 2019-2020 grant cycle by September 15, 2019. 

Please click on "ORAA Mini Grant Application Instructions" document below for details. 

ORAA Mini Grant Instructions (pdf)


impact & Testimonials

 Since its inception in 2010, ORAA has raised $17,975 for the Mini Grant program!  

To see a listing of all the great projects we have funded, please click on the "Total Mini Grant Awards" document below.


Read thank you notes from Mast Way students for the 2013-2014 Bird Sanctuary project we supported in 

"Bird Sanctuary Thank You Notes" document below!

Total Mini Grant Awards Document (pdf)


Bird Sanctuary Thank You Notes (pdf)