The BEF Supports District-Wide “Facing History” Initiative

The following article was featured in the Bedford Citizen on August 19, 2014:

FHAO check
Bedford Education Foundation’s Linda White and Marge Heckman presented a generous check to Superintendent Jon Sills and Assistant Superintendent Claire Jackson to support the addition of Facing History and Ourselves to Bedford’s curriculum.

The Bedford Education Foundation (BEF) recently helped kick off a new district-wide collaborative effort in the Bedford public schools to promote cultural proficiency and improve our students’ understanding and appreciation of human differences.

Linda White, outgoing BEF Co-Chair and Marge Heckman, Co-Chair presented a check for $5000 to Bedford school Superintendent Jon Sills and Assistant Superintendent Claire Jackson as the BEF’s contribution toward the new partnership just established between the Bedford Public Schools and Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO).

FHAO is an international organization with roots in Brookline, MA whose mission is “to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.”

School administration initially consulted with FHAO after several incidents that occurred in the schools during the last school year. Those incidents and an ongoing reevaluation of the social studies curriculum at both the Middle and High Schools have inspired the motivation to help our students better understand the culture of the larger community and the long history of Bedford’s openness and diversity. To that end, the district will partner with FHAO to provide teacher and student resources for a new 8th Grade Social Studies curriculum, direct training of teachers involved, as well as access to all of Facing History’s resources including curriculum development support, speakers and in-service training for grades K-12. While the initial focus is on getting the 8th Grade curriculum up and running for this fall, there will also be ongoing efforts taking place at each of the schools to incorporate aspects of the FHAO curriculum into existing programs and continue to review and revise curricula as needed.

If residents would like to help

The total cost for this program is approximately $35,000. Given that this partnership agreement occurred after the normal budget cycle, the current school budget is not able to provide full funding. The district will make every effort to tweak out funding from the current budget as a result of staffing changes. Superintendent Sills will also be reaching out to the community for additional fundraising to be directed specifically toward the cost of FHAO. The BEF has agreed to serve as the conduit for these funds. Anyone wishing to make donations toward the cost of the FHAO initiative can make checks payable to: Bedford Education Foundation, indicating in the memo line that the funds are to be directed to FHAO. Please mail checks to: Bedford Education Foundation, 97 McMahon Road, Bedford, MA 01730.

About Bedford Education Foundation

The mission of the BEF is to promote and enhance classroom innovation and creativity through direct grants to individual classroom teachers and school administrators. Since 2008, the BEF has awarded a total of $130,977 in grants across all Bedford schools. A complete list of grants awarded is available at the BEF website:

The BEF board would like to thank Linda White for her tireless dedication and countless hours of service to the organization since 2008. Linda has been an active member of the Bedford schools community for many years. Her willingness to try new things and show up anywhere and anytime help was needed are legendary! She has recently stepped down from her co-chair position and we all wish her the best.