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For Immediate Release

Conservatory Lab Charter School Announces Environmental Science Education Funding from Cedar Tree Foundation
Funding will support programs, professional development, and dissemination

Dorchester, MA— October 16, 2018 — Conservatory Lab Charter School has received a three-year grant of $480,000 from the Cedar Tree Foundation to support environmental education in preschool through eighth grades. This grant supports professional development, investments in new curriculum and equipment, programs such as community environmental mapping, school gardens, and dissemination. This grant will bolster Conservatory Lab’s commitment to interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). “We are thrilled by Cedar Tree’s generous donation to support the expansion of our science expeditions that allow students to immerse themselves in science content, make connections to the rich opportunities in our local environment, and learn through service learning projects to make a difference in our community,” said Principal Nicole Mack.

Conservatory Lab student takes a water sample at Savin Hill Cove during environmental science fieldwork in October 2018

The project will culminate in a conference during the 2020-2021 school year to share Conservatory Lab’s environmental science curriculum and interdisciplinary projects. With the support of nonprofit partner Center for Artistry and Scholarship (CAS), Conservatory Lab will offer this conference to elementary and middle school educators throughout greater Boston to share insight into environmental education best practices, including youth participatory research that will be shared in a student symposium. “We’re so grateful to the Cedar Tree Foundation for both supporting STEAM and in-depth environmental education at Conservatory Lab, and for helping us to share what we’ve learned to amplify the work throughout the region,” said Linda Nathan, CAS Executive Director.

In October 2018, Conservatory Lab students visit Savin Hill Cove using fieldwork to practice environmental science.

Sophia Kolehmainen, Executive Director of the Cedar Tree Foundation, shared her excitement about the work that the grant makes possible, noting, “The Cedar Tree Foundation is thrilled to support the science program at The Conservatory Lab Charter School. Our hope is that our grant provides excellence in science education to the world’s future leaders and citizens who will be most charged with addressing compelling environmental issues.”

About the Cedar Tree Foundation

The Cedar Tree Foundation is a United States-focused family foundation created in the mid-1990s by the late pediatrician and entrepreneur, Dr. David H. Smith. Dr. Smith believed in the power of individuals and organizations to make significant changes in the world and Cedar Tree’s grantmaking continues to reflect that belief. The Cedar Tree Foundation supports change through two programs: The David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program and The Cedar Tree Foundation Grant Program.

About the Conservatory Lab Charter School

Founded in 1999, the Conservatory Lab Charter School aims to empower a diverse range of children as scholars, artists, and leaders through unique and rigorous academic and music education. The school also works to enrich the community in Dorchester and the greater Boston area through performance, service, and education. Conservatory Lab holds the distinction of being the first public school in the United States to adopt the ensemble-focused music program El Sistema into its school day, providing every student with daily music instruction.


For more information, please contact:
Jill Davidson

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Other News:

Dorchester’s Conservatory Lab is honored with SupportMusic Merit Award 2018
Conservatory Lab was one of 135 individual schools nationwide to receive the SupportMusic Merit Award from the NAMM Foundation.

New York City’s First Orchestra Music Charter School to Open in 2017
David Gracia, former Conservatory Lab employee, opens a charter in New York inspired by our school.

MassDevelopment Bond Helps Conservatory Lab Move to Dorchester
Thanks to a grant from MassDevelopment, we were able to move to our lower school.

Preserving History
Valencia Patilla’s 8th grade class was featured on Channel 5 in a segment about memorializing Frederick Douglass in Roxbury.

Violinist With One Hand Inspires Young People
Dudamel Orchestra Director Adrian Anantawan was featured in the Boston Globe.

Anantawan Coming to Conservatory Lab
Wicked Local Reported on Maestro Anantawan’s arrival at Conservatory Lab.

Sing Me the Learning
Meg Campbell of the Huffington Post covered the second grade class music video, “Snakes are Born This Way”.

From The Top, Episode 240
Head of School Diana Lam was interviewed on National Public Radio’s From The Top, discussing El Sistema at Conservatory Lab.

From The Top, Episode 240
Head of School Diana Lam was interviewed on National Public Radio’s From The Top, discussing El Sistema at Conservatory Lab.

Young Musicians from Somerville Perform in ‘El Sistema in the Ville’
The Somerville Journal reported on a joint concert between Somerville and Conservatory Lab Students to promote a new El Sistema program.

Conservatory Lab Students Help Bring El Sistema to Somerville
The Allston-Brighton Tab also covered the story.

El Sistema taps the power of classical music to help US children flourish—The Christian Science Monitor, Jan 7, 2011
The Christian Science Monitor visited the school in December and ran a story on January 10, 2011.

Dudamel, El Sistema at The Conservatory Lab—The Tavis Smiley Show, Dec 29, 2010
PBS’s Tavis Smiley visited the school and observed the students working in El Sistema in October.  The Tavis Smiley Reports ran an episode entitled: “Dudamel:  Conducting a Life”, which aired nationally on December 29th.  “What happens when you get children excited about music at an early age? They think learning and playing music is fun.”

Diana Lam guest column: Charter schools offer a lot for students—Allston-Brighton Tab, Dec 20, 2010

The Allston-Brighton Tab published Diana Lam’s OpEd “Charter schools offer a lot for students” on December 10, 2010.

Crescendo in Brighton—The Boston Globe, Dec 19, 2010
The Boston Globe’s Jeremy Eichler visited the school several times, along with a photographer.  He wrote a follow-up story to his El Sistema series from over the summer focused solely on Conservatory Lab.  The article entitled Crescendo in Brighton ran Sunday, December 19th.

There is Magic in the Music—The Boston Globe, Jul 11, 2010
They call it El Sistema, a movement transforming the lives of Venezuelan children through performance. Now, a Boston-based group plans a US encore

‘You’re part of something bigger’—The Boston Globe, Jul 18, 2010
Inspired by a Venezuelan music program, two prepare to bring its benefits to Boston kids

‘Conservatory Lab Charter School students share their thoughts
Conservatory Lab Charter School students and parents share their thoughts about what the school and a music-based curriculum mean to them, their education, and their hopes for the school’s future.  A 5-minute video has been created and posted up on Youtube.  It’s worth watching for several truly touching and powerful moments.