East Brunswick High School – We the People: The Citizens and the Constitution National Competition
Funds from this grant will be used to help pay for expenses that will be incurred in order for students of the AP IPLE program to attend the National Competition in April. The commitment and significant performance of the students will allow the team to represent the State of New Jersey for the 31st time in the 32 years of the Competition’s existence.
First Lady of the Foundation/Northfield Bank Foundation Grant
Lawrence Brook Elementary School – LB: Where Your Journey Begins…in VR!
Aanika Boylan and Joann Peterson
As technology advances, so do the opportunities made available to students to explore the world around them. Students need to be Future Ready, comfortable and successful in virtual reality environments. This grant will enable Virtual Reality viewer kits to be purchased and housed in the Media Center at Lawrence Brook for all grade levels to use. Google Expeditions, a Virtual Reality library of field trips will bring students around the world and underwater to learn science, math, geography, engineering and history, among other subjects. Using this interactive multimedia technology not only augments classroom lessons and improves student engagement, but it also gives students a multi-sensory, hands-on experience with many subjects that are traditionally discussed in abstract terms.
First Lady of the Foundation Grants
Central Elementary School – Flexible Seating, Flexible Learning
Amanda Alessandro and Danielle Dininno
As to the relationship between workplace and creativity, Teresa Amabile, a business administration professor at Harvard Business School and the co-author of The Progress Principle, states that “there’s some evidence that great physical space enhances creativity,” when referring to the Google Headquarters in California. Funds from this grant will purchase flexible seating furniture for an entire grade level at Central Elementary School. The goal at Central is for every child to reach his or her personal academic goals while growing socially and taking responsibility for their learning. Each student learns best in their own unique environment, whether that be laying on the floor on a carpet square, fidgeting and learning on a wobble stool, or standing up while working on a stand-up desk. Teachers’ aim is to empower their students to recognize their strengths and recognize their goals. With this grant, students will learn to work as a team and respect each other and set a positive climate in the classroom to ensure that everyone is working to their potential, in the best environment for them.
Warnsdorfer Elementary School – Music Technology with Brent Daniels
With this grant, award-winning music producer, composer, sound designer, songwriter and singer Brent Daniels will present an assembly and workshops to third through fifth grade students at Warnsdorfer. Students will learn how music is composed in today’s entertainment industry. They will also create a unique song composition just like the professionals. This project will enhance the curriculum as it will provide students with experiences that they would not typically have within their music and technology classes. Much of the music curriculum involves composing and creating. While they participate in many types of these activities in their general music classes, students have the potential to develop an entirely new skill set to apply to the music and technology they already experience on a daily basis. By conducting smaller-scale classroom formats, more students will have a chance to participate in the process that Brent demonstrates, as opposed to a few select volunteers within his full-scale school assembly.
Memorial Elementary School – A Table to Learn With
Whiteboard tables will be used every day throughout the school year in several classrooms as a means to support communication, discussion and inclusivity while learning. The goal of this grant is to provide a differentiated form of instruction that will engage and motivate students during their learning. Using whiteboards in the classroom promotes collaboration between students. Writing in a book, or on a device, can be a very solitary learning experience. Having students sit around a whiteboard table generating and sharing ideas encourages group and partner participation. A Whiteboard table is a simple learning tool that immediately differentiates instruction, supports student engagement, and allows for a collaborative student learning environment.
Lawrence Brook Elementary School – Engaged in Color
Meredith Ascher, Diana Delleani, Joann Peterson and Karen Suleski
With this grant, three Whiteboard kidney tables will be purchased for the second grade at Lawrence Brook Elementary School. A color, dry erase, marker board table promotes mental and physical engagement in the classroom. It offers a rainbow of color opportunities that can allow the teacher to separate information and make it easier for students to understand. During small group instruction, the table serves as a learning tool where the teacher will model how to solve problems, decode words during reading, and expand and combine sentences during writing. By using the table top to show work, the classroom teacher can assess student understanding immediately and reteach or challenge the student as necessary.
East Brunswick High School – Using Write on Tables to Enhance Learning
Pinnacle shaped write on desks will be utilized by the tenth thru twelfth grade Special Education Chemistry classes at the High School. Instead of being told not to write on their desks, students will actually be encouraged to do so. In turn, they will have the opportunity to practice first, before committing to an answer. As the teacher walks around the room, she will be able to make quick assessments of a student’s understanding of the lesson. During class discussion, students would be encouraged to write down thoughts, answers to questions or to solve a problem on their desktop. Removing the need to get whiteboards and put them away for each use would help increase instructional time during the class period. These desks will also help students improve their skills in planning a laboratory activity, collecting data and analyzing the data collected. Honing skills such as these require students to also develop their ability to work with others, become team players who see the value in the work that others do and to help those who are struggling. From the day-to-day learning, to collaboration, to assessment, tables like these would truly help students with the learning process.
Lawrence Brook – Recess for All: Creating Recess Play Options that are Inclusive to all Lawrence Brook Elementary Students
JoAnn Peterson, Melissa Shelcusky, Rachel Weitzenkorn
While recess is often identified by students as one of the most exciting parts of their day, this unstructured time can cause some students to struggle with maintaining positive behaviors. During the 2017-2018 academic year, certificated staff members, with lunch aide support, piloted a program to add more structure during recess. Teachers volunteered to teach playground games in which every student was welcome to participate. As a result, the amount of recess behavior-related incidents began to decrease. While many students eagerly looked forward to playing team games, there were also lots of students who shared that they would prefer activities such as board games, arts and crafts, and small group card games that are more social in nature. During classroom meetings, staff members collected information from students regarding which activities they would like to have available at recess in addition to the sports-related activities. The activities that students requested will be purchased with grant funds, making it possible for an already successful recess program to expand and further enhance Lawrence Brook’s school climate.
Lawrence Brook – Sense of Peace at Lawrence Brook
This grant will allow for the creation of a sensory garden by Lawrence Brook’s garden club. Club participants will research and choose plants that will entice the senses; plants and other accessories will be chosen based on their textures, colors, sounds, and aromas. They will also maintain the space and educate the school community as to the various plants and how students might interact with them through student-made signs that will be posted in the garden. In researching, designing, creating, and maintaining the garden, club members will be utilizing math, science, and language arts skills. Garden clubbers will design a garden that is both inside and outside, thus providing year-round opportunities for students who will benefit from the calming sights, sounds, and smells. In health, students learn that when they have feelings of anxiety or stress to find an outlet to relax and calm down. This grant will enrich the learning lives and the educational environment for everyone in the Lawrence Brook community.
Memorial - Extended Learning Success
Stefani Poedubicky, Nicole Pelligrino, Kindergarten/Grade 1/Grade 2 Teachers
Upon the examination of assessment data, Memorial’s Data Team identified specific skills as targeted areas of need for students in grades K-2. The Team then pinpointed a weekly block of time for each class that could be used as an intervention period. During this time classroom teachers, with support from specialists and support staff, provide targeted academic support to struggling students and challenge time for students ready to push ahead. Grant funds will be used to purchase additional instructional materials to address students’ strengths and weaknesses during the weekly intervention periods in every classroom in grades K-2.
Mario "Chic" DeCarolis Memorial Music Grant
East Brunswick Performing Arts Department – DeCarolis Night of Jazz
On April 2, 2019, East Brunswick Schools will present its “Night of Jazz” featuring the Summer Swing Orchestra. The most important thing students can do to improve their instrumental performance skills is to listen to the best artists and emulate their style and technique. They then creatively take ownership and synthesize these practices into their own. First, the group will discuss jazz improvisation and interpretation with jazz band students from each secondary school. This will be followed by an evening concert at the Jo Ann Magistro Performing Arts Center that will feature this ensemble with secondary jazz bands performing. Tickets to the evening performance will be free of charge to all EBHS, CJHS and HMS jazz band members.
The Summer String Orchestra was founded by John Nobile, who played trombone in the group from its inception until he retired in 2016. Originally, the group exclusively played music from the swing era of the 1930s and 1940s, featuring arrangements played by Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, and many more. Over the years, they have expanded their musical selections to include hundreds of additional songs from many different styles, including traditional and modern jazz, rock, and popular music from all decades from the 1930s through today
East Brunswick High School - TEDx East Brunswick High School Youth Event
Bobbi Tu and Cindy Collins
In partnership with the East Brunswick Technical Education Community Service Club (EBTECS), funds from this grant will be used to host the TEDx Youth Event. The theme of this year’s event will be Limitless. According to TED, “the TEDx experience is about bringing big ideas to your local community to spark connection and deep conversation.” By exposing EBHS students to thought-provoking talks on a wide range of subjects, from technology to art, the event will promote deeper thinking about these topics, and open up new channels of communication in the EBHS community.
Central Elementary School - Here is the News: We Need the Support of Chromebooks!
In partnership with Donorschoose.org, Chromebooks, along with a storage cart, will be purchased for the third grade classrooms at Central School. The goal of the grant is to provide more cross-curricular opportunities to enrich students with nonfiction and current event texts. Chromebooks will give students the ability to utilize the school’s subscription to Newsela in their classroom, making it more accessible.
Chittick - Family Stem Night
Sarita Robertson and Elaine Haney
Students learn best through hands-on, interactive learning experiences that are fun, engaging, and relatable. This grant will challenge students to explore the world around them and allow them to see that STEM opportunities are everywhere. The activities chosen for this special family event will encourage a curiosity about how things work, as well as promote the concept of STEM. By having parents participate in these learning opportunities along with their children, students will potentially have increased occasions to build on their STEM knowledge outside of school.
Irwin – Rockin’ Through Third Grade
Mary Blaszka, Andrew Chup, Haley Elman, Vanessa Silvia, Sarah Yoffredo, Lyndsay Rowe
Teachers use many strategies to help students focus when learning; fidget objects, noise-canceling headphones, and brain breaks (full body movement activities that help students refocus) have been utilized with much success. Similarly, providing students with a variety of seating options offers them a choice while helping them with personal space boundaries, as well as giving support for core muscle strengthening. Research shows that allowing students with attention issues to move more makes them more ready to learn. A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology states that “The foot-tapping, leg-swinging and chair-scooting movements of children with attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder are vital to how they remember information and work out complex cognitive tasks.” The ten Zuma Rockers that will be purchased with grant funds will add to the strategies and flexible seating options available to students in Irwin’s third grade classrooms.
Bowne-Munro – Bowne-Munro is Series-ous About Reading
Amy Vidnansky, Nicole Birckbichler, Kristin Bubnis, Meghan Russ, Emily Phister
There are never enough books-in-a-series. Books-in-a-series capture the minds of young readers through the development of characters that they are able to relate to and come to love. The familiarity of the text structure allows readers to be better equipped for any new challenges they may face while reading. Students who are hesitant to choose their next book to read are excited and confident as they reach for the subsequent book. The goal of this grant is to increase the number of series books available in Bowne-Munro’s bookroom to engage students and keep them reading. Adding additional series collections will inspire Bowne-Munro’s students to continue to grow as readers.
Blue Ribbon Grants
Irwin - Planting STEM Centers for Kinder-Garden
Jenna Chesler, RoseAnn Pancione, Kate Donenfeld, and Heather LaLonde
As a result of the global emphasis on technology, the significance of STEM learning has taken a front seat in many educational conversations. While initially, the focus of these discussions was on curricula for secondary students, we are beginning to see an impact on curriculum planning for our youngest learners. Funds provided through this grant will allow for the purchase of building and sensory materials that will be used in STEM-based learning centers in Irwin’s kindergarten classrooms. Activities will encourage students to think outside of the box and unlock areas of imagination that otherwise might be pushed aside. In addition to STEM knowledge, working with these supplemental materials will help students to develop fine motors skills, longer attention spans, increased memory, and the ability to work cooperatively.
Central - “Flex” Your Thinking- Creating a Culture of Innovation at Central School
Katie Motusesky, Carol Smith, Kristy Cognata
The intent of this grant is to empower Central students to become leaders, critical thinkers and collaborators by continuing to encourage their natural curiosity. To this end, grant funds will be used to purchase items like robot blocks, inventor kits, interactive puzzles, and challenges. The materials will be placed in Central’s new flex lab where they will be made available to students of all ability levels, allowing them to explore their artistic sides while developing logical reasoning abilities and learning higher-level coding concepts. Students will be able to choose which concepts are of most interest to him/her, thus raising the level of engagement. They will be excited to work through problems together towards a common goal.
Frost – A Library for Littles
Vickie Albert, Jamie Derkacz, Kathleen Kowal, Annemarie DiRenzo
Independent reading libraries and resources need to be at students’ eye level, easily accessible and durable. Funding from this grant will help build a captivating independent reading library for Frost’s youngest and most impressionable readers. The Library for Littles will include low, wheeled carts that will house books-in-a-series from levels A through L. Why books in series? According to Lucy Calkins, founder of the Reading and Writing Project, “Series books can be intoxicating for even the most reluctant of readers. Pairing a student with the right series at this critical time can be the difference between inspiring a lifelong reader and allowing a student to become someone for whom reading takes a lifetime.” The book filled carts will be easily rolled from room to room and shared with multiple grade levels. These new resources will not replace existing libraries, instead, their inclusion will build on what is already in place.
Memorial – Storybook STEAM
Rachel Thomas, Jessica Raab
Grant funds will be used to infuse STEAM activities in coordination with specifically identified storybooks. Storybooks will be purchased for each classroom along with materials that will allow all of Memorial’s first graders to complete planned STEAM activities. Teachers will use the storybooks to motivate students’ curiosity and introduce them to STEAM concepts. Students will be excited and ready to engage in the activities that have been explicitly designed to enrich grade one science and social studies units of study. Additionally, through these learning opportunities, students will be encouraged to collaborate as they further develop and improve on their problem solving skills and questioning and speaking abilities.
Chittick – Work Smart, Play Smart
Jenna Zatz, Michelle Grant
Grant funds will allow for the purchase of a WePlaySmart Table that will enhance the educational and social opportunities for Chittick’s autistic population. This technology, designed to be an intuitive, interactive learning tool, will withstand a rigorous and active learning environment. The goals for this grant are to: 1.) increase student engagement, 2.) improve student achievement, 3.) encourage social engagement, and 4.) increase problem solving and critical thinking skills, skills that are crucial prerequisite skills for 5th grade students with autism as they prepare to enter life skills and job skills training. The data that is collected as students work at the WePlaySmart Table will make it possible for teachers to address a variety of learning styles and differentiate their instruction. For students with physical disabilities, the WePlaySmart’s touch-sensitive surface gives every student the opportunity to participate in learning. It allows all students, even those who cannot hold a pen, to write and interact with content using finger-touch capability. For students who have trouble using traditional keyboards and mice, the touch and click ease allows them to easily interact with high-quality technology while collaborating with their peers. Overall, the WePlaySmart Table will provide students with autism countless meaningful learning opportunities and give them skills that will enable them to become future ready.
Lawrence Brook - Preparing English Language Learners for a Technology Driven Future!
The goal of this grant is to provide Lawrence Brook’s English Language Learners (ELLs) with reliable access to digital resources to help ensure their ability to engage in learning experiences that include becoming responsible digital citizens. This will foster peer collaboration while creating an individualized learning experience and providing innovative solutions to meet 21st-century technology standards. With guaranteed access to Chromebooks, ELLs will be able to participate in online learning experiences using Google Applications while building language proficiency.
East Brunswick High School Class of 1989 Memorial Grant
East Brunswick High School - The Bear Store
The money received from this grant will make it possible for high school students with special needs to “build” The Bear Store, a school store that will provide practical, real-life opportunities for disabled students to practice executive functioning, social, money management, reading, and math skills. The special needs students will organize, manage and run the store. They will order, set up displays, be in charge of inventory, and manage the sales of merchandise. The store will be open to all EBHS students during lunch periods, providing learning disabled students with unlimited opportunities to regularly interact with their general education peers as they “man” the store. Items such as greeting cards, printed socks and gloves, cell phone accessories, etc. will be available for purchase for a reasonable price. In addition, in conjunction with National Honor Society students, an online version of The Bear Store will be developed where EBHS students and staff will be able to order Bearwear, gifts, and novelties online.
Dr. David Lloyd Kabus Foundation Memorial Grant
East Brunswick High School - Seating for Science
Students who have adjustable height desks will be able to sit or perch on the chairs purchased with these grant funds. The chairs are extremely versatile. Students can sit traditionally or sideways on the chair and utilize the chair's backrest as a leaning surface for a traditional notebook or a laptop. The chairs can also be turned around so students could straddle the seat and use the backrest as a leaning surface. Additionally, the chairs can also serve as a "perch" in that they can be turned around for students to utilize the backrest as a leaning surface. These chairs complement the adjustable height desks also purchased with an EBEF grant.
Venu Madhav Bandaru Memorial Grant
East Brunswick High School - Cooking up Chemistry on High, Medium or Low: Write-on, Adjustable Height Desks
Adesk like this puts a whole new spin on the idea of writing on a desk. Instead of telling students not to write on their desk the teacher will encourage them to write on the desk! From day-to-day learning to collaboration to assessment, write on desks, will help students with there learning Chemistry. By utilizing a "white-board" finish on the desk's writing surface, students will be able to use a dry-erase marker to practice their chemistry problems directly on the surface of their desk prior to committing their ideas to their notebook or computer. These desks also function on "High, Medium, or Low" - for example, if the student is comfortable sitting at their desk in the traditional fashion - then they may do so. if the student would rather stand while he or she learns, the desk is on pneumatic risers that adjust from a sitting height to a "perch", or leaning, height to a "standing height".