2017 Fall Grants Awarded

PARCC Breakfast
Sharyn Fisher – Taylor Mills
($214 approved)

During the past 4 years, our school staff has aimed to offer a light breakfast to students in grades 3-5 on each day of the standardized testing. Students are taken from the buses and offered a simple breakfast in the cafeteria. The students will learn that they are valuable and that they do have a chance… not just to test well, but to build dreams, work hard and succeed. We can’t take away standardized testing but we can make sure that our students go into the testing process equipped as well as they can be, and that includes by eating a good breakfast in the morning. We also know that the social component – time spent with peers, staff and volunteer parents – helps the students begin the testing day with confidence


Physics Day
Sharyn Fisher – Taylor Mills
($450 approved)

Physics Day allows the students to design and carry out an experiment that includes a research question, control and variables. The students also research gravity, speed, friction and forces in order to answer the research question, “What material provides a student the fastest speed down the slide?” Finally, the student will discover how other factors, such as subjects’ different sizes, may affect the outcome.


Alternative Seating in the Classroom
Merryl Tuller and Allison Mosomillo – Clark Mills
($697 approved)

This grant will be used to purchase alternative seating which will promote movement to meet the various needs of students. It will allow students to choose the type of seating that works best for them. This in turn may improve their independent working stamina and engagement with the curriculum. The grant will benefit all the students in the classroom due to their young age and maturity level. The most significant impact will be on the students who have a diagnosis of ADHD and those who have a difficult time remaining in their seats.


Conference – NJ Association for Gifted Children
Lindsay Singer – All Schools
($920 approved)

This grant will provide the costs for four teachers and the Academically Talented Program supervisor to attend the 27th Annual NJ Association for Gifted Children Conference in the Spring of 2018. This grant will be used throughout the entire school year and indefinitely by the Academically Talented community, which consists of students from all five elementary schools in grades 2-5. Students will benefit from this program as our Enrichment team will be better equipped to identify students for our programs and design curriculum to meet their specific needs. These workshops will coincide with our STEAM initiative in the district, where we incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics into our daily instruction. The Media Center specialists also work with the Enrichment team in this area.


Express Yourself!
Amanda Newell – Taylor Mills
($1,600 approved)

This grant will support a two day music program at Taylor Mills School for grades three to five. Two music educators will present an assembly explaining how they have used music and beatboxing to express themselves. They would then work with each class individually on methods of expressing themselves through a variety of techniques. Mrs. Newell, the music teacher, will supervise the activities and provide opportunities for follow up lessons in the music classroom.


Lego Education – Young Scientists
Donna Fisher and Heather Hilbert – Milford Brook
($1,889 approved)

LEGO Education kits would be used within the Young Scientists curriculum. It is aligned with the new NGSS standards. The program inspires student investigation and incorporates science, technology, stem, and coding to excite student learners. Students will need to work collaboratively to problem solve and use critical thinking skills. The lessons are relevant to student interest and increase the rigor in the science curriculum and the Young Scientist Program. It’s through this active, engaged experience that LEGO Education Elementary teaching solutions help lay the foundation for lifelong learning. The hands-on solutions ignite children’s natural desire to explore and discover. Students will learn subjects like math, science, technology, and engineering more effectively while improving and developing their 21st-century skills, like problem solving, collaboration and communication.


Bridging Literacy and Art through Comic Books and Graphic Novel Collection
Allison Tumminia and Catherine Grimm – Taylor Mills
($2,000 approved)

Access to comic books and graphic novels for pleasure reading helps increase literacy in English language learners and reluctant readers. This collection of comic book and graphic novels will be split between the art room and media center and will be available for students to check out. These resources will additionally be utilized for struggling readers and a comic book club that would help to engage students in the joy of reading. The grant will enhance the present curriculum by continuing to support and nurture students’ natural inclination for reading comic books or graphic novels. All students at Taylor Mills will benefit from this grant. These resources can also be loaned throughout the district if a teacher or student requests a particular book to be borrowed.


Tara Loughlin – Wemrock Brook
($2,410 approved)

OSMO is a gaming accessory for the iPad that is “crafted with reflective artificial intelligence that bridges the real and digital realms.” OSMO is a way for children to interact with technology through tangible play, strategic thinking and rigorous activities. OSMO provides the students with digital activities and real-time visual and auditory feedback to assist students with self-correction. The use of OSMO in the classroom will provide data to increase student achievement and decrease achievement gaps. With the districts goals of implementing new math and science programs and a program to increase reading Lexile levels, OSMO will provide both a rigorous and relevant addition to the areas of science and math, as well as technology, language arts and engineering through strategic thinking and authentic applications through tangible play.


Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention System
Jenna Widener and Marie Zofrea – Clark Mills
($4,975 approved)

The Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention (“LLI”) System would benefit classroom teachers, interventionists, and RTL. This leveled literacy will enable teachers to effectively target specific reading skills during a Reader’s Workshop Model (whole class reads aloud, strategy groups, guided reading, conference, and independent reading). Leveled Literacy Intervention provides effective small-group instruction. With engaging leveled books and fast-paced systematically designed lessons, LLI empowers both teachers and students as together they work toward attaining reading and writing proficiency. The LLI System Choice Library is 150 (plus) carefully selected high-quality, trade books in a range of genres and captivating topics. Many are from series that readers will recognize, or by authors they know well.


Digital STARLAB Portal Planetarium
Margaret Scuteri – All Schools
($24,300 approved)

The Digital StarLab Planetarium can be used for every child throughout the district as the resources support curriculum at all grade levels and is handicap accessible. The Digital STARLAB® planetarium will help to increase student engagement, spark curiosity, and provide real-life experiences for students. Students will become immersed in lessons that allow them to travel throughout the galaxies, visiting each planet along the way. They may travel anywhere on Earth, including under the ocean. Lessons allow teachers to guide students into the vent of a volcano and through the layers of the Earth! Even the youngest students can benefit from this purchase. Students can identify patterns as they watch the sun rising and setting over the course of a year; moon phases over the course of a month; and seasonal changes caused by Earth’s axial tilt all in a fully-immersive environment. Lessons are designed to increase student participation and to promote inquiry. The Digital STARLAB® planetarium can be used throughout the district as the resources support curriculum at every grade level. Moreover, the STARLAB® is often the main feature at school events such as Parent University, Science Night, and star parties. At these events, many parents and siblings accompany students inside the planetarium reaching more than the MERS’ 5000 students.