2019 Spring Grants Awarded

Andy Sheehy Graduation Awards
Robert Williams: Principal – MEMS
($150 approved)

The Andy Sheehy Award for Citizenship is awarded at the end of each year to six students.  The award impacts and promotes the students’ work ethic and desire to reach their academic potential, achieving high marks and becoming a role model to their peers.  Each of these students receives a $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificate along with their award.


Judy Freeman’s 35th Annual Winners! Workshop: A Closer Look at the Year’s Best Books for Children Grades PreK-6
Lisa Garnett – Wemrock Brook (Grades 1-5)
Catherine Ferreiro – Taylor Mills (Grades 1-5)
Margaret Pierciey – Lafayette Mills (Grades 1-5)
($627 approved)

Judy Freeman’s 35th Annual Winners! Workshop is an interactive day focused on lively, concise and honest evaluations of 100+ new and exemplary children’s books.  This professional enrichment will enhance the district’s curriculum by educating these librarians on literature that relates to and is aligned with district standards and goals.  The librarians will be able to gain knowledge on new materials that focus on diversity, character education and bullying lessons.  They will be better prepared to place orders for district materials and help their colleagues design BOLD lessons using quality literature.


Teacher’s College Reading & Writing Institute
Jackie Klask – Milford Brook (RTI – multiple grades)
Marie Zofrea – Clark Mills (RTI – multiple grades)
($1,200 approved)

The Reading Institute, offered at Teacher’s College, consists of the most current Common-Core aligned instructional practices for literacy.  The focus is on literacy instruction across the curriculum, with a heavy emphasis placed on the reading and writing workshop framework.  The Institute promotes a variety of ways to increase the rigor of instruction through the use of inquiry-based learning and collaboration.  The Institute will also discuss the importance of assessment-based instruction and provide the most current techniques for using learning progression to develop targeted learning goals for students. The Institute will emphasize a variety of methods that can be used to hold students accountable for doing their best work.  In addition, it will examine effective ways to create a classroom learning culture that promotes the use of the critical thinking skills needed to interpret and synthesize information.  These teachers plan to collaborate with grade level teachers and interventionists, to plan out cohesive units of study using the reading and writing workshop model.


Library Resources for Growth Mindset Project
Catherine Ferreiro – Taylor Mills (All grade levels)
($2,000 approved)

The resources obtained, from this grant, will allow students the life-long skills of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals – which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.  This grant will provide students with opportunities to create products that express their learning, rank necessary steps to take in order to achieve that goal, evaluation of their progress towards meeting that goal and evaluating their learning outcomes for further growth.


Targeted Intervention Support
Karen Leder – Pine Brook (6th Grade)
Christina Partyka – MEMS (7th and 8th Grades)
($2,013 approved)

This grant will enhance the current RTI program curriculum by providing additional materials for both fiction and nonfiction that go hand-in-hand with the targeted interventions already being provided to students.  The “Complete Comprehension” bundle supports growth contributed to whole-text comprehension and engagement.


Reaching Diverse Learners Through Art and Graphic Novels
Lisa Garnett – Wemrock Brook (Grades 1-5)
Alison Hughes – Wemrock Brook (Grades 1-5)
Jen Romeo – Wemrock Brook (Grades 1-5)
($2,000 approved)

This grant will enhance the current curriculum by continuing to support and nurture students’ natural inclination for reading graphic novels.  Access to graphic novels for reading pleasure helps to increase literacy skills in reluctant readers and all types of learners.  They help to invite all levels of readers into conversations within the classroom setting.


Sensory Hallway
Erin Hegglin – Taylor Mills (All grade levels)
Kendra Porta – Taylor Mills (All grade levels)
Rebecca Seery – Wemrock Brook (All grade levels)
($2,320 approved)

This grant will allow for the installation of a sensory hallway, which consists of decals that outlines a series of actions or movements done in a meaningful, deliberate manner.  It will be an easily accessible method for teacher to address student modifications including “brain” breaks, movement breaks, sensory diets and positive reinforcement systems.  The sensory hallway can also help alleviate behavioral issues for students who need to release their energy in a safe and productive manner.


Cami Savage – Milford Brook (Kindergarten)
Kelly Strekowski – Milford Brook (Kindergarten)
Denise Wildman – Milford Brook (Kindergarten)
Kelly Garze – Milford Brook (Kindergarten)
($3,780 approved)

OSMO is a multi-sensory personalized learning technology tool, which will help to strengthen the necessary foundational skills for early learners and spark creativity and problem solving skills.  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.  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.  OSMO will keep children engaged in learning and build their confidence through hands-on play.


Chromebook Initiative
Dr. John Marciante – Superintendent (All Schools)
($10,000 approved)

The Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School district is committed to preparing students to be college and career ready – communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills are essential to thrive in the 21st century. This is why the MERS district launched the Chromebook Initiative, to bring a 1-to-1 Chromebook learning environment to our students. Having ongoing access to technology will allow our students to consistently practice and apply those 21st century skills and prepare them for a variety of post-secondary options. Since the inception of the Chromebook Initiative, The Foundation for MERS has granted over $100,000 in funding to the district for the purchase of Chromebooks.


Stephanie Walden – Pine Brook (6th Grade)
$10,000 approved)

The funds, from this grant, will allow the Makerspace program to move into a bigger space with new and innovative equipment that will keep the students highly motivated and allow them to successfully prepare and participate in the global economy of the future.  The new Makerspace items will give the students the opportunity to continue to discover, design and create more advanced projects than are currently possible.  They will help students, currently learning to reconcile basic concepts of using circuits, discover how different electronic components work together to make an output of energy that they can apply to real-world circumstances.  The addition of a laser cutter will illustrate complex design and engineering principles.


MEMS Media Center Renovations
Robert Williams – MEMS (7th and 8th Grades)
($30,000 approved)

This grant will enable the advancement of a collaborative learning environment.  The primary objective is to refurbish and modernize the media center to better align our educational practices to 21st century college and career demands.  The Media Center should have the most current technology, flexible seating for individuals, groups or classes using the space.  The Media Center can once again become the academic heart of MEMS supporting all academic disciplines, social connections and educational needs. This grant will help fund the technology needed for the expansion and modernization of the MEMS Media Center.