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Madison Education Foundation Awards $31,000 in Educational Enrichment Grants to Madison District Classrooms

Penny Sullivan

Friday, January 17, 2014 • 10:26am

MADISON, NJ - The Madison Education Foundation recently approved 13 teacher-initiated educational enrichment grants totaling $31,000 during its Fall Grant Cycle. 

These grants, in keeping with MEF’s mission, will support initiatives that energize the creative and academic lives of Madison public school students but are above and beyond the school budget.

MEF co-President Mary Schaenen said, “As the Madison school district continues to face budget constraints, the work of MEF provides teachers with access to curriculum-enhancing tools and technologies that boost the learning experience for students across our five schools.”

As part of this grant cycle, special education students at Kings Road School will receive six new iPads. 

“MEF has piloted iPads in various classroom environments across the district and has discovered that they are especially beneficial in the special education learning environment.  The iPads provide an opportunity for hands-on learning and help to actively reinforce concepts in both reading and math instruction,” Schaenen said.

Another MEF grant will provide seventh-grade students at the Madison Junior School with a more diverse selection of non-fiction books, intended to provide a richer reading experience. This grant was awarded to MJS seventh-grade English teachers Paige Henry, Lisa Toto and Jennifer Gamba.

“Wide-sweeping initiatives like Common-Core and students' diverse learning needs push us to teach in different ways if we are to successfully prepare students for continued academic growth and engagement," Henry said. "The MEF opens the possibility for us as teachers to enrich our offerings, seek new resources, and find new ways to help students find personal meaning in their work.”

MJS students will also benefit from a new kiln to enhance the art curriculum across grade levels.  The school’s current kiln is more than 30 years old and needed to be replaced.  “Clay sculptures are an exciting and memorable part of a student’s art experience.  Many students, not just the gifted artists, excel when working with clay and a new kiln will provide the opportunity for an enhanced art experience for all MJS students,” said MJS Art teacher, Kate Gebstaedt.

Another MEF grant will provide for the purchase of 12 Dino-lite Digital Microscopes and 12 Windows tablets to supplement the science curriculum. Through a previous MEF grant, the Dino-lite, as well as another digital microscope, were piloted in the classroom. “In our pilot, the Dino-lite Digital Microscope was shown to best suit the needs of our students.  The addition of 12 Dino-lites, along with a user-friendly interfacing technology on the 12 Windows tablets, will allow for more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to be integrated into the science curriculum.  The Dino-lites will improve the students’ ability to capture images and make more meaningful observations,” said Schaenen. 

At Madison High School, English students will receive a visit from N. West Moss, an award-winning fiction and essay writer and experienced writing instructor.  “Visits by published authors energize students in a way that is not always possible in the regular classroom,” said MHS English teacher Anne Wessel Dwyer.  “The regular school budget does not provide funding for these curriculum enhancements but they are so key to a well-rounded education.”

MEF’s next event is the 11th annual Madison 5K Run/Walk/Kids’ Fun Runs on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at Madison High School, 170 Ridgedale Ave.  This community-wide event offers a certified 5K run, as well as races for younger children.  MEF is seeking corporate sponsors for this event, with sponsorships starting at $250.  Information about the race and sponsorship opportunities may be found at www.mefnj.org.

Madison Education Foundation

The Madison Education Foundation (MEF) awards grants to K-12 teachers for initiatives that energize the creative and academic lives of students but are above and beyond the school budget. Since its inception in 2003, MEF has awarded more than $680,000 in grants.  MEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations can be mailed to PO Box 1093 Madison NJ  07940. or submitted online. Visit www.mefnj.org or e-mail info@mefnj.org for more information.

 

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