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Hammonton Education Foundation awards grants



HAMMONTON — The Hammonton Education Foundation awarded $26,662 worth of grants that will fund projects in the public school district during the 2016-2017 academic year.

The foundation’s board of trustees unanimously voted to fund the projects, for which teachers and administrators had to apply.

The foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money to supplement and enhance the quality of education for students in the public school district, has awarded more than $400,000 worth of grants to local schools since its inception in 2003.

“We would like to express our appreciation for the continued support, innovation and commitment of all Hammonton Public Schools stakeholders,” foundation president Frank Rudnesky said. “Without everyone’s support for our events and our organization, none of this would be possible. A great big thank you as we move forward!”

The current round of grants includes $20,117 for the purchase of 72 Chromebook laptops.

Twelve of them, equipped with touch screens, will be used by special education students at Warren E. Sooy Jr. Elementary School.

The Chromebooks will create a fun, interactive learning environment, teacher Joni DiEmma wrote in her grant application.

“Students who have fun in the classroom are more likely to come to school and follow the mandated rules required to academically succeed,” DiEmma wrote.

The devices also have several practical benefits.

“Digital copies of work can help special needs students by making it easy to edit or change their work,” DiEmma wrote. “This would significantly reduce many of the negative behaviors that special needs students experience due to a low frustration tolerance. Many special needs students [also] have difficulty with motor skills, which can extend into their ability to write a legible paper. Typewritten assignments are much easier to read than those written by hand.”

Sixty Chromebooks will be shared by fourth- and fifth-grade students at the elementary school.

Students will use the Chromebooks to compose and edit essays, complete research projects, improve their keyboarding skills, and boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning.

“Increasing access to technology is essential, and the use of Chromebooks in the classroom would enhance the mission [of the school district] by providing the tools and resources necessary for the 21st century learner,” fifth-grade teacher Deana Catania wrote in her application. “Students thrive on technology and, when integrated with learning, their enthusiasm excels in all subject areas. As a result, a student-centered, discovery-based classroom is created.”

The grants for all Chromebooks will cover the costs of storage carts and all necessary licenses.

A $1,603 grant will provide additional supplies for the Tre Café breakfast program at the Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center.

The program, launched in January, allows students with disabilities to help teachers and aides prepare and deliver breakfast to the center’s staff.

“This program serves as an excellent ‘real-life’ experience,” staff members Stefanie Saia and Louis Caruso wrote in their application. “Not only are … students able to assist in the preparation of breakfast, they are also using other skills to obtain their goals. They are applying communication and social skills in every aspect of the program.”

The foundation also provided a $4,941 grant to purchase littleBits. The modular electronics snap together with magnets, creating circuits.

The materials will be used by industrial arts students at Hammonton High School.

“Color-coded electronic Bits encourage exploration, experimentation and creativity,” teacher Teah Daniels wrote in her application. “Learning by doing provides in-depth understanding of concepts, with application to real-life scenarios. Their use in classrooms fosters group problem-solving and teamwork with project-based learning and engaging design challenges.”


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