Hammonton Education Foundation awards $29,120 in grants
HAMMONTON — The Hammonton Education Foundation awarded $29,120 worth of grants that will fund seven projects in the public school district during the 2019-2020 school year.
The nonprofit foundation’s board of trustees unanimously approved the grants, for which teachers had to apply.
The foundation — a recognized 501(c)(3) organization that raises money to fund innovative projects in the local public schools — has awarded more than $481,000 worth of grants since its inception in 2003.
“The Hammonton Education Foundation’s ability to enhance the quality of education for students in the public school district is only possible because of the tremendous support we receive from the community,” said Johanna R. Johnson, Ed.D., chair of the foundation’s program allocations committee. “On behalf of our trustees, I want to express our appreciation to everyone who has contributed to our organization’s success by attending our events or participating in our fundraisers. I also want to extend our gratitude to all Hammonton Public Schools stakeholders for their support and tireless commitment to our students.”
This year’s grant funding includes:
• $7,500 to help Hammonton High School’s trauma team create the Blue Devils Pantry.
The pantry will ensure all students have access to food, hygiene products, clothing, school supplies and other essential items. Funding also may be used to purchase a washer and dryer.
A considerable number of students come to school with unmet needs — such as lack of food at home, proper/clean clothing or hygiene products — that impact their ability to learn, teachers Jason Bendig, Cari Coia and Carrie Pasquarello wrote in their application.
“We need to begin addressing these realities in a hands-on, results-oriented manner,” they wrote. “Students who may not have the necessities that many of us take for granted will have a hard time focusing in the classroom, making friends, and just generally enjoying the high school experience. ... We realize that we cannot ‘fix’ everything, but we can do our very best while the students are with us at school.”
• $2,600 to the Hammonton High School Book Club and library to arrange a one-day visit from author Alex London.
Students will read copies of London’s books in advance of his visit, librarian Margaret Altman said in her application.
London will conduct three presentations at the school — two for large groups and one small creative writing session — allowing students to engage with him and ask questions about his work.
London, who last visited the high school nine years ago, will have lunch with a small group of students and staff members. He also will hold a book signing at the end of the day.
• $630 to fund the HHS Poetry Café for the second straight year.
The inaugural Poetry Café — organized this spring by high school English teacher Audrey Griess with help from The Blue Review Literary Magazine and the Diversity Club — gave more than 20 students the opportunity to share personal experiences through spoken word.
Students were coached on the creation of poems and methods of delivery, and they recited their poems for family members, classmates and teachers.
The project is designed to promote literacy and creativity, celebrate each student’s unique experiences, and educate the community on the power of the spoken word.
“Since so much of poetry is about the rhythm and the phrasing of the words, the only way their poems can be truly appreciated is to read them aloud,” Griess said in her application. “A poetry café allows students to share their work they have created with the special guests that they invite.”
• $7,500 to purchase two 3-D printers for Hammonton Middle School.
STEAM classes in each grade level will be introduced to 3-D printing through grade-specific unit plans.
The lessons will encompass the use and application of the engineering design process, as well as practical and real-world use of mathematics, science, design and function, teachers Julia Martinez and Megan Goblirsch said in their application.
Sixth-graders will use the printers to create molds for testing the buoyancy of boats. Seventh-graders will be asked to design a bubble wand that is functional but also meets requirements of a specific scenario presented to them. Eighth-graders will use the printers to create projects about simple machines.
• $4,300 to fund a kindergarten/first grade trip Duffield’s Farm in Sewell.
This hands-on experience will build on classroom discussions and experiences with English/language arts and mathematics, helping students apply sensory learning.
“Students will have the opportunity to choose, while on their visit, their favorite visual depiction and write about it in writing workshop upon their return,” teachers Neirada Rosado and Gina Giralo wrote in their application. “We are hopeful that this first-hand experience .. will not only excite students about reading and writing, but also give them real-life connections and a shared experience that will strengthen and support their academic experience throughout the school year.”
• $4,200 to fund the purchase of Super Friends Success Street at Early Childhood Education Center.
The colorful, engaging indoor learning path — to be set up in the school halls — will consist of trails, patterns, letters and numbers. Children will follow directions and sequences in order to complete the path.
Movement supports cognition and brain development, and sensor integration movement helps children develop the ability to complete complex learning tasks, teachers Stefanie Dooley and Amanda Oliva wrote in their application.
“By engaging with the path, they read, count, problem solve and move their bodies,” Dooley and Oliva wrote. “Not only does this path support cognitive functioning and foundational skills, but it will allow children to do so regardless of the weather.”
• $2,340 for the kindergarten agriculture program at Early Childhood Education Center.
The foundation awarded a grant to the agriculture program last year to fund the purchase and installation of raised garden beds, indoor greenhouses for three classrooms, seeds and books about planting.
This year’s grant will fund the purchase of more seeds, soil, peat pots, and flats of flowers and sprouts.
Program coordinators also hope to add a small storage shed and add indoor greenhouses to six more kindergarten classrooms. They hope to expand the program to include pre-kindergarten and first grade students.
Participating students learn about the life cycle of plants and how to care for them. They create a garden, help tend to the plants, and make and record observations about plant growth.
Teachers Allison Tippin, Andrea Mikula and Ashley Noll say the program helps students make a connection to the agricultural history of the community; apply concepts of reading, math, science and writing; and learn about healthy lifestyle choices and the nutritional value of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.