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Foundation awards grants to Millstone schools

MILLSTONE – The Millstone Township Foundation for Educational Excellence has awarded five grants totaling $8,180.20 to Millstone Township schools.

Grant awards included balance ball chairs, a real life learning lab, CRICUT for the computer graphics elective, a drum set and tower garden equipment, according to a press release.

In January, the foundation awarded five grants totaling $11,651.47 to the township’s schools. Between its two grant cycles this school year, the foundation awarded a total of $19,831.67.

Following is a list of the most recent grants and recipients:

• Bounce, Focus and Learn Sequel ($3,673.75, Louise Picaroni, Millstone Township Elementary School guidance counselor). The foundation awarded a grant for 45 balance ball chairs to the Millstone Township Primary School in December 2015. The pilot program has been successful, according to the press release.

This grant consists of 42 balance ball chairs for the elementary school. Like the primary school, it will be implemented for all students in a small group setting. In addition, each classroom teacher in the elementary school will have one balance ball chair and can implement it based on the needs of their class and students. The chair features a large bounce ball to sit on and a back support.

The use of these bounce ball chairs will help students achieve greater success, as well as support better posture and health, according to the press release. There is a body of research that indicates there are positive learning outcomes for balance ball chairs. Studies show that when students use balance ball chairs, they are able to sit still by moving, allowing them to focus better, write more words clearly and be more engaged. The balance ball may also reduce obesity and improve students’ overall health and posture.

• Real Life Learning Lab ($1,705.83, Doreen Laskowiecz, Millstone Township Primary School music teacher). The grant consists of various learning centers for primary school students, including an animation station, coding and robotics, game strategies and Little Bits. Activities will focus on life skills, as well as beginning coding, real-world outreach and 21st century skills. Each grade level will have different design activities in the learning centers to provide age-appropriate learning goals.

• A CRICUT for computer graphics elective ($1,301.72, Linda Guzinski, Millstone Township Middle School technology teacher). The grant consists of a CRICUT machine and supplies that will enhance the computer graphics elective course and expand the current STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) curriculum by using hands-on manipulative materials to produce a worthwhile project. Pupils will gain experience creating, designing and producing 3-D items using various mediums including card stock, vinyl, cork board, paper, magnets, iron-on sheets, etc.

• Drum Set ($894, Gwen Parker, Millstone Township Middle School instrumental music teacher). The grant consists of a drum set for the middle school music, vocal and theater departments. The drum set will enable students to create, perform and critique a variety of musical styles, as well to continue to improve their performances.

• Tower Garden Equipment ($604.90, Danielle Kalash, Millstone Township Middle School special education teacher). This grant will extend the life of a tower garden grant Kalash received from the Monmouth County Curriculum Consortium by providing equipment for the garden. Students will have a hands-on learning experience, according to the press release.

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