Grants fund learning courtyard, little free libraries in Spotswood

The board members of the Spotswood Education Foundation.

SPOTSWOOD – Memorial Middle School was awarded one of the largest grants the Spotswood Education Foundation (SEF) has ever given out to create the Spotswood Education Foundation Outdoor Learning Courtyard.

The area was renovated over the summer to create an area that teachers and students can conduct outdoor classes. The total amount of the grant was $11,825, awarded to Katherine Shkolar and Kelly Bella, according to a statement provided by SEF. A ribbon cutting will be held later in the fall to celebrate the new space.

The SEF awarded a total of $19,634.68 in grants to educators of the Spotswood School District during a convocation for the new school year.

A total of 26 grant proposals were received, with 20 selected by the foundation’s Board of Trustees. Since 2006, the SEF has awarded 167 grants totaling $108,775.09, according to information provided by the foundation.

For the second consecutive year, the SEF partnered with BCB Community Bank, which pledged additional funds to partner with the SEF.

The other grants announced on Sept. 3 are:
A New Spin on Science $89.10 Maureen McDonald
Facts 4 Me: Elementary Research $50 Maureen McDonald
Mystery Science $99 Paige Besthoff
Makedo Cardboard Construction $235 Paige Besthoff
The Social Express $245 Marian Ayad
Stationary in Motion $400 Aleksandra Zolotnisky
Story Champs $311.43 Aleksandra Zolotnisky
Design & Build Engineering $143.75 Erika Stinson
Mosa Mack $450 Erin Glassen, Michelle Golden and Danielle Vorbe
Snap Circuits! $151.95 Erin Glassen and Michelle Golden
Six Flags Math & Science Day $400 Erin Glassen and Michelle Golden
Sensational Hallway $305.82 Katie Lavelle and Sonali Khatri
Sensory Physical Education $445 Jill Hetzler
Flocabulary $480 Lauren Siwiak and Megan Curto
Picture This $235 Lauren Siwiak and Megan Curto
Kaufman Speech Praxis Kit $298 Anne Fox
Dress to Impress – DECA Blazers $967.48 Kelly Meagher
Dot & Dash: Beginning Robotics for Young Learners $2,035 Maureen McDonald and Paige

Finally, the annual Dee Pope Memorial Grant was awarded to Erin Glassen and Michelle Golden for the Dee Pope Little Free Library in the amount of $468.15. The Little Free Libraries will be located in Helmetta and Spotswood, where free books will be available to anyone who wants to come by.

Nick Legakis, president of the SEF, said in the statement that he is proud of the support the foundation has received from the local community and the work the Board of Trustees has done over the past year to raise funds to support the district’s teachers.

“We are making a difference in how the teachers educate and the students are
benefiting from these wonderful ideas and initiatives these grants are supporting,” he said.

The Spotswood Education Foundation’s purpose is to augment the financial resources available to the district in educating the children of Spotswood, Helmetta and Milltown. To become a member, contact Legakis at or call 917-476-6418.

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