“Spotlight on Coding” teaches second- and third-graders at the Slackwood Elementary School how to use computer coding.
“Let’s Become an Anti-racist” is a cross-generational community book study initiative for students in kindergarten through sixth grade and their parents. It is centered around the anti-racist writings of I. Kendi.
“Seed Pods for Kids to Grow” provides students with starter seed pods for the greenhouse at the Lawrence Intermediate School, so they can learn about plant development and germination.
Those are among the 25 grants approved by the Lawrence Township Education Foundation during its spring cycle of grant awards to teachers. The grants, which totaled $50,045, were unveiled at the Lawrence Township Public Schools Board of Education’s March 10 meeting.
Karen Faiman, the executive director of the nonprofit organization, thanked the teachers and administrators who participated in the spring grant cycle. While she always thanks the applicants, Faiman said, this time they need a special round of applause.
“This has been an insane year. We did not know what to expect coming in to the 2020-21 school year,” Faiman told the school board, acknowledging the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the schools. “We still got amazing grant applications with amazing ideas – some related to the pandemic and some that are not – that will have an impact on us, if we are in a pandemic or not.”
Faiman told the school board that while it has been a “scary year” for nonprofit groups, businesses and community members continued to make donations to the Lawrence Township Education Foundation.
Overall, the spring grant cycle funded grants that improved both remote and in-person learning, Faiman said. The grants promoted connection during the isolation brought on by the pandemic, and kept the mid, body and spirit healthy, she said.
Among the other grants that were approved was one to provide literacy training for all grades K-2 teachers in the district, Faiman said.
At the Ben Franklin Elementary School, social justice picture books and Barbie dolls will be purchased to encourage empathy centered around women’s rights, prejudice and bias, disabilities and discovering one’s true self.
Another grant approved for Ben Franklin Elementary will provide money to buy child-sized kitchens, tables and chairs for kindergarten classrooms to encourage play.
The Lawrenceville Elementary School will get tables, a rolling cart, an easel and a storage shed for an outdoor classroom. Another grant will provide a virtual field trip for the third-grade students’ “Animals through Time” science lessons.
At the Eldridge Park School, a grant was approved for a “Wellness Day.” Students will participate in workshops that focus on nutrition, movement and social and emotional health.
A grant will pay for the purchase additional multicultural books for the Lawrence Intermediate School library, supplementing the multicultural books already on the shelves.
Students at the Lawrence Middle School will be treated to a virtual visit with young adult author Scott Reintgen, while another grant will provide a high-powered projector in the auditorium that ensures every student can see the screen.
And at Lawrence High School, grants were approved to provide standing desks for three math classrooms, and updates to the sound equipment that allows for musical analysis of layered and complex music.
The Lawrence Township Education Foundation raises money from individuals, local businesses, corporations and foundations for grants to teachers. The foundation has approved more than 1,000 grants – including the 25 grants in the spring cycle – since its inception in 1992.