Foundation awards grants to teachers, counselors in Freehold Borough

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FREEHOLD — The Freehold Borough Educational Foundation, a private nonprofit organization, announced it has distributed $23,815 in grants to fund nine innovative and creative educational programs and special projects for each of Freehold Borough K-8 School District schools, including the Freehold Learning Center elementary school, the Park Avenue Elementary School and the Freehold Intermediate School.

The grants are for the 2023 January through June school term, according to a press release from the foundation.

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The grants committee, chaired by Foundation Trustee Lynn Reich, made surprise visits to the classrooms of each of the teachers and counselors awarded a grant to share the good news in person, according to the press release.

The winning educators were presented with balloons, a box of chocolates and a large commemorative check detailing the amount of their grant and its purpose. Students were thrilled to learn of their teachers’ successes and showered them with applause and lots of “wows!”

“Through our grants program, the foundation provides programs and opportunities for our
children that they would not ordinarily receive. We are so proud of our teachers and staff in Freehold Borough for the extraordinary effort they make to advance our students’ education,” Reich said.

Jean Holtz, chair of the foundation, said, “We are so fortunate to have the financial support of local businesses, numerous foundations and organizations, as well as generous individuals passionate about providing quality public education for all.

“Because of them, we can fulfill our mission to privately raise funds to underwrite these grants to teachers as well as offer other special programs to facilitate student development, encourage excellence through creative learning and teaching, and promote partnerships between the school and our community,” Holtz said.

The grants approved for 2023 are as follows:

• Freehold Learning Center (pre-K – second grade); Kari Schmidt, Suzanne Kalin; Kindness Rock Garden – The project promotes random acts of kindness as students will paint and share inspirational rocks; $1,805;

• Danielle Sanchez, Christine Digeronomo, Sally Flannery; Sped-tacular VB MAPP Assessment Kit – A Duckling Hatch and VB MAPP Assessment Tool will help teachers
identify special needs students and enable pre-kindergarten pupils to watch duck eggs hatch; $1,000;

• Park Avenue Elementary School (third – fifth grade); Lauren Abramson; Dan Gutman Visits Third Grade – the popular children’s author interacts with students to teach them story writing; $3,000;

• Allison Havemann; Eagle’s Path – a sensory experience in a hallway outside Havemann’s special education classroom will give her students a sensory break and a chance to refresh after experiencing overwhelming feelings, so they can return to class ready to learn; $1,605;

• Jaclyn Lewandoski; Flexible Learners – to provide alternative seating options for her fifth-graders to make them “Flexible Learners” in an enhanced learning environment; $1,000;

• Jaclyn Lewandoski, Tracy Nagy; Short Circuits – will put Snap Circuit kits in the hands of the fifth grade students who will experience the creativity and critical thinking in STEM education; $2,580;

• Freehold Intermediate School (sixth – eighth grade); Jeremy Mercer; PLT4M Comprehensive Fitness Plan – a comprehensive educational fitness app program to promote
individual fitness for students; $5,000;

• Jennifer Michal; Sixth Grade Sandy Hook Field Trip – Marsh and Ocean Environments in which the sixth-graders will travel to Sandy Hook to view a sea marsh, an estuary and native species, while learning about climate change, ocean pollution and preserving ecosystems; $5,750;

• Nancy Miles, Nikki Harker, Donna Johnson, Shannon Keeley, Jean Pistone; Movement Opportunities – to help their special education students “Shake the Wiggles Out” through
movement opportunities. Wiggle seats are among the tools needed to help students stay focused and release stress and anxiety; $2,075.

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