Grant supports school-wide bathroom art contest at Lawrence Intermediate School


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The scribbling of random words and images on the stalls and walls of the Lawrence Intermediate School bathrooms will be replaced by murals created by budding young artists, thanks to a $500 grant from the Lawrence Township Education Foundation.

Students had complained that some of their schoolmates defaced the bathrooms by drawing on the stalls and walls, so Lawrence Intermediate School teachers Feriza Irmer and Sarah Yoskowitz and the Social Justice Club decided to sponsor a school-wide bathroom art contest.

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The winning designs, as determined by popular vote, will be painted on the bathroom walls – hopefully to discourage others from drawing on the doors and walls, and to allow students to take part in creative expressions of what they want their school to look like, according to the grant application.

The Lawrence Intermediate School murals project was one of 22 grants approved by the Lawrence Township Education Foundation during the fall grant cycle, said Karen Faiman, the foundation’s executive director.

The Lawrence Township Education Foundation awarded $57,528 to support the grants, which run the gamut from art in the bathrooms to arranging for a professional musician to collaborate with string instrument players in grades 5-12.

The grants, which are awarded to teachers and administrators, provide funding for projects and programs outside of the regular budget, Faiman said. The grants cover a broad range of disciplines, including literacy, science, math, character education, physical education, music and the arts.

“The foundation funds programs that will have a substantial and lasting impact on the students. They will have had the opportunity to take part in innovative classroom projects, use new technology, and have access to state-of-the-art equipment,” she said.

Faiman said she was impressed with the number of collaborations in the grant requests. She said nine of the 22 approved grants are for programs and projects that will impact more than one school.

“We love it when schools work together to bring a new initiative to more than one school at a time,” she said.

The “Climate Change Corners” grant will provide a place to house books on climate change for grades K-3 at Ben Franklin, Slackwood, Lawrenceville and Eldridge Park elementary schools and for grades 4-6 at Lawrence Intermediate School, Faiman said.

The “AIR Dogs: Paws for Minds” grant brings therapy dogs to the Lawrence Middle School and Lawrence Intermediate School for at-risk and emotionally fragile students.

Some grants are stand-alone grants for individual schools, such as the “Exploring Eagles” grant at the Slackwood Elementary School. Students will be exposed to wildlife in the woods surrounding the elementary school.

At Lawrence High School, Vernier LabQuest devices will be provided to students for all science classes. Another grant provides funding for a new music conductor’s system by Wenger to be used during rehearsals and concerts.

The Lawrence Township Education Foundation raises money from individuals, local businesses, corporations and foundations to provide funding for the grants. The foundation has funded more than 1,000 programs, totaling more than $4.4 million, since its inception in 1992.

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