‘Pen pals in Pia’ to a Health and Wellness Day become reality

Lawrence Township Education Foundation awards 31 grants


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Lawrence Middle School (LMS) eighth-grade students will get a chance to practice their French language skills when they write letters to their pen-pal counterparts at a middle school in Pia, France.

International postage for the letters is being covered by a $126 grant awarded by the Lawrence Township Education Foundation (LTEF) in December.

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“Pen Pals in Pia” was one of 31 grants awarded during the 2023 fall grant cycle, said LTEF Executive Director Karen Faiman. The nonprofit group awarded $67,149 to support the grants.

The grants ranged from as little as the grant for “Pen Pals in Pia” to as much as $10,000. Each of the seven schools in the district received at least one grant.

Some grants covered multiple schools, such as training teachers how to use the new library Makerspace carts to help integrate them into the curriculum. Nearly three dozen teachers from the Ben Franklin, Eldridge Park, Lawrenceville and Slackwood elementary schools will benefit from the $5,500 grant.

At the Ben Franklin Elementary School, the LTEF awarded a grant for $1,257 to pay for technology that will provide interactive enrichment opportunities in math, literacy, coding and collaboration for students in grades 1-3.

A $987 grant will cover the cost of a “buddy bench” at the Eldridge Park School playground. The bench creates a place for lonely students to build and foster friendships.

Also at the Eldridge Park School, a $403 grant was approved to pay for clipboards for art projects, providing more permanent space to hang student creations in the hallways.

At the Lawrenceville Elementary School, a $468 grant for the Hallways of Wisdom and Hope will pay for more printed signs with famous quotes to enhance the walls and the character initiative at the school.

For a grant of $567, Slackwood Elementary School third-graders will spend a day of hands-on interactive learning at the Churchville Nature Center.

Hootie’s General Store is being funded through a $788 grant at the Lawrence Intermediate School. It will help a group of special education students to develop self-esteem, social skills, communication skills, money skills and life skills.

A classroom set of ukuleles and a storage rack for them will benefit sixth-grade students at Lawrence Intermediate School. The cost is covered by a $2,647 grant.

The largest grant of $10,000 will pay to create a Health and Wellness Day at LMS.

At Lawrence High School, a $2,250 grant – in addition to money left over from another LTEF grant – will cover the costs for tickets to the National Constitution Center for a sophomore class trip to Philadelphia.

The LTEF raises money from individuals, local businesses, corporations and foundations for grants to teachers and administrators. The foundation has approved more than 1,140 grants since its inception in 1992, totaling more than $4.6 million.

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