HVEF awards grants to support innovation and excellence

Author Dan Gutman visited with Stony Brook Elementary School students last week. The annual visiting author program is funded by the Hopewell Valley Education Foundation in partnership with the school PTOs.

The Hopewell Valley Education Foundation (HVEF) recently awarded $21,626.50 in Fall 2019 grants to support innovation and excellence in Hopewell Valley public schools. Five projects were funded to enhance important STEM, social-emotional learning, inclusion, sustainability and safety initiatives across the Hopewell Valley Regional School District (HVRSD).

“We’re excited about the impact that the projects the Foundation supported this round will have in schools and classrooms throughout the district,” said HVEF Board President Sara Alyea. “Our teachers and administrators are constantly developing ideas that will create a stronger, more dynamic learning experience for students at all Hopewell Valley schools.”

Grants awarded in the Fall 2019 round are as follows:

  • Christine Abrahams, all elementary schools – A $4,000 grant will enable national expert Judith Simon Prager to deliver training in “Verbal First Aid” to all HVRSD elementary school teachers, administrators and staff. This protocol is designed to promote calm, minimize fear and foster healing during lockdown drills. An evening workshop also will be offered for parents of children in all grades.
  • Carol Chalela, Bear Tavern Elementary School – A grant of $1,454 will purchase equipment to engage fourth-graders in Mrs. Chalela’s classroom and those in the EPA Club and Garden Club in collecting, weighing, composting and monitoring fruit and vegetable scraps produced in the school. Soil amendments from the composted material will be used in the Bear Tavern Outdoor Learning Center garden spaces (also supported in part through an earlier HVEF and Bristol Myers Squibb grant). The aim is for everyone in the school community to adopt composting as an ongoing behavior.
  • Helen Corveleyn, Susan Hammill, Greg Hunter and Tina Overman, all elementary schools – The STEM facilitators at all four district elementary schools will hold architecture workshops that have students work collaboratively to build large-scale structures with dowel rods. First-graders will apply their understanding of geometry and measurement as they build triangles and then combine them to create other larger shapes. Third-graders will design and build a model of an ancient pyramid to complement their study of Egypt. Fourth-graders will combine math and engineering practices to build a sturdy bridge. An HVEF grant of $2,600 enables more than 720 students and 35 staff across the district to take part in the assemblies this May.
  • Leslie Silverman and Jami Taranto, Central High School – An HVEF grant of $5,745 funds the purchase of adaptive climbing equipment for Central High School’s existing rock walls (previously funded by HVEF), enabling students with disabilities to use the walls and reap the social benefits that come with the teamwork needed to climb. The grant also supports costs to bring nationally recognized climber, paralympian and motivational speaker Mark Wellman and another instructor to the high school to train the physical education department in the use of the adaptive equipment. The adaptive equipment should be available for use by students for years to come.  
  • Katelyn Wood, Stony Brook Elementary School – A $2,077.50 award supports the implementation of a sensory room for Stony Brook Elementary School students. The room will be transformed into an enriching and supportive environment through the provision of resources such as a textured wall, rocker floor chair, sensory projector, hanging nest swing, balance boards and other items. Research suggests safe, quiet sensory spaces provide particular benefit to students with vision, language and learning disabilities and emotional disturbances; the Stony Brook sensory room will be  accessible to all students and can be used throughout the school day to help children connect to a state of calm and focus.

HVEF also is pleased to announce that, with $5,750 in generous funding from Janssen, the Foundation was able to support the following projects: $1,000 for an annual scholarship recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of a graduating Central High School senior; $2,500 for a butterfly garden and soil conservation space at Timberlane Middle School, and; $2,250 for HVRSD mental health and wellness workshops.

“We are proud to partner with the Hopewell Valley Education Foundation in meeting district goals such as sustainability, culturally responsive teaching and STEM education,” said Dr. Rosetta Treece, HVRSD Director of Curriculum & Instruction. “The HVEF has helped our teachers to facilitate learning activities that promote innovation, problem solving and creativity by providing valuable resources and equipment. As a result of these grants over the years, our teachers have been able to truly elevate the level of teaching and learning with their students.” 

HVEF awards two cycles of grants per year; the Spring 2020 funding cycle is now open. For information on funding opportunities and other HVEF programming, visit www.hvef.org. Those who wish to support the excellence of Hopewell Valley schools are encouraged to support the work of the Foundation through its Power of 100 campaign.

Submitted by the Hopewell Valley Education Foundation, which is a not-for-profit organization that raises funds for the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, located in central New Jersey. The district serves the students of Pennington Borough, Hopewell Borough and Hopewell Township. Funding provided by HVEF brings enrichment programs, curriculum, professional development, new technologies and other programs to the school district – programs that help make the schools of Hopewell Valley outstanding and provide our students with a rich and diverse educational experience.

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