• Washington Township Education Foundation Awards 40 Mini-Grants Totaling in Excess of $37,000


    WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP – The Washington Township Education Foundation (WTEF), with the approval of the Board of Education, has agreed to award 40 mini-grants that will finance a number of supplemental programs throughout the Washington Township Public Schools during the 2016-17 school year. The grants, which this year total $37,984.46, are awarded based on a committee recommendation following a review of all applications.

    The WTEF is an independent, community-based, non-profit organization which seeks to set an example of community involvement in and support for the Washington Township Public Schools. The Foundation seeks to assist the school district by securing private-sector resources and community support for (1) enhancing the educational experiences of students; (2) preparing students for higher education and the world of work; and (3) other purposes for which public funding is not available.

    In its 14 years of awarding mini-grants, the WTEF has contributed more than $250,000 toward enhancing the educational experiences of the District’s students. Ambitious fund-raising ventures, including an annual golf outing, have resulted in more than $527,000 in donations to the school district since the WTEF’s formation in 1997. These monies have funded such worthwhile projects as a dance studio and an art gallery at Washington Township High School, the creation of a greenhouse at Bunker Hill Middle School and countless virtual field trips for District children.

    “Thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors and community members who support our events, the WTEF is able to be provide supplemental funds to the District,” WTEF President Charlie Doud said. “These monies go far to augment the efforts of our dedicated classroom teachers and to sustain many meaningful projects and activities that enhance their lessons.”

    The following schools and programs are the 2016-17 grant recipients:

    Bells Elementary School: Budding Book Buddies
    (Lead teachers: Suzie Brennan and Kelly DeLizza)
    Students in second and fourth grade will work collaboratively through the writing process to create two separate, published pieces based on the same theme on their grade level. Students will use the website tikatok.com to write, illustrate and publish their original stories into professional-quality books. Completed books will be shared during an Author's Tea before being displayed in the school library.

    Bells Elementary School: Math Backpacks for First-Grade Students
    (Lead teachers: Laura Ragone and Joy Piddington)
    Each of the school’s five first-grade classrooms will be given a backpack filled with math games and manipulatives, and students will take turns bring the backpack home to play the games with their families. The project will give parents and students an engaging way to learn math together, and studies show that playing board games results in higher math achievement in students 5 to 10 years old. Math apps and games should increase the students’ technology abilities in mathematics. 

    Bunker Hill Middle School: Character Counts! Everywhere, All the Time
    (Lead teacher: Mike Petticrew, Olweus Committee)
    Character Counts will enhance the school’s positive, productive and respectful climate and culture, while also supporting the Township Rules about bullying and the Olweus program. Grant funding will be used to create a “Wall of Character” – a dedicated wall where each month a committee will select a nominated student of character, and the selected student’s picture will be displayed.

    Bunker Hill Middle School: Minecraft in the Classroom
    (Lead teacher: Jessica Jupin)
    Grants funds will allow students to build a civilization as they study the beginning such places like Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indian, China, Greece and Rome through MinecraftEDU. This creative tool focuses on the use of resources to build communities and survive. Available resources, geography and building styles will drive construction, while forms of government, economy and culture also can be discussed. 

    Bunker Hill Middle School: Olweus Kickoff
    (Lead teacher: Mike Petticrew)
    Funding will pay for Phil Pirollo from Pinnacle Parkour to put on an assembly for all students to kick off the Olweus anti-bullying program for 2016-17. Presentation topics will include Leadership, Teamwork, Perseverance, Township Rules, the Six Pillars of Character, and Traits of a Bulldog.

    Birches Elementary School: Art in History: 15th New World Basin (1484-1504)
    (Lead teacher: Mary Byatt)
    Students will learn about Christopher Columbus and the "discovery" of the New World, as grant money will fund the purchase of Art in History's replicas of Spanish Lusterware basins. Spanish luster comes from a pottery style that developed in the Middle East. Each student will receive a kit containing the pottery piece, paint brush, sponge, disposable paint pallets and paint. This project will enhance the fifth-grade study of exploration and the Columbian Exchange.

    Birches Elementary School: Light and Liberty in Old City Philadelphia
    (Lead teacher: Mary Byatt)
    Students will research and learn about the different patriotic sites in Old City, using a white paper bag to create a 3-dimensional picture "Bag Book." Pages in the "Bag Book" will include Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Students will create arts and crafts projects reflecting patriotic images including Liberty Bells made from model magic, Constitution bracelets made from pipe cleaners and beads, Preamble booklets, Bill of Rights scrolls, and an eternal flame made from egg cartons and tissue paper.

    Birches Elementary School: Olweus Kickoff and Wrap-Up Assemblies
    (Lead teacher: Kelly Chropka)
    Grant funding will allow the school to host kickoff and wrap-up assemblies provided by Mark Moore of Underground Fitness. Through the high-energy, discipline-focused assemblies, students will learn about and review anti-bullying terms and rules, which will be reinforced in all classrooms throughout the year. 

    Birches Elementary School: Character Counts!
    (Lead teacher: Mike Petticrew)
    Grant funds will allow for the purchase of classroom materials and visual items to display throughout the building as part of the Character Counts! program.

    Birches Elementary School: Character Education Library
    (Lead teacher: Kelly Chropka)
    The school’s Olweus team will create a character education library by purchasing books that relate to the Character Counts! and Olweus programs. Books will be used by all staff during class meetings, lessons, group counseling sessions and individual counseling sessions.

    Birches Elementary School: Peaceful Playground
    (Lead teacher: Mike Petticrew)
    Using grants funds, Birches will be able to purchase equipment and supplies that will be used at recess time outdoors to help create a more peaceful time on the playground, more inclusion of students, and fewer incidents of bullying.

    Birches Elementary School: The Rainbow Rabbit Anti-Bullying Session
    (Lead teacher: Mike Petticrew)
    Rainbow Rabbit is a reading book for children ages 6-8 about empowering children, parents and educators. Children learn about the importance of acceptance and understanding that everyone is special. The package includes a stuffed animal.

    Grenloch Terrace Early Childhood Center: Kindergarten Olweus Kickoff
    (Lead teacher: Lauren Krupa )
    Grant funds will allow the school to bring singer-songwriter Rick Charette in to perform a concert in January to help the kindergarten kick off its anti-bullying program. Charette’s songs will include two penned specifically for this event, entitled “No More Bullying Me” and “Imagine a World Without Bullies.”

    Grenloch Terrace Early Childhood Center: Grenloch Takes a Deep Breath
    (Lead teachers: Lauren Krupa, Amy Laczkowski)
    This program will provide students and staff resources to help explore, interact and understand the importance of yoga on overall health and wellness. Through this grant, yoga-related items will be purchased to show students the connection movement has on their overall well-being. In addition, these resources will assist in stress and anger management, and character education. Through the health and physical education curriculum, these items will benefit every student in the school.

    Hurffville Elementary School: American Revolution-Colonial Teapot/Art History
    (Lead teachers: Laura DiPietro, Sharon Stewart)
    Students in fifth grade will design and paint a teapot that would have been used by the Daughters and Sons of Liberty during the American Revolution, as a cross-curricular activity with social studies and art classes. Students will read The Scarlet Stockings Spy by Trinka Hakes Noble, and as a follow-up they will create the teapots to serve as lasting mementos. The teapots will be designed to express political or social statement relating to a position students have taken on the revolution.

    Hurffville Elementary School: Cool Down Boxes
    (Lead teacher: Alex Illas)
    Students experiencing anxiety, frustration, sensory concerns, or difficulty with anger management will have a resource available in their classroom to help calm and soothe students.

    Hurffville Elementary School: “Family” Backpack Math
    (Lead teacher: Lynda Venuto)
    First-grade students will have the opportunity to take home a backpack full of math games and activities for a full week. Games and materials will reinforce first-grade skills, while enhancing the current math curriculum by creating a deeper connection between home and school.

    Hurffville Elementary School: We Are Informational Writers
    (Lead teachers: Jeanne York, Liane Curtis, Denise DeLeo, Chris Redwanowski, Staci Wagner)
    This project will encourage students to not only go through the writing process, but also to publish an informational text unlike any other stories they may have published before this year. This piece will teach others how to perform a variety of tasks, as students experience the steps that an author takes from beginning a piece of writing and taking it to a completed book format.

    Hurffville Elementary School: Olweus Kickoff
    (Lead teacher: Larissa Fanning)
    Grant funding will allow the school to host an Olweus anti-bullying kickoff assembly provided by Mark Moore of Underground Fitness. Moore’s engaging, energetic messages centered on respect and discipline have developed into a curriculum that blends specifically with the WTPS Olweus program.

    Orchard Valley Middle School: Building Blocks
    (Lead teachers: Frank Libbi, Dan Jedwabny, Pauline Kolodzey)
    Eighth-grade students will research, design and construct wooden building block sets that will be donated for use by children in the community and surrounding areas (i.e., preschool disabled students at GTECC, children’s units at local hospitals/shelters). Students will use critical thinking skills, knowledge acquired during technology education studies, and school resources to create the toy sets.

    Orchard Valley Middle School: Olweus Kickoff
    (Lead teachers: BPCC committee)
    Grant funds are intended to purchase supplies that will increase enthusiasm and interest for future Township Tuesdays. The items will be used for team-building competitions and as giveaways for students.

    Thomas Jefferson Elementary School: All Aboard the Kindergarten Express
    (Lead teacher: Janet Shoemaker)
    With the District’s implementation to full-day kindergarten, TJ School now has 10 classrooms of kindergarteners. Grant funding will allow for the purchase of age-appropriate books for the school library, and non-fiction books for kindergarten students to read both in school and at home. Books will provide text resources that these beginning readers will need for reading achievement.

    Thomas Jefferson Elementary School: Grow a Frog 
    (Lead teachers: Christer Cline, Mike DiGennaro, Mary Wood, Debbie Allen, Karen Turetzky, Jaclyn Connelly)
    Students will be able to observe and care for a frog tadpole as it matures into an adult frog as they study the life cycle and habitat of different frogs through the science curriculum’s third-grade frog unit. The tadpole will, hopefully, motivate the students to learn more about frogs and to practice scientific observation and data recording.

    Thomas Jefferson Elementary School: Handwashing 
    (Lead teacher: Cindy Johnson)
    The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the importance of proper handwashing, show “germs” on hands before and after handwashing, and help reduce the number of illnesses at the school.

    Thomas Jefferson Elementary School: Healthy Eating
    (Lead teacher: Cindy Johnson)
    This program will teach students the importance of healthy eating, demonstrate proper portion sizes, and encourage a healthy diet among the TJ student body. 

    Thomas Jefferson Elementary School: Multiplication Masters
    (Lead teacher: Grace Ahn)
    Multiplication Masters will provide the tools necessary for students to achieve maximum proficiency in multiplication facts from 0 to 12. Students will work with the Multiplication Master Electronic Flash Card, traditional multiplication flash cards, and traditional division flash cards in a rotating fashion to increase proficiency in the facts that provide a strong foundation for Grade 5 math.

    Wedgwood Elementary School: The Art and Mathematics of Tangrams
    (Lead teacher: Domenick Renzi)
    This program integrates art, math and literacy through use of tangrams – Chinese geometric puzzles consisting of a square cut into seven pieces that can be arranged to make various other shapes and pictures. Students will utilize the tangram pieces to learn the names and characteristics of polygons, to compose larger shapes, and to practice spacial relations as they turn, slide and flip the polygons to create puzzles. Third-grade students will then share their tangram knowledge with first-graders and allow them to solve original tangram puzzles. 

    Wedgwood Elementary School: The Fantastic World of Fantasy
    (Lead teachers: MaryGrace Parchesky, Lisa DiGrazio, Kristin Haines, Maryann Garten)
    This project allows students to become authors of their very own fantasy/fiction story. The grant money will be used to purchase hardcover, blank books that will be turned into a published storybook containing an original fantasy piece with illustrations. Students will write and peer edit the stories, then word process their text before affixing it into the 28-page book. Students also will design and color their books, and then read them to younger students as part of their Book Buddy pairings.

    Wedgwood Elementary School: TWP Tuesday
    (Lead teachers: Kristi White, Olweus Committee)
    Grand funds will be used to bring Mark Moore of Underground Fitness to the school to provide a kickoff presentation focused on good character, teamwork and bullying prevention. Students will enter through bubble machines, and teachers will greet them with excitement.

    Wedgwood Elementary School: Mustang Math Pack
    (Lead teachers: Domenick Renzi, Leslie Mitcham)
    This project brings math into the homes of second-grade students through the Mustang Math Pack – a bag filled with games and manipulatives that support the second-grade Common Core standards. Each student will take the pack home for one week during the school year to explore activities like a clock to help tell time, tangram shapes for geometry skills, coin card challenges to help counting coins and making change; handheld electronic fact fluency games; and a children’s cookbook to introduce measurements and fractions. Students also will write in a journal about their experiences with the pack and what they learned as they were engaged in math with their family.

    Whitman Elementary School: Whitman Takes a Deep Breath
    (Lead teachers: Charlene Stumpf, Adam Clark)
    This program will provide students and staff resources to help explore, interact and understand the importance of yoga on overall health and wellness. Through this grant, yoga-related items will be purchased to show students the connection movement has on their overall well-being. In addition, these resources will assist in stress and anger management, and character education. Through the health and physical education curriculum, these items will benefit every student in the school.

    Washington Township High School: Student Assistance Program Psycho-Educational Support Groups
    (Lead teachers: Heather Petolicchio, Jamie Oliver)
    Caron Treatment Center's Student Assistance Program staff will facilitate psycho-educational support groups during the school day in cycles for students that are identified by administrators, counselors, parents, or self-referrals. The support group functions as a safe environment for expressing feelings, a sense of belonging, and, equally as important, as a learning laboratory to gain self-acceptance and social skills. Students learn how to deal with critical life events, to deal with problems that may interfere with their learning, and to enhance their personal coping. Specific support group topics include, but are not limited to: drug and alcohol insight; aftercare; grief/loss; children of alcoholics; stress and anger management; and self-esteem.

    Washington Township High School: Modeling the Molecular World
    (Lead teacher: Marian Carcel, Mary Howard, Costa Tsoukalis)
    From the fundamentals of DNA, enzymes, proteins and their role in genetics, to the idea of personalized medicine and genomics molecular biology is one of the most important aspects of a science education. Modeling the Molecular World is designed to help bring the molecular world to life in the classroom. Monies will be used to purchase an 18-piece molecular model set to help students grasp the concept of the monomer and the polymer, and the importance of this building block of design to the cell and the organism as a whole.

    Washington Township High School: Project-Based Behavior Support
    (Lead teacher: Kevin MacNamara)
    Students in this program are set up with a daily point sheet to help recognize where they need to maintain positive behaviors and meet classroom expectations. As they have success, the students can earn incentives that, in turn, should help continue the positive behavior. Grant monies allow teachers working with emotional/behavioral disabled students to provide real, tangible incentives that will make them more cognizant of the decisions they make on a daily basis.

    All District Elementary Schools: Storming STEM with MindStorms
    (Lead teachers: Arlene Gerber, Diane Jablonowski, Chris Janeczko)
    Students will have the opportunity to experience robotics to practice 21st century skills. Using LEGO Education MindStorms EV3 Robotics Kits, students will build robots, then program them to accomplish specific tasks autonomously. Students will use math concepts like degrees, linear measurements and more in order to succeed in completing tasks. ELEMEnTS teachers hope to get students in the gifted and talented program from all six schools together for competitions to use as a showcase to parents and the community.

    All District Middle Schools: Tolerance and Acceptance Among Peers
    (Lead teacher: Shannon Enders)
    Grant funds will provide a 1.5-hour live presentation at each of the three middle schools by presenter Mykee Fawlon, whose show, “You Don't Know Me Until You Know Me,” is a mix of humorous sketches, serious discussion about social problems, and revelations from his own experience. It alternately presents, a variety of possible characters ranging from a 6-year-old with ADD, a feminist of mixed Indian and Korean ethnicity, an African-American teenager from the Newark housing projects, a gay football player, and an older white man. These sketches provoke both laughter and quiet contemplation, as students gain a deeper appreciation of what others experience in day-to-day life and, in the course of the presentation, are often overwhelmed with emotion, which can spark change.

    Bells, Birches, Thomas Jefferson, GTECC: Promoting Social Language Skills in Elementary-Aged Children
    (Lead teachers: Joanne Kowalski, Lauri Bronson, Shayna Wilkers, Stacy Barilotti)
    This program will help improve student-to-student relationships, improve students' social skills and closely correlate with lessons being taught in Olweus program. Social skills facilitate the development and maintenance of positive social relationships and friendships, improve school adjustment, and help students to cope effectively and adaptively with the demands of their social environment. Group sessions at each grade level will allow for students to practice and model social skills through the use of social language games and activities providing situations to be acted out.

    Washington Township High School, All Elementary Schools: Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation in Our Schools
    (Lead teachers: Heather Petolicchio, Sandy Conlin)
    Mindfulness has the potential to transform the culture of a school. Studies consistently show that when students practice mindfulness, they concentrate better, are less stressed and kinder. The purpose of this project is to provide our students and staff with a program that will help them explore, interact and understand the importance of yoga on overall health and wellness. The benefits of the program - feeling more focused and less stressed - can seem abstract and subjective to some students. This program can help make the connection between a focused, disciplined mind and students' own challenges and goals - athletic performance, academic achievement, creative expression, or anything else that is relevant to them. 

    - WTPS -