CRANFORD – The Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence, a community non-profit organization that works to enhance educational opportunities for students in the Cranford School District, has announced the award of more than $19,000 in grants to fund twelve innovative programs.

The grants benefit Cranford students in classrooms from elementary to high school, in areas ranging from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to music; and from public speaking to Latin. Selected through a competitive application process, and presented to educators, the awards include a “First and Second Grade Engineering” program at Bloomingdale Avenue School; a “Digital Media Club” at Orange Avenue School; and a “Filtered Water Bottle Refilling Station,” to increase sustainability, at Hillside Avenue School.

The Cranford Board of Education accepted the grants in a resolution in June, and the expectation is that new programs will begin in the fall.

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 “We are pleased to be able to support so many excellent programs, and to have received so many strong applications from our district’s educators,” said Susan Caruso Green, Cranford Fund co-president. “On behalf of the entire board, we thank all the teachers who devoted time and energy to applying for grants.”

Cranford Fund Co-President Peter Turnamian said the hope is that the grants will spark creative learning opportunities for students and show community support for our teachers.

“The Cranford Fund is looking forward to continuing our work, and funding more programs in the future. We aim to host fundraisers during the coming school year where we will seek to inspire greater community involvement and support,” he said.

The grants were selected from among 19 applications.

Started more than 15 year ago, the Cranford Fund has awarded more than $200,000 for educational initiatives that are outside the scope of the regular school budget. For further information, please visit the website,  Parents may also learn more about the grants and the Cranford Fund at Back-to-School nights in the fall.

Grants awarded by the Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence are as follows:

  • E-Portfolios for Public Speaking, Cranford High School. Teacher: Michelle Balseiro. Students in Speech Arts will strengthen their public speaking skills by recording and critiquing their presentations on E-Portfolios.  Grant amount: $2,900

  • Music Composer’s Toolbox, Hillside Avenue School, Educators: Lynn Berry, Dr. Curt Fogas. The Composer's Toolbox teaches composition by using a software driven compositional tool. Grade 6 and 7 students receive the program as part of their music cycle. This program opens the doors of creativity for all students, and hands them 21st century tools to explore and create music.  Grant amount: $6,540

  • Zooming Into Reading & Writing Composition, Hillside Avenue School. Teacher: Lynne Davis. Using an interactive document camera will allow students to connect better with reading and writing, by viewing and interacting with written work. Grant amount: $700

  • Using Technology to Develop as Writers, Hillside Avenue School. Teacher: Theresa Juliano. Enhances use of technology in the classroom, and allows students to efficiently publish stories and essays, by providing keyboards for the classroom iPads. Grant amount: $400

  • First & Second Grade Engineers, Bloomingdale Avenue School. Teacher: Therese Koellner. Students in grades one and two will conduct problem-based engineering scenarios, allowing them to test theories, research, observe, record data, reflect and write as they move through the learning process to a successful outcome. Grant amount: $1,459.16

  • STEM Brings Innovation to LAS, Livingston Avenue School. Educator: Filipe Luis. Creates a new elementary after-school program focused on STEM. Students will explore technology and engineering solutions, and apply math concepts to address real-life issues and solve problems. The new club is designed to serve as a model, which would then enable a similar opportunity for all students. Grant amount: $900

  • The Modern Essence of an Ancient Language, Cranford High School, Orange Avenue and Hillside Schools. Teachers: Aileen McGuire, Annamaria Bellino. Presents Latin vocabulary in a way that encourages retention and the application of meaning and use. Software builds a connection between image, meaning and pronunciation of the Latin word. Grant amount: $1,300

  • Personalized Learning, Brookside Place School. Teacher: Rosie Scholz. Takes learning outside the confines of a traditional classroom, by giving students the opportunity to choose their own path for learning. Students will conduct research, and become critical thinkers who want to make a positive impact on the world. Grant amount: $1,000

  • Digital Media Club, Orange Avenue School. Teacher: Daniel Reppert. Open to any student with an interest in writing for, filming, editing or producing video about Orange Avenue School, the club plans to produce a video each month. Videos could be broadcast to the community through TV35. Grant amount: $398

  • Filtered Water Bottle Refilling Station, Hillside Avenue School. Educator: Matthew Fichter. Installation of a refrigerated, eco-friendly, electric refillable water fountain will increase sustainability, reducing the number of disposable plastic water bottles used. Community members who use the gymnasium would also benefit. Grant amount: $1,400

  • Lego More-to-Math, Bloomingdale Avenue School. Teacher: Diane Cruz. Uses manipulatives, curriculum materials and interactive software to teach mathematical problem solving to first and second graders. Creates rich mathematics lessons that also inspire teamwork and help students make sense of problems and persevere to solve them. Grant amount: $829.95

  • Classroom Arduino, Orange Avenue School. Teacher: Steven Van Dam. Arduino is a tool for making computers that can sense and control more of the physical world than the typical desktop computer. The program will introduce students to the world of electronics and computer programming. Grant amount: $1,260.