Madison Education Foundation Awards $61,000 in Educational Enrichment Grants to Madison District Classrooms

January 21, 2013 at 11:37 AM

MADISON, NJ - Last month the Madison Education Foundation (MEF) approved 16 teacher-initiated educational enrichment grants totaling $61,000 during its Fall Grant Cycle. These grants will impact students at each of the five Madison public schools.  

MEF Co-President Mary Schaenen said that the Foundation continues to play a critical role in providing teachers with access to the tools and technologies they need to enhance the curriculum and keep it exciting for students across the district, especially in the face of continuing budget constraints. 

As part of this grant cycle, elementary school students at Torey J. Sabatini School (TJS) will benefit from an “outdoor classroom.”  Kathleen Wallace, a second grade teacher at TJS, had a grant approved to allow for the creation of a butterfly garden to serve as a living science lab. This outdoor area will provide a place for students at all grade levels to experience hands-on lessons covering various science curriculums, including the study of butterflies and moths, the plant cycle, the water cycle and ecosystems. 

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“I was drawn to teaching many years ago by the prospect of implementing innovative teaching methods in the classroom," Wallace said. "While a garden may not be revolutionary, it will bring new and exciting experiences to our students at TJS. The wonder of watching a seed gathered last winter spring to life and quickly grow tall, the satisfaction of providing nourishment for the birds in our neighborhood, and the discovery of a hidden chrysalis, are magical experiences that will stay with our children and inspire them to build a profound and lasting relationship with nature.” 

Music Partnership

MEF partnered with the Madison Music Association (MMA) on a grant to purchase 75 Wenger Posture music chairs for the elementary strings and orchestra programs. 

“When young musicians are just starting out, the way in which they hold their body ties directly to the sound they produce,” said MMA President Helen Raymaker. “These posture chairs promote a straight back unlike folding chairs which cause kids to slouch. We are thrilled that MEF has partnered with the Madison Music Association to help buy chairs for all three elementary schools.”

Digital Photography

At Madison High School, the Fine Art Digital Imaging program, led by teacher Shannon Lavelle, received a grant to purchase 14 MacBooks and 14 cameras. One of the most popular electives at Madison High School, the Digital Imaging class traditionally has a long wait list. This new equipment will have an immediate impact on the way in which Lavelle can teach this course and the experience the students will have in the classroom.

“The addition of the laptops and cameras to the class resources allows the students to be more productive in class by providing the tools needed for continuous, uninterrupted work. By eliminating the need to limit each student’s time on the laptops and cameras, students can make use of every minute of class time to explore and deepen their education experience,” said Lavelle.

5K Run Benefit

MEF’s next event is the 10th annual Madison 5K Run/Walk/Kids’ Fun Runs on May 5th at  Madison High School, 170 Ridgedale Ave. This community-wide event offers a certified 5K and races for younger children. MEF is seeking corporate sponsors for this event. Sponsorships start at $250. Information about the race and sponsorship opportunities may be found at

Madison Education Foundation

The Madison Education Foundation (MEF) awards grants to K-12 teachers for initiatives that energize the creative and academic lives of students but are above and beyond the school budget. Since its inception in 2003, MEF has awarded more than $500,000 in grants.  MEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations can be mailed to PO Box 1093 Madison NJ  07940 or submitted online. Visit or e-mail for more information.

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