Clark BOE Showcase’s Merit Scholar, CEF Grants, and STEAM Program

ALJ President Jennifer Feeley presented a certificate to National Merit Commended Scholar Emma Knutson. Credits: Kristen Busch
National Merit Commended Scholar Emma Knutson Credits: ALJ website
Clark Education Fund’s Donna Mulvihill and Bob Brede presented four grants to teachers throughout the district at the November Board of Education meeting. Credits: Kristen Busch
Hehnly Principal Shirley Bergin and teachers Teresa Gotti and Cindy Torello presented the new STEAM Program being used for K through 5. Credits: Kristen Busch
Students Nico Fiumefreddo and Bradyn Weber demonstrated their successful projects from the STEAM pilot program last spring. Credits: Kristen Busch

CLARK, NJ – The Clark Board of Education’s November meeting started off with success stories and presentations last Monday, highlighting the great work of students and teachers alike.

Arthur L. Johnson’s Emma Knutson was the first to be recognized for her academic success.  “We are here tonight to honor Emma Knutson for an outstanding performance in her PSAT National Merit Scholarship qualifying test in 2016,” said ALJ Principal Jennifer Feeley. “It is vital to the advancement of educational excellence and to our nation to recognize students just like Emma that will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them to continue to do so in the next level of the education.”

Knutson placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2018 competition by taking the 2016 PSAT National Merit Qualifying Test.  Superintendent Ed Grande called Knutson’s performance “beyond impressive.” 

Sign Up for E-News

Knutson was also named ALJ Student of the Month for October and is the lead in ALJ’s upcoming play A Streetcar Called Desire.  Feeley said Knutson is “truly a well-rounded student.”

The Clark Education Fund’s Donna Mulvihill and Bob Brede presented four mini-grants to teachers throughout the district at the meeting.  The CEF is an independent, non-profit group that was established in 2003 to underwrite supplemental educational programs for Clark students through grants to educators. 

The grants went towards:

  • STEM Kit for Young Learners – Clark Preschool
    Submitted by Megan Consiglio and Valeria Lamanna
  • America’s Battle of the Books reading incentive program – Carl H. Kumpf Middle School
    Submitted by Victoria Sasso, Michelle Greenspan, Victoria Haynes, Ann Mahoney, and Nicole Viola
  • Ozobot Classroom Kits – Valley Road and Frank K. Hehnly Elementary Schools
    Submitted by Nicole Czarnecki and Teresa Gotti
  • Museum of Early Trades & Crafts “Tradesmen and Community” hands-on museum – Frank K. Hehnly Elementary School
    Submitted by Jacqueline Caplette, AnnMaria Chironna, and Linda Hayes

“It is important to us to acknowledge the teachers who go above and beyond,” said Mulvihill.  “They are looking for innovative [programs] and that’s really what our organization tries to support.”

Hehnly Principal Shirley Bergin and teachers Teresa Gotti and Cindy Torello presented the new STEAM Program being used in both elementary schools for kindergarteners up through 5th graders.

Bergin explained that Gotti and Torello “were on board right away… they took the initiative and together the three of us went out and visited some workshops and schools.”

Torello explained that “STEAM is an educational movement that focuses on teaching science, technology, engineering, the arts in regard to humanities, and mathematics in an integrative matter.”

For the pilot program last year, students were taken through the engineering design process said Gotti.  Students were asked not only to find solutions to problems posed to them, but they also planned and designed the solution.  Solutions were then tested.  “The best part … was once they tested, they were able to figure out what they wanted to do to improve on their designs,” said Gotti.

Each grade had a different focus.  Second graders learned about coding through “unplugged” lessons and then went to the computer lab to practice what they learned.  They were tasked with designing a story where someone or something would vanish.  Third grader Nico Fiumefreddo successfully demonstrated the story he created, planned, and designed last spring.

Third graders were asked to create an eraser catapult.  Fourth grader Bradyn Weber walked the audience through the project she created last spring, demonstrating her successful catapult.

Other grades used literature as their jumping off point, creating trees that held up letters for “Chica Chica Boom Boom”, designing a house of index cards to protect the “Three Little Pigs” from the big bad wolf, and created a parachute to help Jack down from the bean stalk.

For this school year, Torello explained that they revamped the program and developed the curriculum to align with the standards used in the science programs.

“Thank you to the Board of Education for supporting us in our initiative and making it into such a great program,” said Gotti.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Clark's CityMD Urgent Care Shares Flu Survey

CLARK, NJ - As flu season is in full gear and the probability of catching the flu is a real concern, a majority of Americans admit to taking actions that may contribute to the spread of this highly contagious virus.  According to a recent survey, roughly three out of five Americans who have had the flu or flu-like symptoms (61%) admitted to being out and about the last time they ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, February 22, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance


Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve


Fri, February 23, 5:00 PM

Catanzaro Dining Hall at Saint Joseph High School, Metuchen

Friday Night Lenten Fish Fry

Food & Drink

Clark VFW : Spotlight on Joseph Horling

February’s spotlight is on Joseph Horling , Staff Sergeant US Army 1942-1946.

Joe was born in Rahway NJ on Oct 1, 1920.  He and his brother Anthony were born to Anthony Sr. and Bertha Horling .  Joe’s father was born in Munich and his mother Bertha in Austria. 

Joe enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1942.  Eight months later, in 1943, he enlisted in the US ...

‘Souper Sunday’ Benefits Dreamers Scholarship

February 21, 2018

First Congregational Church of Westfield, 125 Elmer Street in Westfield, will host its annual Souper Sunday forum on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 11:30 a.m. This year’s program will focus on issues surrounding immigration and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The event, which includes a soup and salad luncheon, is free and open to the public. 

Hosted by the ...

2018 LGBTQ Roundtable Comes to Hamilton Stage in Rahway

February 21, 2018

RAHWAY, NJ - Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados and Freeholders Bruce H. Bergen and Alexander Mirabella welcomed Christian Fuscarino of Garden State Equality to the 2018 LGBTQ Roundtable meeting hosted by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders at the Hamilton Stage in Rahway.

They were joined by Union County Department of Human Services Director Debbie-Ann Anderson, ...

Don't Rule Out a College Based Solely on Sticker Price Here's Why

Has your child been crossing schools off their college list based solely on the sticker price?  In this week's Tuesday Takeaway, Chris Curran talks about why the sticker price is often far higher than the actual price you will pay.    Take a listen to Chris Curran's latest chat and don't forget to check out his book College Funding ...

Choosing a College With the 'Right' Fit

Do you know if your child is choosing a college with the right fit?  Do you know what the right fit means or why it matters?  Take a listen to Chris Curran's latest chat about why fit matters and don't forget to check out his book College Funding Secrets.  

Check out other columns by Chris here.

Scutari vs Mahr

February 14, 2018

I read with interest in a local newspaper regarding the Union county democrat party political infighting for their “county chair” selection.  There were 2 letters juxtaposed, each one listing supporters of either Senator Scutari or Fanwood Mayor Mahr, who are the two main people vying for the “boss” position.

Although I am a democrat I am not a committee ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!