CRANFORD, NJ - The Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence (CFEE) has awarded more than $16,000 in grants to the Cranford public schools for the 2016-2017 academic year. The grants will pay for various educational resources sought by teachers who want to engage and challenge their students in inventive ways.

The grants are awarded directly to the teachers and will benefit children from kindergarten through high-school, across a range of subjects from the sciences to literacy to music and art.

“Once again, we were impressed with all the outstanding grant applications we received, and with all the great ideas for enhancing the education of Cranford students,” said CFEE Co-President Susan Caruso Green.

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“We are thrilled to be able to inspire appreciation for our teachers and support innovation in our classrooms, and we deeply appreciate the community’s support,” said CFEE Co-President Pete Turnamian. “Our goal has always been to ensure that the Cranford sprit of pride and generosity is alive in our classrooms for our children’s benefit.”

The Cranford Board of Education formally accepted the grants over the summer

The CFEE received 18 grant applications in May and funded eight of them:

PebbleGo Database Subscription. Bloomingdale Avenue, Brookside Place, Hillside Avenue, and Walnut Avenue schools. Applicant: Arline McCloskey. All of the district’s K-2 students will use this award-winning database, with its read-aloud function and videos, to build literacy skills while completing projects in social studies and the sciences.

Ukuleles in the General Music Classroom. Livingston Avenue School. Applicant: Colleen McDonald. Fourth- and fifth-graders will learn instrumental performance on the ukulele, a user-friendly instrument that’s well suited to developing a love of music making.

Aerodynamics in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Hillside Avenue and Orange Avenue schools. Applicants: Kristin Girone, Steve VanDam. A Flow Visualization Wind Tunnel will be used for hands-on study of aerodynamics and design processes in grades 6 through 8.

DrumFit. Orange Avenue School. Applicants: Suzette de Araujo, Amanda Innis, Connie Thomas. Students in grade 3 through 5 will take part in DrumFit, a drumming-based activity that promotes mental focus as well as physical and musical education.

Virtual Reality with Google Cardboard. Orange Avenue School. Applicant: Shannon DellaFortuna. Students in grades 6 through 8 will use Google Cardboard glasses, smartphones, and virtual reality apps to simulate science-related adventures like traveling in space or exploring the oceans.

STEM Learning. Brookside Place School. Applicant: Carolyn Chelland. This grant paid for materials needed for problem-solving exercises—like how to clean up an oil spill or make a self-propelled car—that will bring together the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math) for second graders.

STEM/Gifted and Talented Program Development. Orange Avenue School. Applicant: Lisa Lesiak. The CFEE supported a teacher attending Confratute, a professional development conference, to learn about strategies for STEM and gifted and talented education that would be shared with educators in grades 3 through 5 districtwide.

3-D Printing and Design. Cranford High School. Applicant: Liz Azukas. A 3-D printer, and accompanying software, is being procured to support student projects across a variety of subjects including science, applied technology, computer science, business, social studies, and fine arts.

The CFEE is a nonprofit, Cranford-based foundation that supports excellence and innovation in the Cranford public schools by generating additional resources through community involvement.

Founded more than 15 years ago and relaunched two years ago after a hiatus, the CFEE has awarded more than $200,000 for educational initiatives that are beyond the scope of the school district’s budget. Funding comes entirely from Cranford residents, businesses and organizations.

More information about the CFEE, including the criteria for awarding grants and descriptions of grants in action, can be found at cranfordfund.org.