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VFEE Awards $17K In Teacher Grants


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Enthusiastic users of VFEE-funded graphics cards at VHS

The Verona Foundation for Educational Excellence has awarded more than $17,000 in grants to teachers at Verona High School and H.B. Whitehorne Middle School.

VFEE, which is privately funded, awards grants twice a year to teachers who present innovative approaches to teaching within the curriculum standards set by the district. Technology and supplies must be backed by solid lesson plans and must be made available for use by as many students as possible.

The Grants Committee set out to fund the most innovative of the small grants applications (under $1,500) and one special grant for $6,000. So many special grant applications were submitted for the spring grants period that the top three contenders were invited to present their ideas to the VFEE Board of Trustees and, in the end, two special grants were awarded.

Carol Thomas, a science teacher at HBW, received a $6,000 grant for “Technology Integration in the 21st Century”, which consists of a classroom set of iPads that can be checked out by any teacher and used to present lessons in every subject using the thousands of educational apps available through Apple. The technology will help children with special needs, who benefit from the iPad’s multi-sensory approach, as well as the general education population.

Jeremy Smith, technology teacher at VHS, also received a $6,000 special grant for graphics cards that will enable the high school computers to keep up with software purchased three years ago through a VFEE grant. Smith received a grant in 2008 to purchase AutoCAD for the high school and started a computer graphics class that has grown into a 4-year graphics program available at VHS. The program has inspired several students to pursue careers in architecture and graphics and has opened up an entire field of interest for our students. This spring, senior Rebecca Gannon won second place in a design competition at NJIT for her work in the program. As the students  increased the complexity of their creations, the old graphics cards were failing and causing the computers to crash. The new graphics cards will make for more efficient computer use in all the technology classes, as well as the math classes, which often use graphics in their lessons.

In addition to the special grants, other grants were awarded to Barbara Kistner at HBW for “Critical Thinking for Social Studies”; Emily Podolak (HBW) for a French magazine subscription , Gina Venezia and Jennifer Kleinknecht for a subscription to eBooks that will be available to every student at HBW, Coreen Onnembo for Chef’s Club at HBW and Helene McKelvey-McLaughlin for the VHS Creative Arts Festival.

To learn more about VFEE or to make a donation to it, see the VFEE Web site.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].


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