VFEE Education Grants Top $17K


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VFEE held an event at the Verona Inn this fall to raise funds for its grants process.

The Verona Foundation for Educational Excellence has awarded $17,992.62 in grants for the fall.

Nick Klose, the grants coordinator for the non-profit, made the announcement at last week’s Board of Education meeting. The grants ranged from $500 to help start a fishing club at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School to $6,000 for a program that will involve middle school students in the composition of a new concert band piece that they will then perform.

In addition to the fishing club, Klose said that VFEE had awarded $1,466.40 to Jennifer Kleinknecht, HBW’s media center specialist, to expand the book collection at the school library through a two-year subscription to the Junior Library Guild. The grant will allow Kleinknecht to get access to what Klose called “high interest” books that are published after the school budget is set for the year.

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VFEE gave $1,149.42 to Art Acquaviva, the media center specialist at VHS, for digital books that students can also access from home through their computers. Diane Conboy, an elementary school speech and language specialist, was given $1,473.12 for a program called “Social Thinking in Verona Schools.” It is designed to help students with learning difficulties to improve their interaction with others. Conboy is looking to expand this initiative to the general education population as well.

VFEE also announced three large grants. It awarded $1,772 to Corisa Walker, the media specialist at Brookdale and F.N. Brown elementary schools, for the “One School One Book” program. The program buys the same book for every student in a school. Students then read and explore the book together, through assemblies, art projects and other activities. The students get to keep the book that is chosen. The grant will fund the program at Brookdale, F.N. Brown and Forest Avenue schools; Laning also has “One School One Book”, but funds it through its SCA.

Richard Rampolla, the principal of Brookdale, was awarded $5,631.68 for an elementary school e-reader initiative. It will purchase six color Nooks for each elementary school, plus a Motorola wireless hub to support the Nook.

The largest grant for the fall was given to middle school music teacher Dan Halpern. He will use the $6,000 to engage a nationally recognized composer, Joseph Turrin, to show students how music is composed. Turin will meet with 8th grade English students and all HBW bands to talk about process of creating a composition. Then he will compose a piece specifically for HBW, which the school’s Gold band will perform in the Spring.

VFEE is a community-run 501(c)3 foundation that solicits private donations to enhance education in Verona’s public schools. Each spring and fall, it awards grants to teachers in five educational areas: technology and learning, academic enhancement, arts and education, professional development and cultural enrichment.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
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 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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