Madison Education Foundation awards $18500 in grants to district classrooms

During the 2013 Fall Grant Cycle, Madison Education Foundation approved a grant that replaced a 30-year-old kiln at the Madison Junior School with a new model that will be enjoyed by all students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. The kiln allows students to fire pieces after they sculpt with clay and to use professional glazes to add color to their finished pieces. These kiln-fired and glazed clay pieces are featured prominently at the annual district art show and often become treasured family keepsakes. Seen here with their pinch pots created at the ‘Kiln Warming’ event are sixth graders Chase Lucas, Mollie Sullivan and Sara Taddeo.

The Madison Education Foundation approved 12 teacher-initiated educational enrichment grants totaling $18,500 during its Winter Grant Cycle. These grants will impact students at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

“We continue to see novel, imaginative concepts from Madison teachers that enrich the curriculum in place in the classroom,” comments MEF co-president Mary Schaenen.

As part of this grant cycle, Madison Junior School (seventh graders will experience a curriculum-enhancing trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met). The Met is full of exhibits that have a direct tie-in to the seventh grade social studies curriculum. The exhibits that are particularly relevant are: Ancient Near Eastern Art, Egyptian Art, Greek and Roman Art and Islamic Art.

“There is no doubt that seeing these historical artifacts in person will be very powerful for the students – much more so than seeing a photo in a textbook or online,” said Madison Junior School seventh grade social studies teacher Erik Lih.

A grant at Madison High School for the Living Elements project has the potential to impact all five Madison schools. This grant will enable the biology and environmental science programs to incorporate adopted reptiles and fish from NJ Reptile Rescue into their curriculums. The presence of the reptiles and fish will allow for new activities and labs to be added to the Biology and Environmental Science curriculums.

The reptile and fish tanks will be housed in four different classrooms focused on various science disciplines so that every science student at Madison High School will be exposed to their presence and care. In addition, students at the Junior School and all three elementary schools can potentially benefit from the program through presentations integrated into their own curriculums.

Grants at the elementary school level included Smart Response Clickers, an interactive system that provides students with remote-control devices that allow for an immediate response to lesson questions to help teachers check for understanding. Additionally, elementary art classes will benefit from educational art books and a projector to aid in self-portrait drawings.

“Our ability to fulfill grant requests from district teachers is only possible due to the generosity of the community,” adds Schaenen. Last year, Madison Education Foundation awarded $121,000 across Madison public schools. “Foundation grants provide enrichment resources that would not be possible within the District’s budget – they are often a favorite highlight for students each year.”

Madison Education Foundation’s next event is the 11th annual Madison 5K Run/Walk/Kids’ Fun Runs on May 4, at Madison High School, 170 Ridgedale Ave. This community-wide event offers a certified 5K race, as well as shorter races for young children. Runner registration is available now at

The Madison Education Foundation 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 $650,000 in grants.

Madison Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit 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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