• REF Awards 5 Grants to 3 Schools,

    Including ‘Samba Kids’ and ‘Do You QR?’


                READINGTON – The Readington Educational Foundation (REF) has approved five exciting grant proposals requested by district teachers. These new programs are being funded through generous donations from members of the community.


                At Holland Brook School, music teachers Jack Hasselbring and Karen Kempe are forming a new percussion group comprised of both teachers and students called “Samba Kids.” Designed to broaden the world view and musical experience of its members, club participants will learn to play a variety of South American-inspired instruments, including surdos, timbals, and agogo bells. This sure-to-be-lively group, which will be open to 50 members initially, will perform at Spirit Assemblies, school concerts, fundraisers and community events.


                The teachers developed the idea after watching online videos of Samba groups in the U.S. and other countries. “The benefits include collaboration, physical coordination, learning across multiple intelligences and developing global interests,” the two wrote in their proposal. In explaining their concept to the REF Grants Committee, Mrs. Kempe noted, “Right now we have a small group of 16 teachers who volunteered to step out of their comfort zones to try the concept, and it has become a big hit.” The new, larger group will begin in the fall.


                At Three Bridges School, second- and third-graders will participate in a community research project called “Do You QR? For the unit, students will research historic or important locations in Readington and create videos describing the sites. Visitors to the sites will use their smartphones or iPods to scan “QR codes” – “Quick Response,” two-dimensional matrix barcodes – that are placed on signs at the locations. Similar to barcodes used in retail, QR codes can hold much more information than a normal barcode. By scanning the signs, users will be linked to digital content on the Internet, where they will be able to view the content produced by TBS students.


                Besides creating videos, students will learn interviewing skills that will be needed when gathering information from township historians and community members, according to TBS technology teacher Tiffany Barca. Mrs. Barca developed the proposal with Kristen Higgins, the principal at TBS. “Not only will this project provide a link between the school and the community, but it’s a fun way for children to learn about their local history.”


                Yet another grant proposal approved by REF will provide extensive classroom library collections for first- and second-grade classrooms throughout the district, including complete sets of popular series. “I’m particularly excited about this idea,” said Superintendent Barb Sargent. “Chapter books are a great way to engage young readers who need practice in comprehending and decoding new words, while sticking with characters they like and a story format that is comfortably predictable.”


                At Whitehouse School, REF approved another proposal to purchase video equipment to work in conjunction with the school’s technology, writing, science and social studies curricula. The project, which was proposed by technology teacher Dawn Besser, will benefit every classroom in the school.


                Finally, at HBS, students will have a chance to participate in a project titled “The ‘Right’ Principle: A Hands-On Approach to Marketing.” After conducting a marketing survey and analyzing the research data, students will decide on a theme for a new toy for children, ages 8-14, and will design and build the toy based on their concept, according to Marsha Sepesi, enrichment teacher.


                REF awards grants to teachers in the fall and in the spring. This past year, the Foundation funded 11 grants amounting to nearly $17,000. To make a gift to support these types of special, hands-on programs, please click on the “How to Make a Donation” option. For more information, call Kristin Cantwell at 534-8640.

Last Modified on May 7, 2012