BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The Bloomfield Educational Foundation last month presented a check for $68,984 to the Bloomfield Board of Education. The funds will be earmarked for innovative learning and teaching within the district.
“We are so pleased to support the Bloomfield School System and to be able to enhance the educational experience for all students,” said BEF Vice Chairwoman Madeline Wollner.
Included in the gift are payments for eight Joseph Kliminski Teacher Grants, five extraordinary grants and the fifth of five $50,000 pledges to Bloomfield High School to support the Bengal Pride in Educational Excellence Campaign.
Joseph Kliminski Teacher Grants fund projects costing $500 or less that support innovative learning in the classroom. These grants have funded the Andera De Dance Workshops at Brookdale and Watsessing elementary schools; special education multisensory materials at Demarest; an early language initiative and outdoor classroom at Forest Glen; an ELL Team tool kit for Franklin Elementary; a vocabulary builder at Watsessing and a college-access program for vocational education students at BHS.
Extraordinary grants are awarded for inventive and resourceful learning projects that cost $500 or more. The programs funded in this round included the BHS freshman football tutoring program; the Saturday STEM program at Carteret Elementary; a Bengalthon after school healthy Initiatives program at Bloomfield Middle School; recess STEM Legomania classes at Berkeley Elementary and a listening center at Demarest Elementary.
In September 2014 the BEF pledged $250,000 to BHS and launched The Bengal Pride in Educational Campaign. With this gift, BHS has been able to offer the Kaplan SAT and ACT preparation courses to every student taking the tests; all AP students’ exams have been paid for; and costs to BHS teachers to attend classes at the AP Institute have also been covered.
BHS Principal Chris Jennings reported that a total of 1,043 students participated in AP classes and 2,136 exams were offered to students during the past five years. College credits, achieved with scores of 3 or better on AP exams, were attained by 565 students in a total of 1,085 courses. The BEF grant funded a total of 16 SAT and ACT prep courses during a five year period. As many as 755 BHS students benefited from one or more of these prep courses, with an average of 31 percent of the junior class participating each year.
“Chris Jennings has called this three-pronged approach a ‘game changer’ and an ‘equalizer’ for his students,” Wollner said. “We are helping to remove the financial barriers so that every student can succeed and that gives us great pleasure.”