Spotlight on Grants
Each year, MFEE awards educators grants for innovative ideas to boost classroom learning. Grants allow teachers to test out new ideas and try out new educational tools. We love sharing what our staff learn with other staff and administrators. Check out some interesting trends from the last few years - all funded with your donations - and come back often for new features!
Calming Corners and Rooms
Across many schools, psychologists, counselors, social workers, and teachers were awarded grants to create calming spaces. These welcoming rooms and corners have chairs, posters, and tools to help kids calm down, reflect, and regulate. Items like breathing balls, rainbow timers, stretch bands, squishy balls, and comfy seats help students develop skills to self regulate and get back to learning.
Science Technology & Tools
MFEE grants fund supplies to enhance and enrich the science curriculum across all schools. Just a few examples from the last few years include life-size skeletons for biology, infrared cameras for physics, and the latest digital scales for teaching mass. MFEE grants ensure that our classroom equipment is up-to-date and teachers can truly create exciting lessons and labs.
Musical instruments, microphones and more
MFEE enhances the music programs in our schools. Over the last few years, MFEE has funded classroom sets of ukuleles and keyboards, standing keyboards for instruction, xylophones, microphones for chorus performances and many more tools to ensure that Montclair’s music programs offer robust and exciting instruction for our kids.
Decodables and Orton Gillingham supplies
The most common ask from elementary school teachers in 2023 was decodable books to help them implement the science of reading. The district has been testing various reading programs this year, so it was unable to commit to purchasing decodables. MFEE steps in! MFEE funded decodable books across all the elementary schools this year. Additionally, MFEE also funded many readers, sand supplies, and other tools for the district’s Orton Gillingham trained teachers. These multisensory tools ensure that they can engage all types of learners with the most effective strategies for teaching reading.
Breakout Edu Kits
Breakout Edu kits are a fun and innovative tool that MFEE has funded across classrooms for many years. Think - an escape room in a box! The Breakout Edu kit includes locks, boxes, tools, and an online platform for setting up the lesson. Each game features a story that creates the reason for the "problem" and why it needs to be solved. The teachers designs all this around the lesson. This immersion is heightened by the use of a facilitation tool, which offers a countdown timer and music that grows in intensity to add to the excitement. Talk about making learning interactive!
Flexible Seating and Standing Desks
By far, the most common ask for the last 5 years has been what used to be called alternative seating. Alternative no more! Flexible seating is a powerful tool for keeping students engaged in the classroom. MFEE has funded countless wobbly stools, chairbands, standing desks, seating pads (great for outdoor learning, too), “surf” lap desks for working on the floor, and the latest - an innovative whiteboard desk which allowed the teacher and students to quickly do math problems and lessons in a multisensory way. MFEE does not fund furniture: things like chairs, tables, desks, and bookshelves. But, when educators find new tools to engage students and enhance their learning - MFEE is excited to support them!
EdTech - Gimkit, Quizlet, HeidiSongs, Peardeck and more!
During the pandemic, teachers learned how great some online tools were to keep students engaged. Over the past few years, MFEE has been happy to serve as an incubator to allow teachers across disciplines to pilot and test the latest online tools. MFEE funds these tools for a year with the hope that some of the truly great ones - like Gimkit! - will be eventually funded by the district and shared with all staff.
Math Manipulatives and Tools
MFEE continues to fund the newest math manipulatives and supplies for both general education and special education teachers. As district teachers look for innovative tools to help them support all learners, MFEE is excited to support them. MFEE has funded fractions tiles, decimal and place value dice, TouchMath and many other math games and kits.