P.O. Box 684 - Bernardsville - New Jersey - 07924
SHEF Funds Major Initiatives for 2011-12
In June of 2011, SHEF presented the Board of Education with $68,000 to fund three major initiatives: the Columbia Teachers College Readers-Writers Partnership in Bedwell Elementary and Bernardsville Middle Schools, a College and Career Counseling Center and a Virtual Academy at Bernards High School.
The Readers-Writers Project is a literacy partnership aimed at kindergarten through fifth grade. Through this program, Columbia University will provide onsite training and monitoring during the school year in the areas of reading and writing best practices. The Somerset Hills School District was required to apply to be accepted in this prestigious program. Since its implementation in September, 2011, the students have already made tremendous gains in writing and reading.
In order to better guide students through the increasingly competitive and complex college admission process, the district created a College and Career Counseling Center at Bernards High School (BHS) during the 2011-12 school year. As part of this multi-faceted project, the district has presented a series of parent workshops on college planning and the application process, as well as providing one-on-one sessions for individual families, as needed. It also will establish a Resource Center, which helps to simplify and streamline the application process by offering all necessary college and career documents in one location. Parents and students can visit the Center during regular working hours without an appointment. See the recent article in the Bernardsville News about BHS College and Career Counselor Rebecca Labus.
The Virtual Academy will enable Bernards High School to offer unique and innovative electives that otherwise would be cut due to low enrollment. Through this initiative, students can take online courses in more than 40 areas of study, including such diverse classes as AP Computer Science, Meteorology, and Oceanography. The SHEF grant provides funding of $450 for each of 20 upperclassmen, who must apply and be accepted. During the 2011/2012 school year, students took courses in International Business, Marketing and Accounting, Spanish Culture and Hispanic Literature, AP Latin, Meteorology, Astronomy, Zoology, Botany and Veterinary Medicine and Advance Placement Government and Politics and US/World Geography.
Over the last 13 years, SHEF has contributed more than $660,000 to both teacher initiated mini-grants that have gone directly to fostering creativity and promoting excellence in our community’s classrooms and continuing to drive to place technology directly in the hands of district students with targeted technology initiatives.
Since 2006 SHEF has spearheaded the Computer on Wheels (COWs) initiative, ensuring that each school has multi-level mobile carts containing laptop computers. SHEF’s newer technology initiative, GetSMART!, assists the district in the implementation of SMART technology. SHEF helped to outfit classrooms with LCD projectors, SMART boards, and related technology.
SHEF was pleased to partner with both Bedwell and BMS Home and School Associations.
SHEF Technology Initiatives
SHEF is very excited by its, GetSMART! initiative to assist the district in the implementation of SMART technology. SHEF’s donation to the district outfitted classrooms with a “SMART” set up, which includes LCD projectors, SMART boards, and related technology. Providing district classrooms with a consistent “SMART” set up will lead to endless possibilities for instruction and student learning.
Computers on Wheels (COWs) are mobile carts that contain 24 laptops, a printer and accessories for wireless connectivity to the district’s network. The COWs can be wheeled into any classroom and instantly be available for student use.
Education research has shown that the use of laptops helps improve students writing and reading skills, enables collaboration, and becomes a means for addressing low achievement and equal access to technology. Additional studies show that technology can dramatically improve learning and student achievement, particularly when it is integrated into curriculum to achieve clear and measurable educational objectives.