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Education Foundation Raises $65K For Little Silver Schools' Technology

LITTLE SILVER: Little Silver students will receive new technology such as Chromebooks, SmartBoards, camcorders and more thanks to the Education Foundation of Little Silver.

The EFLS announced recently that the purchase of the new equipment comes from a successful "Little Silver's Got Talent" fundraiser held last spring. The money raised through the talent show funded the purchase of equipment, totaling $65,000.

Here's a list of the technology the classrooms will receive: SmartBoards and styluses; Chromebooks; digital voice recorders; camcorders; wireless mice; NXT Intelligent Bricks (used to build intelligence machines or robots), as well as to replace theater and performing arts equipment that is many decades old.

"It's the goal of the EFLS to enrich the lives of our Little Silver students by providing hands-on learning experiences through technology and other resources, and the products we were able to purchase this year will greatly enhance the way our kids learn, including those with different learning abilities," said Kelly Cullen, EFLS president, in a prepared release.

The "Little Silver's Got Talent" event was not just a way to fund the schools, but also to come together as a community, Cullen said.

"It is vital that we empower our teachers to request the resources that will help the students remain competitive and we greatly appreciate their input. We also cannot emphasize enough how important the support of our community is -- from the volunteers who help put the event together, to our sponsors who make up the lion's share of our fundraising, as well as attendees who bid on auction items, including one-of-a-kind teacher experiences and children's artwork," Cullen said.

Dr. Pamela Albert Devine, principal at Point Road Elementary School, said that having the technology items as the result of a fundraiser is a great help to the school, which often falls under budget constraints concerns when decided what to buy.

"The use of technology in the classroom enhances both student engagement and motivation and enables students to take a more active role in their learning. In addition, technology tools allow families to become more involved by having greater access to what is going on in the classroom. However, with current budget constraints, school districts have great difficulty staying on the cutting edge of technology and rely upon groups such as the Education Foundation of Little Silver to assist with achieving our mission," said Devine.

Cullen said it is "new technology demands such as repairs, upgrades, infrastructure, and external pressures - like the upcoming PARCC exams - that have created a funding gap for the Little Silver District. As such, the main goal for the EFLS in the 2014-2015 school year is to substantially increase community fundraising."

EFLS, a parent-based foundation, has also now revised its grant process, taking teacher-submitted grant requests, and enabling community members to directly fund them.

It's a way to expedite the process of getting much-needed items in the hands of teachers requesting them. According to the EFLS, the process is: "Teacher applications will be reviewed on a competitive basis without set quotas for school, grade level, or subject matter. Once the grant submissions have been vetted, in collaboration with the Little Silver School Administration, the community will be invited to directly fund requests as part of the EFLS fundraising event this spring."

This year's annual spring fundraiser event also elebrates the 20th anniversary of the EFLS. It will be held on Friday, March 6 at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch.

To learn more, visit efls.org.

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