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Planetarium Coming to Schools Thanks To Education Foundation's $19K Grant

The mobile planetarium will be used at Chatham's elementary schools.

The Chatham Education Foundation (CEF) awarded a $19,300 grant to the principals of Lafayette Avenue School (LAS), Milton Avenue School (MAS), Washington Avenue School (WAS) and Southern Boulevard School (SBS) for the purchase of a STARLAB Portable Planetarium.

STARLAB planetariums help students learn more about astronomy and the study of the planets and the solar system. The planetarium is a dome of opaque vinyl with a projector which displays images from space on the dome's interior. The images are displayed through STARLAB cylinders made of film which blocks all light except what is needed to display the images themselves.

Colleen Markley, president of CEF, said the planetarium will provide an invaluable learning experience to local students. "It’s also an excellent example of the collaborative efforts of our school administrators to secure funding to acquire creative educational programs that benefit students," Markley said.

WAS Principal Mary Quigley thanked CEF for the grant on behalf of the other three principals who applied for the grant with her. "This learning tool provides many more opportunities that will enable a planetarium experience without the need of funding additional field trips, which will maximize instructional time in our school year," she said.

The grant was the largest of several grants recently awarded by the Chatham Education Foundation. So far the foundation has awarded $32,000 in grants this school year. Other grants include:

  • Chatham Middle School Principal Robert Accardi and eighth grade English teachers Lisa McTague and Carmela Zack received a grant to acquire 16 Netbooks for students to use in order to promote and enhance writing across the curriculum.
  • Chatham High School (CHS) Theatre Director Lynn Polan arranged for the CHS theater students, actors and crew members to learn about the technology and artistry of theatrical lighting by working with a professional lighting designer. The lighting designer will also work with students to design and implement the lighting for the spring musical, "Legally Blonde".
  • Lafayette Avenue School fourth grade students in Justin Perinotti’s classes will be completing challenges from Destination ImagiNation, Inc. Teams of students will build, engineer and perform tasks with sets of given materials to accomplish an initiative. The program will strengthen students' math, science, communications and problem solving skills and teach them flexibility in the face of given challenges.

CEF grants are awarded on a rolling deadline throughout the school year. In the 2011-12 school year CEF awarded $66,000 through 26 different grants throughout the School District of the Chathams.

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