Model classroom grant award

Shown here receiving their $10,000 grant awards are educators from Atlantic City High School, the George L. Hess Educational Complex in Hamilton Township, the Richmond Avenue School in Atlantic City and the North Main Street School in Pleasantville. The OceanFirst Foundation Model Classroom Grant Program award ceremony was held Oct. 2 at the Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Farmingdale.

English-language learners at Atlantic City High School will soon get hands-on environmental science experience through a $10,000 grant to create model classrooms from OceanFirst Bank Foundation.

Atlantic City was one of several school districts from the region awarded the grants, totaling $250,000. Twenty-five winners were selected from 144 applicants. Each applicant school not receiving a major award received a $500 gift certificate to Amazon.

Atlantic City High School said the students in its model classroom will receive “on the job” training through a marine field station with direct access to the nearby salt marsh and waterway.

The Richmond Avenue School was also awarded a grant to create a Citizens Science Model Classroom where the students will raise and release terrapins and horseshoe crabs and engage in aquaculture hydroponics.

The Wildwood School District received three of the $10,000 grants, one for each of its schools. Wildwood High School will use the grant to convert a regular classroom into a Warrior Café Classroom, open to the public, to provide culinary arts training. The middle school and Glenwood Elementary School will create outdoor classrooms.

Other grant winners include:

North Main Street Elementary School in Pleasantville will create a second-grade classroom with a focus on reading intervention.

The George Hess Educational Complex in Hamilton Township will create a trauma-informed classroom in third grade as part of a mental health initiative.

Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Newfield will transform a Laptop Lab into a fully functional Center for Business and Collaborative Learning.

Vineland High School will upgrade to a commercial-grade greenhouse.

Vineland Public Charter School will focus on eighth- and ninth-grade science.

$1M grant helps veterans become teachers

After a brief hiatus to restructure, the federal Troops to Teachers grant program returns to New Jersey this year.

The program enacted in 1993 has helped more than 20,000 veterans become teachers across the country. In New Jersey, 1,800 veterans participated in the program until it was put on hold in 2016.

The New Jersey Department of Education said that over the next five years, $1 million will be available to support veterans making the transition to careers in teaching.

Veterans or current service members who want more information should visit or contact the New Jersey office at 800-680-0884 or

Cumberland County College offers help with FAFSA process

Cumberland County College will host free two-hour moderated workshops to help families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the form that is required to apply for financial assistance.

All workshops take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in Room ASL-3, located in the Academic Building, 3322 College Drive. Dates are Oct. 18, Oct. 25, Nov. 8, Nov. 29 and Dec. 13.

Those planning to attend a workshop must register at

Study sought on effects of smartphones, social media on students

A proposal in the state Legislature seeks to find the effect of smartphones and social media use on children in New Jersey.

Sens. Richard Codey and Joseph Lagana introduced legislation last month that would establish the Commission on the Effects of Smart Phone and Social Media Usage on Adolescents. An identical bill was introduced in the Assembly in June.

The commission would study the extent of smartphone and social media use by students in public schools each day and determine their effects on a student’s emotional and physical health as well as academic performance.

“We have a responsibility to learn the effect these devices and platforms have, and this commission will address these concerns,” said Lagana, D-Bergen, Passaic.

The bill will establish a 15-member commission that will issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the governor and the Legislature within a year of its first meeting.

Contact: 609-272-7251 Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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