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MONTCLAIR
BOARD OF EDUCATION

22 Valley Road
Montclair, NJ 07042
973-509-4000
 

 

Home » District

Signs of Success

   
Above and below: Two of the 26 Centers For Excellence placards. See six more at the bottom of this article.

Throughout the Montclair schools are 26 Centers of Excellence, specialty areas that are enhancing students’ academic experiences in advanced and creative ways.

Funded and designated as such by the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence the centers have evolved from a handful to the now close to 30 and growing.

Over the last five years, MFEE has granted close to $2 million to support innovative programs and school community ventures. Some grants are geared toward smaller faculty-based projects while others, the magnet-enhancement grants, are geared toward more extensive initiatives that benefit an entire school.

Those major grants have resulted in “tangible” areas that have an affect on the competitiveness of the schools and their theme, explained MFEE Executive Director, Lois Whipple.

Most of the Centers of Excellence have been funded through the proceeds from the Montclair Schools Rock! events. “We’ve really been able to escalate our work through our annual event, and we thought it would be nice to be able to translate the funds that are raised into something tangible,” said Whipple. “It was like looking for a branding opportunity, a way for our contributors to see the fruits of their donations. I thought, ‘How can I draw together these various larger scale endeavors? What do they have in common?’” Thus, the concept of the Centers of Excellence was born.

Once the concept was established and all 26 areas were identified, the next step was to create signage that would not only recognize the Centers as such but also acknowledge from where they came. “We wanted to be able to do something whereby it would be clear that there was a relationship from one Center to another and that it was an MFEE initiative. It also gave us the opportunity to acknowledge our donors, predominantly Montclair Schools Rock!”

The MFEE enlisted Alexandra Dubow Graphics to design the signage. “We didn’t want something that would go unnoticed, like a traditional engraved plaque,” explained Whipple. “We wanted a bold, creative, contemporary look that would capture the essence of each Center and that has definitely been achieved.”

The 26 placards, which will be displayed at each location or positioned prominently within the schools, were presented at the Board of Education meeting on Nov. 1. “The presentation gave the MFEE an opportunity to thank and acknowledge the Montclair Schools Rock! committee and the great team of volunteers on the fruits of their labor,” added Whipple. 

In the future, all proceeds from Montclair Schools Rock! will go to developing new Centers and sustaining the current ones. “This event brings together hundreds of folks in support of the Montclair Public schools,” said event chair Carol Ewertsen. “All proceeds are used within the school year to create or enhance large scale, high impact projects in the middle schools and at Montclair High School—they are very much Centers of Excellence.”

According to Whipple, the MFEE received 170 proposals from faculty and staff for magnet grants this fall. “Having the existing Centers will help going forward as we work with the District to fund these next round of grants.”

Centers of Excellence

Montclair High School

  • Laraja Gallery, funded in partnership with the Laraja Family Foundation
  • Writing Center, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Challenge Course, funded by family and friends of David Greenwald
  • AVID Institute, funded in partnership with the Abington Foundation
  • World Language Audio Lab, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Fitness Center, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Advanced Math Lab, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Med-Bio Lab, funded in memory of Mary Anne Walters.
  • Project Lead the Way, funded in partnership with Josh and Judy Weston
  • Physical Science Lab upgrades, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock! and the Jackson family
  • Little Theatre, funded by Board of Ed with Take Your Seat Campaign
  • Global Studies Lab, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Culinary Arts, funded in partnership with the MHS Culinary club

Renaissance

  • Instrumental Music, funded in Partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • School-Community Connections, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Laptops for Learning, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!

Mount Hebron

  • Connecting Classroom, funded in partnership with Mt. Hebron PTA and Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Science and Math Connection Lab, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • 21st Century Arts/Tech Center, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Video Conference and Recording Studio, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!

Glenfield

  • Auditorium Performance Arts, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Orchestral Program, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Graphics Arts Studio, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!
  • Podcasting Center, funded in partnership with Montclair Schools Rock!



Article Date: Nov 16, 2010
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