MIDLAND PARK — The Midland Park Public Education Foundation is donating $79,665 to fund an expansion of district’s one-to-one laptop initiative and contribute to a “makerspace” classroom at Midland Park Junior/Senior High School, the Board of Education announced at its March 8 meeting.

A makerspace, a learning environment that allows students to tinker, design and create, is planned for the media center at the high school. Makerspaces are aligned with the emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) education.

“We continue to thank and value the partnership of the Midland Park Education Foundation,” said Superintendent Dr. Marie Cirasella.

The donation includes $39,665 for the leasing of 134 Chromebook laptops for students in fifth and sixth grades. This would expand the initiative for Grades 7-12 that began in September.

“We will unveil the plans for the media center project at the March 22 Board of Education meeting,” said trustee Peter Triolo.

“We are excited to continue our efforts to offer access to technology to students in fifth and sixth grade,” said Cheryl Crocitto, foundation president. “This donation will provide hands-on learning to enrich the academic experience for our children.”

Crocitto said she has firsthand experience with her seventh grade son Stephen with the success of the laptop initiative.

“Anything that helps a 13-year-old stay organized is great,” said Crocitto. “I feel much more connected to what is happening in the classroom. Teachers list the week’s assignments and there is better communication.”

She said her son Michael, a sixth grader, is “constantly” borrowing her laptop for school assignments.

“He really needs to use the laptop more and more to complete his school work,” said Crocitto.

In 2015, the foundation donated $44,466 to purchase 28 iMacs for a new technology suite used by the broadcasting classes as well as by other instructors at the high school

Since 2006, the non-profit has donated $399,000 to the borough’s three public schools, including $16,184 in teacher grants awarded in October.

Crocitto said fundraising events like the 5K Run/1-Mile Walk and the recent 10th Anniversary Gala provide the funds for classroom enrichments.

“We had 300 people attend our 10th anniversary gala on March 5 at Macaluso’s, including 51 of the original 100 founders,” said Crocitto. “We are thankful for the support of the community and local businesses who contributed to the success of our events.”

The foundation’s third annual 5K Run/1-Mile Walk is scheduled for Sept. 10.

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