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The Sparta Education Foundation held their annual meeting on June 4 at Mohawk Avenue School. Changes to the board and a newly approved grant for a Maker Space at Alpine School were on the agenda as the SEF completed their last meeting of the 2018-19 school year.

“The annual meeting was bittersweet as we said good-bye to our longstanding trustee and former SEF President Dorothy LaBeau and another former President and long-time trustee Danielle Dykstra,” said Donna West, President of the SEF. “Dorothy was one of the SEF’s original board members when we were founded in 2006. She has co-chaired the Krogh’s Turkey Trot, one of our biggest fundraisers, since its inception 12 years ago. She served as chair of the Governance Committee and has extensive personal knowledge of the board’s history, which we all relied upon.”

“Danielle is another trustee who has made a huge impact on the SEF in her leadership roles and as a proud alumnae of the Sparta school district. She spearheaded fundraisers including the annual Wine and Craft Beer Tasting and Night at the New Jersey Devils held at Prudential Center in Newark,” West added. “Both Danielle and Dorothy brought high levels of dedication and expertise to our board. We wish them well in their future endeavors and we are happy that they will still stay involved in our fundraisers and as board advisors.”

Another change at the annual meeting came when Laura Trent, Principal of Mohawk Avenue School, finished her two-year term as Principal Liaison to the board. “We are so grateful to Laura for opening the doors to Mohawk Avenue School since the beginning of the 2017-18 school year,” West said. “She has always been a champion of the SEF, helping us communicate with the administration and volunteering her own time at our fundraisers.” When the 2019-20 school year begins in September, the SEF will hold their monthly meetings at Sparta Middle School and Mike Gregory will be the Principal Liaison.

A grant proposal for MakerSpace Stations and Kibo Robots in every kindergarten classroom at the Alpine School was also approved during the annual meeting. Alpine teachers Michelle Abbate, Melissa Kalish and Viviana Morales-Burgess said the Makerspace Stations will provide students with opportunities to innovate, create real-world applications for classroom concepts and develop a wide range of 21st century skills. Kibo robots will connect students to the STEM curriculum as they transform the robots into learning tools, the teachers noted.

“The MakerSpace Stations and Kibo robots are valuable for our kindergarten students since they help expose them to coding and robotics in way that’s fun and easy for them to understand,” said West. “It’s very exciting to think that the youngest students in the district will learn about this technology at the beginning of their school career.”

Since 2006, the Sparta Education Foundation has funded over $1,024,000 in grants to all five of Sparta’s public schools. The Foundation is an all-volunteer, independent 501 (c) (3) NJ Non-Profit Corporation whose mission is to engage the entire community in philanthropic giving. Visit for more information about joining or volunteering.