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Two new grants totaling over $3,077.00 were approved during the Sparta Education Foundation’s February Board Meeting held at the Mohawk Avenue School. This round of grants will enrich the educational experience for students at Mohawk Avenue School and Sparta High School.

“These new grants support a wide spectrum of creative learning,” said Sparta Education Foundation President Danielle Dykstra. “Sparta High School students will now have opportunities to explore genetic engineering with a CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tool, and elementary students at Mohawk Avenue School will benefit from a collection of classroom furniture designed to enhance student engagement and motivation.”

The two recently-approved grants include:

Genome Editing CRISPR/Cas9 Classroom Kits, $1,000.00
Under the guidance of Ken Scognamiglio, a science teacher at Sparta High School, students Simon Levien and Will Theilacker wrote a grant for CRISPR/Cas9 classroom kits as part of an AP project. This genome editing tool presents a new method of turning on and off genetic traits that is inexpensive, efficient and accurate. Of the few students in Sparta High School who were polled, only about 20{2b1dfe12867cfecc4d72bd9c6ff705a9929554caa46f0985d1a77982dcdde883} of the population who knew about CRISPR, although many were eager to learn more about the gene editing technology. There is potential to cure diseases like cancer, HIV and others. Plans are in place for AP biology and all biomedical classes use the classroom kits as a major lab.

Activity Furniture For Grade 3, $2,077.07
Mohawk Avenue School teacher Brianna Reigstad presented a grant for flexible seating options to enhance student engagement and promote collaboration. Balance ball chairs, hokki stools, stability balls, mini carpets and standing desks were requested. Research shows that this type of furniture eliminates restlessness, heightens attention and increases focus levels. Ms. Reigstad said this furniture will also increase mindfulness, which is part of a districtwide initiative.

Since 2006, the Sparta Education Foundation has funded over $898,000 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.