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Nyack Schools received $50,000 gift to be used toward science classes last year and this year, they received another $50,000.
The money was gifted by The Foundation to Inspire Excellence in Nyack Schools, a local non-profit organization that aims to promote positive change and progress in the district. That brings the grand total that Inspire Nyack has donated to the Nyack schools to a quarter of a million dollars over the past several years.
“What we’ve been able to do in the six years through community-based efforts is raise $250,000 for just the Nyack schools,” said Michael Leifer, President of Inspire Nyack. “The money goes toward the Middle and Elementary schools robotics programs as well as the High School Authentic Science Programs. These are part of the STEM curriculum—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.”
The check was presented during one of the science assemblies the organization helps fund. As part of the third annual “Inspire Nyack Days in February” in the Elementary and Middle schools, the foundation funds these assemblies in celebration of Thomas Alva Edison’s February birthday. Special assemblies by the Liberty Science Center (their Science Circus) will be at the Valley Cottage Elementary School, at the Upper Nyack School, and at the Middle School. Liberty Elementary School is hosting a unique pop-up planetarium from The Newark Museum.
“We’ve been able to touch every kid in the district,” said Annie Hekker Weiss, Vice President of Communications for Inspire Nyack. “Throughout the month of February, we do age-appropriate programs with certain themes. This year, the theme is Science Circus.”
“The district is facing many financial difficulties with the tax cap and sequestration. It’s refreshing to be able to provide this to our students,” said Jim Montesano, Nyack Schools Superintendent. “The district is very blessed to have a foundation like this to enhance learning experiences for our students.”
The non-profit is able to do this through one large fundraising effort each year that draws hundreds: Casino Night, which is slated for Friday, May 17 at Nyack Seaport. The event is usually in March.
“This is all funds raised by the community,” said Leifer. “More than 100 local businesses contribute and about 250 people attend.”
About STEM Programs
Funding has enabled the District to implement a Robotics curriculum, which was initiated in 2007 in Kindergarten and is now taught in grades K-4. It is the cornerstone of the District’s focus on generating interest and improving skills in math, technology and science. Robotics is also a portion of the technology concepts taught in grade 8 and is a club at the Middle School. The Foundation is also enriching the High School’s Authentic Science Research Class, a growing five year program.