With the help of the NJSBA Grants Support program, the Long Branch school district recently earned a $75,000 blended learning innovation grant from the New Jersey Department of Education.

Assistance from the Grant Supports Program  Long Branch Public Schools took advantage of the unlimited grant research and consultation service that is offered through the NJSBA Grant Support Program to work with the Grants Office, LLC in the collaboration and development of the grant proposal.

Long Branch expressed an interest in the grant opportunity after reading about it, and requested additional research from the Grants Office, which provided the district with summary information, and conducted a series of consultative calls about what would fit the grant requirements. The Grants Office also reviewed two drafts of the grant proposal.

Long Branch public schools and the Grants Office collaborated once again and discussed what was needed to move forward, after the NJDOE gave preliminary approval, but asked for an amendment to the proposal.

Interdisciplinary Story Telling The Long Branch project provides an interdisciplinary, multisensory, sustainable approach to assist students in mastering English Language Arts, mathematics, technology, and visual and performing arts standards. Through a blended learning approach, teaching story production using iPads, students collaborate to develop scripts and compose stories. This instructional methodology allows learning to be playful and is a powerful form of communication for children to share their personal stories.

Students’ stories are shared with the authors’ families. Some of the stories are emailed to collaborating local pediatric offices and the Ronald McDonald House in Long Branch. Some stories will be selected and presented as theatrical productions during the year. Long Branch has also established a relationship with Apple and the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. Grant funds were allocated to provide participating staff professional development to support them during the project.

“The Long Branch team had a very positive experience with Grants Support throughout the grant writing process,” said Bridgette Burtt, Long Branch grants supervisor. “Ms. Evans (of the Grants Office) was available via conference call to discuss the grant project idea and also provided insightful feedback to enhance the Long Branch grant.”