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Congratulations to our 2023-2024

Teacher Grant Recipients!

The Wantagh Foundation for Educational Excellence has helps fund and support grants for TEACHER driven initiatives/programs.  To date the foundation have given over $13,000 in grant monies 

Congratulations teachers and thank you for all you do for our students! 

Mandalay Elementary School


Ms. Clarke teaches one of the 6:1+1 self-contained classes at Mandalay Elementary School.  The foundation is proud to continue to support her new social skills program for students. Students met with their Peer Buddies to engage in facilitated social and academic events, such as playing board games, cooking, themed crafts, STEAM activities, and more. Peer Buddies is a unique reverse mainstreaming opportunity (general education students coming into the self-contained classroom) to participate in various lessons and activities. This program has continually thrived adding more sections to this program. 

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Ms. Joyce is a fourth-grade teacher at Mandalay Elementary. The foundation will continue to support this program now in another successful year.  This grant will continue to fund a virtual field trip with CUNO: Columbia University Neuroscience Outreach for the fourth-grade class.  This will teach and show students the structure, function, and information processing outlining the parts of the brain cells and how they communicate with the rest of the body. CUNO will plan a variety of activities/centers in which they will allow the students to have a hands-on experience learning from real-life neuroscientists.


Ms. McCann is a  speech-language pathologist at Mandalay Elementary School helping children from grades Kindergarten to 5th Grade.  Her initiative is to start an "AAC Lab" at Mandalay. AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Many of our students in the 6:1:1 program are nonverbal or minimally verbal. They utilize augmentative and/or alternative means of communication to make their wants and needs known. Some of these examples include communication books, core boards, gestures, sign language, and high-tech communication applications used on iPads.  Having extra sets of AAC materials would allow the speech team to have opportunities to model functional language for classroom staff and students using these devices. This grant will allow her to purchase materials for an AAC Lab and would most importantly provide students with abundant access to communication especially for our young students who can use that support.  

Forest Lake 


Ms. Conway is a  first grade teacher at Forest Lake.  This grant will help fund set up a dramatic play Post Office in her  classroom.  As first graders, students are learning the power of the written word. They currently have pen pals in Alaska that we have been communicating with since September. Instead of digital communication, we have decided to send physical letters by “snail mail. This Post Office will allow students can have access to materials they can use, not only to write their pen pal letters, but also write letters, notes, and cards to their classmates and family members. Students will also be given the job of sorting the letters that we receive in a variety of ways.  We hope this  play center like this would be well received by my students.

Ms. Gottlieb teaches second grade at Forest Lake Elementary School. This grant would allow her to provide an alternative reading space for our her students during Reader's Workshop or when students would like an alternative place to sit and work.

Wantagh Middle and High School 


Dr. Ariel Adrian is a reading teacher at Wantagh Middle School. The foundation is supporting her initiative "Conversations with Anne Frank".  This is an in-person performance of "Conversations with Anne," through the Anne Frank Center. "Conversations with Anne" is a profoundly impactful and uniquely personal glimpse into Anne Frank's life during her time in hiding. Anne Frank, portrayed by a skilled actress, will engage in a question-and-answer session with the audience, allowing students to interact with this important historical figure. Additionally, the center is offering a virtual tour of the Annex, providing students with a direct connection to the space Anne inhabited. The performance and Q&A session will provide an immersive and historically accurate portrayal of Anne Frank's life, offering students a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and World War II. and foster empathy and a personal connection to her story, making history more relatable and relevant to students' lives.


Dr. Davis teaches  ELA, Drama, and Dance for Wantagh Middle and High School, as well as direct theater productions and coach the varsity dance team. This grant will help her students in the HS Choreography and Dance elective to stay on top of current trends in choreography and performance with the use of motion capture devices. This course concludes with student-created dance pieces informed by cutting-edge practices in the field, and motion capture equipment will further enable that. It will also allow students who are uncomfortable performing alone on stage to showcase their choreography through the use of avatars- engaging more students in creating and "performing".

Ms. Farrugia. has  had the pleasure of being a special educator for close to 20 years and  working with a team in the co-teaching style in the ICT program in the middle school. This grant will help her  enhance the learning in her sixth grade classroom of 24 children. Through this grant she will implement a learning environment that incorporates rotation stations maximizes student success. 

Ms. Sebastiano has been teaching science at Wantagh High School for 22 years. The foundation will continue to  fund her field trip at no cost to her students.  Her  project is a field trip for my AP Biology students to attend the prestigious Dolan DNA Learning Center and complete a laboratory activity where they get to analyze a portion of their own DNA. 


Ms. Zipfel has been teaching for over 18 years and is currently teaching 6th grade science in the middle school and teaches Creative Minds. This grant will allow her to buy materials to conduct projects in Energy Efficiency and Solar Power. This project will teach them about solar power (pizza box solar oven) and to create opportunities to be more energy efficient (classroom and household: Energy Audit) The purpose of this project would also be to understand and implement ways we can save energy at home, in our school and also in our community.

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