The Upper Moreland Education Foundation (UMEF) fundraising letters went out during the second week of April. These letters, which asked for a donation from the recipient, unveiled a new UMEF fundraising event, called “Walk to Get Smart”:
The goal of this fundraiser is to purchase “Smart Board” Interactive White Boards and technology devices for every student in every classroom in the Upper Moreland Township School District.
When the letters returned late this month, the response was overwhelming.
“It was unbelievable,” Dan Noble, UMEF president, said. “We got a huge response from the community.”
While Noble said the final tally has not been completed yet, the response in donations has well exceeded the UMEF original goal of $30,000.
According to Noble, an interactive white board, commonly referred to by the brand name “Smart Board,” would cost the district approximately $3,000 each, which would include purchase of both a projector and the board, as well as the installation.
According to a school district official, there are currently over 10 interactive white boards used throughout the district. The goal of the UMEF Walk to Get Smart campaign is to help supply the district with such technology in every classroom.
“I think they look at other schools that have this technology, and it’s just that outcry to be able to have the same or more than all the other schools,” Noble said, giving his explanation for the letter-campaign' high response.
A 12-year resident of Willow Grove, Noble does not have children currently attending schools in the district. However, Noble mentioned his work with the United Way of Camden County as a reference for his desire to help build up the community in which he lives.
He said that he and other volunteers of the UMEF are presented with this community-building opportunity in Upper Moreland. And, while UMEF supports all educational organizations, equipping youth with necessary educational tools to stay competitive is a priority.
“It’s for the children. The better their education, the better our society will be in the future,” Noble said. “I think our schools are underfunded, even with our taxes.”
Walk to Get Smart: Step-By-Step
Starting at the beginning of the school year, the UMEF set up a Walk to Get Smart steering committee, made up of board members Linda Christensen, Nora Rosenbaum and Kari Kane.
According to Kane, other school districts have had similar letter-writing campaigns, however, UMEF encouraged students to personalize the letters they sent out.
“It was so cute,” Kane said. “They wrote lots of personal things, like, ‘Love you grandma, thanks for supporting us.’”
Kane said that each student was given 10 pre-written letters, in which they had the option to personalize. As a long-term substitute teacher for the school district, Kane said that writing so many personalized letters was a particular challenge for the younger students.
“There were components that fit right into the curriculum,” Kane said, emphasizing the writing portion of the fundraising campaign. “And it wasn’t texting – it showed them how to write an old-fashioned letter, too.”
As a reward for their participation, the UMEF set the field-day portion of the Walk to Get Smart event on the early morning of May 11.
Promoting Technology and Exercise
During this portion of the event, 20 stations were set up across the fields of the Upper Moreland School Complex (located behind the ). Students, by class, rotated to each station, which featured different exercise-themed activities.
While some stations featured traditional exercises, including jumping-jacks and push-ups; other stations were designed just to get the students moving, such as duck-duck goose and learning how to dance the “Macarena.”
One station, in particular, seemed to be a favorite among all the students.
UMMS physical education teacher Lauretta Goldsworthy conducted this station, also known as the “Simon Says” station.
She apparently took it easy on the Intermediate and Primary school students, but, Goldsworthy displayed her full adeptness to the game with her Middle School students.
It was clear she has had much practice playing, as she was able to fool half an unsuspecting class with wild gestures, and the other half with her truly astonishing, rapid-fire “Simon Says” commands [see video above].
“If Simon Says was an Olympic event, she would be a gold-medal winner,” Dr. Robert Milrod, superintendent of Upper Moreland schools, said.
Milrod, who stopped by to visit the Walk to Get Smart event, gave high praise for the UMEF efforts, as well as the positive response from the community.
In addition to the letter-writing campaign, Milrod also highlighted the fact that, since September, teachers and administrators throughout the district gave a portion of their paychecks toward the UMEF Walk to Get Smart fundraising goal.
“What we did was enter a community partnership,” Milrod said of both the school district and larger communities. “Smart Board technology is something that will benefit the entire community.”
Aside from the Simon Says station, all exercise stations were manned by UMEF volunteers, as well as volunteers from the Upper Moreland High School’s two service organizations: Key Club and Interact Club.
One such student, Interact Club member Kyle Gallagher, saw the opportunity to volunteer as a way to show appreciation for the community involvement.
“I’m extreamly grateful," Kyle, a UMHS junior, said. “This is the year that we use a lot of technology, and that technology will prepare us for real life and college.”
The UMEF will present the Upper Moreland School board with a check with the total amount raised during the Walk to Get Smart campaign at the regular school board meeting May 22.
The Upper Moreland Education Foundation is currently looking for board member positions. If interested, and for more information, visit http://www.umef.org/.