Ellen DeGeneres funds tech room in North Bergen school

Comedian joins Walmart to bankroll McKinley Elementary School project

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Photo by Art Schwartz
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Photo By Art Schwartz
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Photo by Art Schwartz.
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North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco helped cut the ribbon on the new tech room at McKinley Elementary School funded by Ellen DeGeneres. Photo by Art Schwartz.
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Photo by Art Schwartz
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Photo By Art Schwartz
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Photo by Art Schwartz.
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North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco helped cut the ribbon on the new tech room at McKinley Elementary School funded by Ellen DeGeneres. Photo by Art Schwartz.

McKinley Elementary School in North Bergen has a new technology room, thanks to the generosity of Ellen DeGeneres and Walmart.

In 2018, during “Read Across America Week,” the students of McKinley School posted a video asking Ellen to come read to them. The video soon went viral, and Ellen and her team took notice. Two teachers, Ms. Morgana and Ms. Saab, were invited to the Ellen Show, where they were presented with a generous donation of $50,000 from Ellen and Walmart.

These funds were used to create a bright and attractive, state-of-the-art learning environment equipped with audiovisual technology, robotics, collaborative work spaces, coding technology, and dozens more activities.

Within this engaging space, children as young as kindergarten have the opportunity to begin learning to code and participate in activities related to science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). Older students help mentor younger ones in a flexible curriculum designed to foster collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Mayor Nicholas Sacco cut the ribbon officially inaugurating the room in late November, accompanied by School Superintendent Dr. George Solter, Township Commissioner Hugo Cabrera, Freeholder Anthony Vainieri, Assemblyman Pedro Mejia, and assorted teachers, administrators, and students at the school.

The ceremony was followed by a tour of the room, where the officials met students ages 5-12 years old participating in various projects. Some students were learning to code robots, while others played Beethoven on a working piano they made from cardboard. Still others programmed Makeblock neurons, produced videos using a green screen, played the guitar on a Jamstik, or used The Slate to digitize drawings.