Rutgers Prep Announces Endowed Gift to Name the D’Aloia Center for Teaching and Learning Support

A recent gift from the D’Aloia Family Foundation will position Rutgers Preparatory School to deepen and expand its commitment to the instructional processes available to its students. The endowed gift to name the D’Aloia Center for Teaching and Learning Support will provide, in perpetuity, the funding needed to broaden the current academic support program into a more robust platform for both teachers and students. “This endowed gift is a huge benefit to our students in the Center as we can provide more specialized and one-on-one support for students and families,” said Sara Nardulli, Director of Learning Support at Rutgers Prep. The transformative gift will allow the School to bring in more support and tools for students through programs like Learning Ally, and will also provide more training for teachers and parents through speakers and professional development programs sponsored by the D’Aloia Center.

“I feel like they have a good foundation there,” said Jonelle Marchese, a current parent at Rutgers Prep and Vice President of the D’Aloia Family Foundation, “but they could use some financial support to either expand it or just do things that they wanted to do and couldn't do for one reason or another.” Marchese’s parents established the Foundation in 2008, and she and her sister sit on the board with them to help direct philanthropic gifts to worthy organizations and charities. “My parents are very big on supporting medical [organizations] and supporting education,” she said. “There's a family history of struggles in education, so we want to make sure that we support schools that are good at recognizing that and are forward thinking in helping these kids.”

The Marchese family joined the Rutgers Prep community in 2018 when they were looking for a high school for their son. After attending an Open House based on the recommendation from the Head of their other son’s school, they were convinced that Rutgers Prep was the ideal match. Since then, they have continued to be impressed by the dedication of the school and its faculty in supporting students. “In high school, you need to have somebody that supports you, that also helps you to understand how you learn and what to do when you need help, because there won’t always be somebody there to do that for you, and that's what Rutgers Prep provides,” said Marchese. “I've not run into a teacher that doesn't really care about what a student is going through, or if they’re struggling.”

Looking ahead, Sara Nardulli is eager to explore new avenues and approaches that the D’Aloia Center will be able to take, not just for the students who benefit from the Center’s services, but those in the greater community as well. “I am thrilled that we will be able to expand the ways in which we support students and families, with our continued focus on developing self-advocacy skills and helping students reach their full potential,” she said. “I am also excited about the ways in which we'll be able to support not just students in our Center, but also broaden our reach to provide programming for the greater community around important skills for success like executive functioning.”

One of the ways in which the D’Aloia Center can now broaden its reach is by sponsoring professional development opportunities and guest speakers, like recent virtual sessions for faculty and parents with Caroline Maguire, a researcher and speaker whose expertise is in social skills and interaction. Maguire was able to offer teachers and families practical advice on supporting students who may be struggling in this area. There is much more opportunity on the horizon, and Rutgers Prep is already making use of the resources that the generosity of the D’Aloia Family Foundation has provided.

“The D'Aloia Center for Teaching and Learning Support is an essential and vital component of the school’s mission,” said Steven Loy, Head of School at Rutgers Prep. “Our community is composed of students with a full range of interests and our Pre-K-12 program is designed to offer our students access to activities so that they can discover and pursue their passions, embrace intellectual curiosity and creativity, and lead with confidence. As a result, some activities may be familiar and quite comfortable while other activities may be challenging. The D'Aloia Center for Teaching and Learning Support celebrates the cognitive talents and individuality of each student and provides structure so that when challenged, students can identify their academic and personal strengths. The endowed gift means that Rutgers Preparatory School can continue to elevate our support of students in the pursuit of their academic and personal goals.”