The Public Education Foundation
'Kids First,' I have said this before, but this truly sums up what I believe the foundation of education reform in this country needs to be built upon. If every piece of legislation passed was centered on this fundamental principle, we can truly begin to equip all students with an education that will serve them well throughout their life.
The Public Education Foundation (PEF) of Evansville shares this conviction. They believe that a high quality public education is essential to the economic, cultural and civic health of society. This organization, along with many others in our community, works hard every day to support public education. They fund a litany of meaningful projects for students, help garner community support for public education and reward innovation in schools.
Last year was a pivotal year for this organization; they celebrated 25 years of service to the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation. They opened their operation in 1985 and since then have awarded more than $6.3 million in grants and have funded over 16,000 projects which have benefitted over 300,000 students. These are impressive numbers that show just how vital this organization is to spurring innovation within this school corporation.
Reaching students through their direct-to- students funding is what PEF is most proud of. They have accomplished this though classroom grant and program funding. A few of the initiatives they have funded are classroom enrichment grants, teacher professional development grants, House Building Project, Summer Musical Program, Academic Super Bowl, Middle School Speech, and scholarships for seniors.
In honor of reaching 25 years, PEF awarded $25,000 in large grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. These grants are funding projects occurring this year with the intention that they will be sustainable projects that have long term benefits and impact the school community at large.
Cynthia Heights Elementary School was awarded a $5,000 grant to implement Project P.L.A.N.T (Promote Learning and Achievement through Nature and Technology). This is an interdisciplinary project that will affect 511 students between the grades of kindergarten to 5th grade by creating an outdoor greenhouse to serve as a classroom. Students will be actively involved in all stages of the growing process by nurturing seeds into robust plants through this incredibly tactile project. Once plants hit maturity, many of them will be donated to their neighbors at Pine Haven Nursing Home. This is just one example of the many enriching programs that this organization funds.
PEF supports, encourages and advocates for innovation in our public schools. They are helping lead the charge for change within in classrooms by giving educators the resources they need to make their ideas for student-centered innovation a reality in their classrooms. Constant innovation within our schools will help to ensure all students graduating from high school receive a high quality education.