Tahoe Truckee education foundation awards $245,000 this school year | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Truckee education foundation awards $245,000 this school year

Shelly Purdy
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. — As the school year winds to a close, the Excellence in Education Foundation would like to thank the individuals who contributed to the Foundation by becoming a Friend of Education and those in the community who have supported us throughout this year by purchasing Skiing for Schools lift tickets, Dining for Schools restaurant cards and Golfing for Schools cards (still on sale), and the businesses whose support make these programs possible.

Through these many fundraising efforts, the Foundation was able to award $245,000 in grants to classroom teachers and the school district this academic year.

Those grants directly impact students by providing funds that their teachers use for additional academic support, classroom materials, supplies for unique and creative learning projects, and more. Nearly a third of the total funding awarded was given to directly fund three critical programs at the district level.

In all, $50,000 was awarded to the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District to expand its one-to-one Chromebook program. The goal of the district is to provide every student in fourth through 12th grades with their own Chromebook by the 2017-18 academic year, and the Foundation has been supporting the Chromebook program since its inception in 2013.

"The Excellence in Education Foundation has long been in support of creating a technology vision that brings the tools necessary for students to succeed in a 21st century classroom environment," says Foundation executive director Laura Abbey Brown.

Two other signature programs the Foundation has committed to funding include the Aim High summer learning program and Challenge Day for the 2016-17 school year.

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Aim High is designed to close the opportunity gap for under-resourced middle schoolers. It is a free summer learning program that combines rigorous academics with fun enrichment opportunities, social/emotional support, and leadership training during the summer break.

This summer, an estimated 160 middle schoolers from throughout the school district will attend the 6-week program. Aim High has made a big impact on the students who have participated in the program, with teachers reporting fewer disciplinary problems and higher grades from their Aim High students.

The program is paid for through charitable donations and other fundraising efforts. For the 2016 summer program, the Foundation allocated $15,000 in funding.

Challenge Day is a unique program that reaches every ninth-grade student at the beginning of the school year. Challenge Day is an intense full-day experience that guides ninth-graders through a process of building connections with their peers, teaching kids about empathy, compassion and positive change.

Challenge Day has proven to be a highly impactful event for high school freshmen. But the event is only one day. Teachers and administrators wanted to find a way to build on the impact of Challenge Day throughout the year but realized they need additional training and tools to accomplish that.

The Foundation allocated $17,800 to fund Challenge Days at both North Tahoe and Truckee High Schools this fall and to fund additional staff development.

The nonprofit Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation works to enhances public education within TTUSD. We provide over $250,000 annually in classroom support through grants, resources, and partnerships that directly benefit students and teachers.

Shelly Purdy is an Excellence in Education board member. Visit exined.org to learn more.