Excellence in Schools Local funding in action in Lake Tahoe and Truckee communities | SierraSun.com

Excellence in Schools Local funding in action in Lake Tahoe and Truckee communities

Shelly Purdy
Special to the Sun

Glenshire Elementary student’s exploring with the virtual reality goggles funded by Excellence in Education Foundation.

If you've been in the area long enough, and particularly if you have school-aged kids, you've hopefully heard of the Excellence in Education Foundation.

If not, you've probably seen signs or have heard about some of the foundation's signature programs like Dining for Schools, Skiing for Schools and Golfing for Schools. All of those programs are designed to offer a benefit to the purchaser in the form of discounts on dining, skiing, and golf.

And, thanks to the generosity of local restaurants, golf courses, and ski resorts, the foundation has the ability to raise tens of thousands of dollars each year through those programs.

So where does the money go? It goes directly into the hands of teachers to help them pay for their individual ideas. Ideas like a "kitchen cart" that can roll from classroom to classroom so kids can learn about math, science, and nutrition while cooking up a delicious meal.

A class set of virtual reality goggles was funded allowing students to go on virtual expeditions, such as trips to the International Space Station, which enhances their learning experience. The money also pays for supplementary items like leveled reading books, physical education equipment, and science lab materials.

Additionally, the foundation partners with the school district to fund larger initiatives. Since 2013, the foundation has awarded a total of $218,500 directly to the district to help implement the rollout of the one-to-one Chromebook program. The program started small by providing Chromebooks to eighth-grade classrooms. Over the years, the program has expanded, and starting the next school year all fourth- through 12th-graders will be assigned their own Chromebook to use for schoolwork.

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The foundation also supports programs that operate peripherally to the school district, but make an impact on Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD) students. For the past three years, the foundation has awarded $10,000 a year to the Boys and Girls Club to help get their Truckee after school program up and running.

In an effort to provide local students with continuing academic and enrichment opportunities throughout the summer months, the foundation has awarded $85,000 in grant funding to Aim High over the past five years. Aim High is a highly acclaimed summer program designed for middle school aged students.

The specific needs of teachers and students change from year to year, but for the past 30 years the Excellence in Education Foundation has been filling in the gaps to help teachers and the school district fund their creative ideas, big and small. On average, the foundation awards $250,000 in grants and educator awards each year.

If you would like to help the foundation continue its mission of supporting our local students you have a lot of options. Golfing for Schools cards are now on sale. Or you can become a friend of Education. For more information, visit our website at http://www.exined.org.

Shelly Purdy is an Excellence in Education board member.