by Krista Carman, President, PUSD Education Foundation
Education is everyone’s business. In 2013, a group of professionals and parents decided to try to make a dent in a big problem – the neglected and underfunded public school system in Prescott. Of course, all Arizona public schools suffered from years of budget cuts at the state level, but this particular group loved Prescott and had a passion to give back to our community. The vision was to make our Prescott schools a shining example of what a public school can be, in turn attracting and retaining great teachers, educating wonderful children and increasing the quality of life for all Prescott residents.
Prescott schools are unique in that they are exceptionally high achieving, despite the pitiful funding. However, what could these schools and teachers do if they had the opportunity to fund their dreams for their campuses and students? The PUSD Education Foundation intended to find out.
The PUSD Education Foundation officially launched in 2015. Since that time, The Foundation has donated over $43,000 to better our public schools. The Foundation receives private, business and grant donations to support its work. The mission of the PUSD Education Foundation is to collaborate with PUSD to provide excellence in education, to promote innovation in teaching and to partner with the community to enhance the quality of education for all students.
The Foundation has been able to award innovative teaching grants to worthy educators during each semester of its existence. The grants have provided much-needed technology, robotics labs, specialized math curriculum, high school-level fine arts curriculum and much more. The Foundation also awards grants to campuses for beautification projects, as many of the PUSD buildings are historic and in need of some improvements – and these are no longer funded by the state.
Most recently, PUSD has adopted a new philosophy of culture – Kids At Hope. Kids At Hope is a cultural shift in the schools, which provides every adult (staff and volunteer) with the tools and resources to communicate to students the belief that every child has hope and can succeed – no exceptions. Kids At Hope is a twist on the frequently used phrase, “kids at risk.” Children cannot control their risk factors (divorce, low income, single-parent homes, learning disabilities, etc.) but the hope can be controlled by loving adults in the lives of our children.
The PUSD Education Foundation is proudly supporting and partnering with PUSD and the Margaret T Morris Foundation to bring Kids At Hope to our schools. This new culture launched with the start of the 2017-18 school year. Antwone Fisher, a notable poet, author, screenwriter (known for his 2002 film autobiography, “Antwone Fisher”) and Kids At Hope board member, spoke at the PUSD convocation, and shared his at-risk story. He described how the risk was turned around by just a few caring adults who chose to give him hope.
The PUSD Education Foundation is thrilled to be a small part of a big community change. If you would like to volunteer, donate or be a part of something amazing, please contact us through our webpage pusdeducationfoundation.com