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Summertime is a great time, in the Prescott Unified School District, to reflect on the past and get excited about the future.  This summer is no exception, and we have been busy with diving into data, adjusting goals, and orchestrating focused retreats to rededicate to our mission as the world changes.  One of those retreats was with the vibrant and industrious Board of the Prescott Unified School District Education Foundation. The more I reflect on this group and what they have accomplished, the more I realize that being a part of its creation and successful operation is one of the points of my career that I am most proud of.  The PUSD Education Foundation is an exemplary model of community support to the direct education of our local children.

The PUSD Education Foundation was born out of the failed 2013 bond and override.  Frustrated by the lack of support, inadequate funding and uneven subsidization of charter schools from the State of Arizona, a group of parents, retirees and professionals said, “Let’s take it into our own hands.”  Those founding members were largely responsible for the passing of the 2015 bond and override that many across the state said could never be done in Prescott. At the same time, those founding members were lining up a 501c3, a solid set of bylaws, a

nd a passionate, hardworking board that quickly launched into an array of support for our PUSD students and Teachers.  The outcome? Just finishing its fourth year, the foundation is averaging over $100,000 per year into the classrooms of PUSD.

Touting that “public schools are everyone’s responsibility,” the board and its supporters helped to lead our Prescott community to take some local control of our schools.  The recently updated motto of the foundation is, “Ignite, Connect, Elevate.” The vision is that, “Every student will have a fully funded and innovative education to ensure stronger character and long term success.”  Many of you have heard me say or write that PUSD is surrounded and supported by an incredibly generous community, and that we would not be who we are without the support of our voters, service clubs, our City, Chamber, businesses, families and retirees.  I could go on. The PUSD Education Foundation is a shining example of the generosity and local support of Prescott, dedicated solely to the PUSD students and teachers.

The focus on helping to innovate in the classroom has led to over $74,500 of “Innovative Teacher Grants” in PUSD programs for everything from an Engineering Science Program at Prescott High, to a Video Media Lab at Mile High Middle School, and Robotics and Coding at Abia Judd Elementary, where Embry Riddle Students are assisting in the roll-out.  In addition to the teacher grants, the foundation supports PUSD through a college and career digital platform called “Naviance” for grades 7-12, a “Kids at Hope” district-wide culture program, where we believe that, “All kids are capable of success… no exceptions,” campus beautification, technology, and much more. They also have a “Rising Stars” program to “tell the PUSD story” through highlighting our ‘above and beyond’ students and the teacher who most affected their lives.

While I could write about the amazing things that the PUSD Education Foundation has done for pages and pages, I will leave you with homework.  Get involved. Support your local public district schools and take it into your own hands like the foundation has done: pusdeducationfoundation.com

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