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11:32 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

PUSD Education Foundation to honor Prescott school district's teachers

PRESCOTT – More than two dozen community members are behind a nonprofit aimed at supporting Prescott Unified School District.

Now it its second year, the Prescott Unified School District Education Foundation grew out of the 2013 failed bond and override effort.

“It’s really a big deal to have these to have these incredible, working parents who want to do more,” executive committee member Cheryl Fernandez said. “It really was our families that came to us and said, ‘We want to do more.’”

“It grew out of a lot of frustration about education funding,” added executive committee member Krista Carman.

The foundation, which is a nonprofit charitable organization, is one way community members can contribute more than the $400 tax-credit limit they can donate directly to the school district.

Funds donated to the foundation make their way into classrooms through grants the foundation awards either directly to the district or to individual teachers.

In early April, teachers in PUSD will learn whether they’ll receive funding requests from the foundation. The grant award winners will have a visit from foundation members, accompanied by the high school marching band drumline.

“We’re going to go from school to school and surprise the teachers,” Carman said.

Individual teachers applied for up to $1,000 and teams of teachers applied for as much as $5,000.

PUSD Superintendent Joe Howard, also a foundation executive committee member, said the higher awards for teams of teachers dovetails with the district’s efforts in teacher collaboration.

Foundation leaders said they intend to award grants every semester as a way of sustaining ongoing innovation in PUSD classrooms.

“Eventually, we want to hit every school,” Carman said.

In May, the foundation will present its inaugural Rising Stars award at an invitation-only banquet.

The foundation asked 20 of Prescott High School’s outstanding seniors to nominate a district teacher or staff member who impacted their lives.

“We’re going to recognize them at this banquet,” Fernandez said.

They’re already seeking sponsors in Prescott’s business community, and hope events like the banquet will raise the foundation’s profile.

The foundation also plans as part of its annual campaign in August and September to contact each family of a PUSD student, with a request of every family becoming a supporter – even if it’s just $1 – as a way of involving more of the school community.

The foundation’s board now includes 26 members, and they’ve formed partnerships with other charitable groups, including the Harold James Family Trust in preparing for the next round of grants in the fall.

For more information about the foundation, visit http://pusdeducationfoundation.com/