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6:47 PM Tue, Sept. 25th

PUSD Foundation poised to grow with decision to hire executive director

Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Joe Howard leads a drumline and members of the Prescott Education Foundation through Prescott High School as they went around on Friday, December 9 to district schools and handed out checks to teachers who had applied and received grants for special projects. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier, file)

Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Joe Howard leads a drumline and members of the Prescott Education Foundation through Prescott High School as they went around on Friday, December 9 to district schools and handed out checks to teachers who had applied and received grants for special projects. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier, file)

In three years, the Prescott Unified School District Education Foundation has become a staple in the school system.

Not only has the foundation funneled thousands of dollars into classrooms and incentive programs, but it has proved a strong community advocate for elevating education to the place of high regard its volunteer advocates say it deserves.

With the marching band as their processional, foundation and district leaders celebrate with flair the awards of teacher grants twice a year at the six district schools — grants have enabled teachers to buy audio/visual equipment, library books, math computers, launch a high school college-preparatory engineering course and give middle school students a taste of what it’s like to problem solve their way out of an “escape” room. The foundation’s first grant cycle distributed $12,000; last spring it awarded $22,000.

Each year, the foundation celebrates the success of students who thanks to a favorite teacher or staff mentor are able to overcome obstacles to attain a 3.5 or better grade average.

The event is known as the “Rising Stars” banquet held at the Prescott Lakes Country Club.

The foundation’s latest gift to the district is a grade 7 to 12 career program called Naviance that will allow counselors to work with students on exploring career and college opportunities. The program offers a “dashboard” that students can use electronically to check in and do assessments to research various careers and college preparatory information.

“We’re really excited about this partnership,” said Superintendent Joe Howard.

Howard said the foundation has been instrumental in supporting the district for the last three years, and intends to continue to do so into the future.

The foundation now has an office off the lobby of the district offices at Washington School, and soon will move from an all-volunteer endeavor to one with a paid executive director. Howard said the search for that individual is now underway.

“It’s hard to believe what they’ve done in just three years,” Howard said.

Efforts to reach foundation leadership on Wednesday afternoon was not successful.

In other board business, the Governing Board endorsed a first-time trip for four high school auto shop students to attend a national automotive show for students to be held in Las Vegas. The board was impressed with the educational opportunities the conference will afford, as well as the opportunity for students to interact with some 2,000 other students, automakers, famous car enthusiasts and interact with more than 2,400 exhibiting companies. Students will also attend a career fair where they learn about what the industry has for future employment opportunities.

The trip is scheduled for Oct. 29-31. The school’s auto club has raised money over the years that will be used to cover the costs to attend — the show registration is $40 per student.

Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter @HutsonNanci. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 2041.