I promise to stop talking about treasures that keep turning up in the basement, but I do want to mention this last one. It isn’t about writing. It’s about when a small group of us started the Springfield Public School Foundation (later changed to Foundation for Springfield Public Schools) in 1990. In a folder I found the memorandum from Tom Field addressed to Larry Dixon, David Harrison, and Jackie McKinsey suggesting we pick a date for our organizational meeting. What we had the privilege of starting has grown over these past 29 years as described on the Foundation website:
“Since its beginning in 1990, the Foundation has worked with our generous donors and volunteers, the community, district administrators and teachers to put dollars exactly where they are needed – in classrooms to fund new technology, innovative learning projects, scholarships for graduating seniors, and many more, powerful tools for education.
What began with a handful of volunteers, putting together a Foundation that would take donations and manage funds to benefit the schools, has grown to become a Foundation that manages over $5 million and more than 150 funds and scholarships.
To date, the Foundation has given more than $17 million to the Springfield Public Schools and its students to accomplish the Foundation’s mission to raise, manage and distribute private investment to benefit the students of Springfield Public Schools.
The vision of the Foundation is to promote educational excellence for every child by working with the public school system and the community.
Among the Foundation’s landmark achievements are the Telethon for Technology, the annual Teacher Appreciation Banquet, annual Back to School grants program and Pick-a-Project – an online, fundraising site for teacher-submitted, classroom projects.
In 2016, the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools ranked number seven out of 188 of the top education foundations in “Stepping Up: The Nation’s Top K-12 Education Foundations 2016.”
I stood in the basement for some time, holding the folder in my hands and reading again after all these years our original documents of intent as we organized for the future. I felt taller when I came back up the stairs.
I’m off to the library today to make a one-minute video for a kindergarten teacher in Florida.
One of her favorite storybooks as a child was PIGGY WIGLET’S GREAT ADVENTURE and she still uses it, along with WAKE UP, SUN! A MONSTER IS COMING!, and WHEN COWS COME HOME, to help her students develop vocabulary and reading skills.
I’m delighted to know of another fan of PIGGY and am happy to make the video for her. My thanks to Krissy Sinor, Training Coordinator at The Edge Community Technology Center, Midtown Carnegie Branch Library, for facilitating my video, and to Kathleen O’Dell, Community Relations Director at Springfield-Greene County Library District, for being there to take me through it.
Now that Mary Jo Fresch and I are fully engaged in writing our new book, it’s time to identify some teachers who would like to participate by trying some specific activities with their students based on the book and sharing the results with us for potential publication. This time we’re writing about vocabulary development for students in grades 3-5.
Here’s how Mary Jo expressed it in a note to some of her teacher friends. “Hi! Thanks for considering helping out….we need field testing of the lessons and student samples. Any student samples you can provide (along with parental approval) could be included in the book. You and your students will be acknowledged in the book. We are thinking we will have something by end of March to send to you… If there are any other teachers in your building (or district) that you think would be interested, just let me know. You can invite them…copy me…or I can email them – whatever you think is best.”
I know already that Ken Slesarik in Arizona and Susan Hutchens in Colorado are on board. Please help me add to the list by letting me know of your interest and/or telling other teachers about the opportunity.
Another step today toward a new book for teachers co-authored with Mary Jo Fresch. We received a form to complete and return to our editor, which will lead to an official contract being issued in the coming days.
This is another project that will call for student writing samples so after the first of the year we’ll be looking for teachers who would like to participate.
We’ve tentatively agreed to complete our work by next summer. The length is to be in the 150 page range.