One District: All In
Dear Friends –
In March, All Hands Raised recognized 20 years of our shared work to support education, equity and excellence throughout Multnomah County at the 20th Anniversary Roast. It was a chance to celebrate our shared accomplishments to support kids throughout our community and to reflect on over 20 years stewarding PPS parent-led fundraising to support teaching and learning in PPS. Today, I am pleased to share with you the continued impact of these fundraising activities across Portland Public Schools.
Last year PPS parents raised $3.25 million through 42 active Local School Foundations. Of this $898,000 was awarded to 39 PPS Schools and four alternative programs for the 2015-16 school year. These awards are determined by an equity-focused data-driven formula that takes into account the demographics and financial situation of all PPS schools. This model where parents raise funds that support students both at their own school and at schools throughout the district is a national model for prioritizing fairness in raising private funds for public schools. Many school districts from across the country are inspired by our local practices, but few have the courage to implement such concrete public education values.
Last week, principals of schools that received a grant for the coming year gathered to share ideas, impacts and insights. Voices from that room reminded us of the amazing impact of these PPS parent-raised funds. For example, at Grout Elementary School they are using their 2014-15 grant to improve school climate and reduce disproportionate discipline in their school by partnering with Playworks.
“Coach Chelsea (Playworks) is a vital part of improving the school culture at Grout,” said Principal Annie Tabshy. “I have seen a significant reduction in student issues, especially at lunch recess because of Coach Chelsea and the Playworks program. And what is so wonderful is that the positive recess experience carries into our classrooms improving the focus and ability to learn of our students.”
Due to the generosity of New Seasons Market, the Roy Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, the Demorest Family Foundation and many individuals, 100% of the funds raised by parents go directly into PPS schools.
On behalf of the team at All Hands Raised, thank you for engaging with our schools, our classrooms and our students. Your work is making a difference across PPS. In fact, 396 PPS teachers and staff are funded in part or in full in the 2014-15 school year by Local School Foundation investments. Let us be proud for a moment that we continue to make it a priority to care about kids in every neighborhood in the district.