One of the great joys in my job is helping schools celebrate transformations in their building as a result of philanthropic investment. Today, Hillcrest Elementary hosted a press conference and tours of brand-new libraries in every classroom in the school. The Book Nooks are filled with over 13,000 books, colorful lamps, comfy seating areas and relaxing pillows and beanbags, all designed to give every child the opportunity to read books of their choice in a setting that encourages a love of reading.
After some moving remarks from Principal Angelia Askins about what these libraries will mean for her students, PEF President Dan Challener described the gift that made them possible. The Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children was established to infuse resources for the direct benefit of children into the nation’s most economically challenged schools. Mrs. Annenberg, a renowned philanthropist and dedicated public servant, wished for the Fund to “help children shine brightly.” Hillcrest was awarded $100,000 for the establishment of Book Nooks in their building, joining Hardy, Clifton Hills, Rivermont, Calvin Donaldson, and Brown Academy as schools enriched by the generosity of The Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children.
Superintendent Rick Smith congratulated the faculty and staff of Hillcrest on their vision for the project, which demonstrates the passion Hamilton County educators have for their craft and their students. Finally, two students served as tour guides through fifth and first grade classrooms – see them through the photos below.
Congratulations to the entire Hillcrest family!
- Shannon Edmondson, Development & Communications Officer
On Tuesday, Oct. 29th from 12pm-1pm, PEF will host a October College Knowledge Lunch Break on “What Colleges are Looking for in Applicants.” This session will be fun and interactive: there will be a case study simulation where participants are guided through an admissions scenario and provided the opportunity to review applicant files and collectively make decisions on their status. The Case Studies model is replicated across the country for parents and counselors to get a true understanding of the admission process and how challenging and multifaceted the process is.
Come join us (and bring a friend). Lunch is available for $5 – register online today!
- Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President of College and Career Success
PEF’s Empowering Males for Success “Men of Color” Conference will be held Wednesday, June 19 at CSAS (view map). This half-day event begins with registration at 8:30 am, the conference runs from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and lunch will be served.
This conference is an opportunity for young men (rising high school seniors in c/o 2014, graduating seniors in c/o 2013, and current college students) to be engaged and network with each other as well as influential professionals and community leaders.
We hope to empower participants to be successful in their post-secondary pursuits by providing a healthy and open environment to build on their academic and personal resiliency inside and outside of school. Conference sessions will reflect innovative work, ideas, and strategies so more men of color will achieve their dreams and succeed.
Conference sessions will include topics such as:
For more information, contact Janice Neal at 423-668-2423 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 12 million STEM-related job openings are expected in the United States by 2015. Currently for every three science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related job openings in Tennessee, there is only one qualified applicant. This means the U.S. and Tennessee must produce more college graduates and highly skilled workers. In addition, STEM is not only for people who want to become scientists, engineers or doctors; it incorporates skills important for all students.
PEF believes that by prioritizing STEM education and the skills it emphasizes our economy will grow, jobs will be created, and we will able to develop and retain high quality talent from public schools across the region.
A buffet lunch is available for $5; you must register online by June 8 to reserve your lunch. You may also bring your own lunch if you prefer.
For more information, contact Janice Neal at 423.668.2423
Please mark Wednesday, May 22 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm on your calendar for the “How to Support Your Student in College” session, part of our College Knowledge lunch-and-learn workshop series. You can register online through May 20.
Understanding adolescent and young adult development is a must for effective parents and educators. As students prepare for college they will face challenges – some of which they are prepared for and some of which they’re not. This new way of looking at growing up will help parents understand the pressures students are feeling. The session will include a panel of college students for Q&A. Afterwards, parents will have a fresh perspective on their changing role as their emerging adults plan for and start college.
Please feel free to circulate this flier to others you think would be interested in learning more about this topic.
We hope to see you there!
- Janice Neal, Program Associate, College and Career Success
One by one, students described their old playground: “The slides would burn your skin. The equipment was rusty and would cut you. There were wood chips everywhere and they got in your socks and shoes.”
In front of a beautiful, modern, and functional new space, students, funders, and faculty dedicated the new playground at Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy this morning surrounded by parents and other invited guests.
With a gift of $100,000 from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children and a match of $50,000 gift from the Benwood Foundation, Public Education Foundation, Hamilton County Department of Education and Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy transformed the school’s playground and science lab into places for hands-on STEM learning.
“We wanted our outdoor area and the science lab to inspire our students,” states Becky Coleman, principal of Calvin Donaldson. “The playground and nature area is a shared space with the intent to bring students and community members together around a school of excellence. Additionally, the science lab is now an engaging space for STEM hands-on learning that connects directly to Calvin Donaldson’s environmental science focus.”
“Leonore Annenberg was committed to improving the lives of children, particularly those living in poverty,” says PEF president Dan Challener. “This grant certainly underscores the heart of her mission to provide students resources to help them shine brightly. We are thrilled to see this and Benwood’s investment launch two new facilities to encourage hands-on environmental science learning for students.”
After the ceremony, guests were invited to tour the new science lab with student docents. The lab features plant nurseries, new equipment such as microscopes, and a Promethean board, as well as new tables, chairs, and bright paint.
PEF is proud to partner with Calvin Donaldson, the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, Benwood Foundation, and Hamilton County to provide these students with a place to work and play that they so richly deserve!
- Shannon Edmondson, Development & Communications Officer
Project Inspire is looking for outstanding grade 4-8 math and science teachers to serve as year-long mentors in our teacher residency program.
It is an extensive focus on preparation that makes the residency model different from any other program in education. From beginning to end, every aspect of the model is designed to provide teachers the knowledge, skills and disposition they need to make an immediate impact in the urban classroom — a difference every one of their students can feel.
To learn more, join us for a Clinical Instructor Information Session:
Tuesday, February 19
4:45 – 6:00 pm
PEF Holmberg Leadership Center, 3rd Floor
100 E. 10th Street
Be sure to RSVP so we can have materials ready for you. Please share this with great teachers you know across the district!
- Mark Neal, Director, STEM Teacher Residencies
College Goal Tennessee is a program designed to offer free assistance to students and parents applying for financial aid to go to college.
Upcoming programs in our area include:
For many high school students, lack of information about how to pay for college has discouraged them from applying. It’s critical that students and families have access to the information and resources needed to help them explore educational opportunities. Please help us spread the word about College Goal Tennessee!
- Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President, College and Career Success
We believe that great public education is necessary for our city – for any city – to thrive. But what is the best way to transform public education? Within the world of education policy there are competing and opposing viewpoints on how to best approach education reform. With no “silver bullet” that will solve every issue in public education, we must promote dialogue about different approaches to ensure all students have access to great public education.
Last year, PEF partnered with the Benwood Foundation and UTC for the Hunter Lecture Series to present Michelle Rhee and her ideas on putting students first in the classroom. On Tuesday, September 18th at 7 PM in Roland Hayes Auditorium at UTC, PEF is pleased to partner again with this group to present Diane Ravitch. Drawing on her forty years of research and experience, Ravitch questions the use of punitive accountability to fire teachers and shut down schools, the effectiveness of charter schools, and the funneling of private money to reform failing schools.
In a city where private foundations have invested enormous amounts of money to help improve public education and in a state where teacher evaluations are based on testing accountability, Ravitch is sure to stir up emotions among the community. But that’s okay – let’s start the conversation about what works, what doesn’t, and how we can all work together to transform public education.
For a sneak peek into what to expect, take a look at this video.