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Parents Donate $4.4 Million to Palo Alto Schools

Partners in Education unites force of 4,500 donors to preserve school funding

Palo Alto students are about to see a big cash infusion into local schools.

Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE) announced a $4.4 million grant to the at their board meeting last night.

The money comes from more than 4,500 parents, community members and businesses, and represents an annual tradition for the education foundation, which benefits Palo Alto public schools, said PiE Communications Director Andrea Fleming in a statement Tuesday.

The gift comes at a crucial time for local schools, which are facing budget cuts caused by a statewide budget shortfall.

PiE foundation’s annual education grants to PAUSD fund both programs and dozens of teach and staff positions. The 2012 grant will pay for classroom support and science and art specialists in elementary schools; student counseling, teacher coaches and elective enrichment in middle schools; and college and career counseling, student guidance and technology education at Gunn and Paly, according to the statement.

All students will benefit from the grant since PiE dollars are allocated on a per student basis, according to the statement.

“On behalf of the district, I am both grateful and inspired by the generosity of this community in its support for our schools,” said PAUSD Superintendent Dr. Kevin Skelly.  “In these tough state-wide economic conditions, donations to our schools via the PiE education foundation fill many gaps and keep our schools well rounded and competitive.”

“This grant demonstrates a community-wide commitment to preserving Palo Alto’s high caliber schools," said Elaine Hahn, president of PiE. "Parents and community members alike trust PiE as the central, accepted and sustainable way to preserve school funding. I am tremendously grateful to our donors – and enormously proud of PiE’s more than 100 volunteers.”

Focus on Aides, Arts and Science at Elementary Schools

Palo Alto’s 12 public elementary schools and Young 5s program will benefit from $2.35 million in classroom support, arts instruction, and science enrichment. The grant will pay for 100 percent of PAUSD’s funding for Spectra Art, the district’s elementary art program.

The grant will also fund classroom aides and support, which will allow for unique instruction for small groups. And PiE’s supplemental science funding will enable “hands-on discovery for budding elementary scientists,” according to the statement.

Middle Schools to receive Counselors, Electives, and Mentors

The three Palo Alto middle schools will see a combined $850,000 in funding for student counseling, teacher coaches and elective enrichment.  The PiE grant money will make more counselors available to students, allowing counselors to ‘loop, ’or stay with the same students throughout their middle school years, according to the statement.   

The money will also go to pay for electives such as chorus, creative writing, public speaking and an accelerated industrial tech.

Counselors, Guidance, and Electives at Gunn and Paly

PAUSD’s two high schools will get a combined $1.2 million for college & career counseling, student guidance, and career/technology education. PiE funds will support additional college and career counselor time, which PiE says will help all students plan for their future. 

The grant will also fund LinkCrew at Palo Alto High School, a program that unites students by training select juniors and seniors on leadership, then pairing them with freshmen at orientation and all year long, according to the statement.

Additionaly, career and technology electives like Engineering, Biotechnology, and an online Java programming class will receive funding. The classes are designed to help prepare high school students for unique opportunities beyond which they may be prepared for by traditional classes.

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