The Park City Education Foundation celebrates another year of funding for teacher inspired innovative ideas and programs. Phonics based reading, Elementary School coding and PC CAPS are examples of successful programs originally funded by the Ed Foundation. The foundation contributes up to $1.5 million to the school district to help fund the Ideas to Impact program.
Susan Beason is the Trailside Elementary School Librarian and she started the worker space program about six years ago. She says a library is much more than books. With a grant from the Ed Foundation, she brought in brain games and building materials.
“The best thing about the whole program is seeing different kids work together, kids that you'd never expect to work together, to build something and solve problems together and talk to each other and be excited about things. We have very few rules. The rules are you work together, you include everybody, anybody that wants to join, you include. You solve problems together and you finish what you start.”
Abby McNulty is the Executive Director of the Park City Education Foundation and she says the Bright Futures Program began several years ago as a support program to help first generation kids attend and graduate from college. They have 23 kids graduating who started in 10th grade three years ago. 100 percent have been accepted to college for the fall.
“The program doesn’t end after they graduate from high school. The program follows them for an additional four years so the trust that was built in high school in the systems of navigating resources and speaking up and asking questions. Al those students are taught and nurtured to do all those kinds of things in high school and they're practicing all those things at the college level but there's a dedicated support system for the college student.”
Park City High School Bright Futures senior, Isaac Cortes says he decided in 3rd grade that he wanted to go to college. He’ll attend Westminster in the fall and is not sure what he’ll pursue but he enjoys business marketing, arts and film. He’ll live on campus for the first two years, but he’s a little nervous about the transition.
“It’s pretty daunting. I think that's the word I'm looking for. It's like I'll be going now on my own for the very first time and it's just a new experience to start my life and actually pursuing and dedicating my life to things I'm interested in. I'm pretty stoked about that and just to start my own journey.” He says Bright Futures has taught him him about friendships, networking and other essential life experiences.
Treasure Mountain Junior High School Assistant Principal, Amy Jenkins says the PC Ed Foundation funded MASA, which stands for Mustang After School Academy, which caters to 8th and 9th graders. Jenkins says they were looking for a program that would attract kids to stay at school longer and hopefully stay out of trouble. The program has attracted on average 70 kids this year through a wide variety of offerings. They have the basic book, art and homework clubs available along with other interactive, teacher led programs.
“Through the funds that Ed Foundation has given us, we purchased materials for different clubs and some of the things we've purchased are cars that the school owns. But the cool thing is that they’re repairable so you can order a part and replace something if it breaks. So, the kids get to learn how to work on these little cars at the same time that they're playing around with them. So that's kind of fun. And then we had a parent donate ping pong tables, so we run ping pong clubs on Thursdays. We have a teacher who has guitars and a drum set in the back of his classroom, so he does school of rock where kids come in and learn how to play the guitar and jam out.
Right now, Jenkins says the fantasy and story telling game of Dungeons and Dragons is especially popular and somewhat raucous. They have at least 30 kids show up on Tuesday’s and Thursdays to play.