For years, the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation has provided support to the community’s schools, teachers and students through literacy programs, events, scholarships, grants and more.
The mission of the SCV Education Foundation is to promote innovation and excellence in education through community engagement and investment opportunities in the community’s 55 public schools.
To those looking to participate in Giving Tuesday, here are 10 reasons to support the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation.
1. They work closely with all five school districts within the Santa Clarita Valley: Castaic Union School District, Newhall School District, Saugus Union School District, Sulphur Springs Union School District and the William S. Hart Union High School District. Half of their board of directors are made up of assistant superintendents from these districts which means everything they do has the input and support of district representation.
2. Teacher Innovation Grants: The SCVEF recognized that the 2,200+ public school teachers in the Santa Clarita Valley were undergoing the greatest teaching challenge of their professional careers due to the demands of distance learning. The foundation looked for ways to help teachers enhance the learning environment for their students. As a result, items such as document cameras, green screens, laptop stands, and halo lights were awarded to over 400 teachers. Teachers who received items sent notes of appreciation to the foundation.
Feedback included, “Thank you for helping us feel supported and appreciated during these difficult times. It really goes a long way”, “When I heard about the grants, I teared up” and “I know I speak for everyone when I say how much this means to us! Truly so grateful for your generosity!”.
To learn more about the Teacher Innovation Grants, click here.
3. Teacher Tribute: Teachers of the Year for 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 were each honored at two separate Teacher Tributes taking place on Dec. 5, 2020 and April 30, 2021, respectively. The 2020 event was themed “We Think The World of You” and was held as a virtual event due to COVID restrictions. During the 2021 event, themed MASK- ERADE, honorees walked a red carpet and picked up dinner at Marston’s prior to the virtual ceremony. Between the two events, over 100 Teachers of the Year received a meal, a personalized award, and a swag bag filled with donations from community partners. During the ceremony, teachers received a special video message from their Superintendent and because the ceremonies were virtual, family and friends from all over the world.
“Being part of the Teacher Tribute this year was extra special and we appreciate all your efforts in making that happen…especially with all the pandemic protocols” – Whitney Salerno, 2021 Honoree
4. Book Donations: The SCVEF was selected to receive a grant of over 6,000 new children’s books to help the families they serve create word-filled homes and promote reading and learning. The hardcover books arrived in four large pallets and included hundreds of different titles. Local school librarians helped to unpack, sort, age level, and packed-up the books so they could be distributed to twenty-five Title 1 schools. Books were then sent to local pre-schools, elementary, junior high, and high schools.
Each of the schools that were provided books distributed them in different ways. La Mesa Jr High School added the donated books to their school store and allowed students who had earned points for positive contributions to the school (integrity, responsibility, leadership, etc.) to “spend” their points for rewards at the store. The donated books from the Molina Foundation quickly became a very popular store item. For some of the students, this was the first time where they were able to “buy” their own book.
5. 2020 Teacher Appreciation Campaign: In addition to teacher grants, the Foundation reached out to elected officials, community leaders and our premier partners to create a video message in support of teachers. The video showed just how much other professionals appreciate teachers for the unusual and difficult situation created by distance learning. The Foundation also placed banners around Santa Clarita to show educators and the community just how much teachers are appreciated as being “our heroes”, “out of this world”, “educational rock stars” and most importantly, that they “can do virtually anything”.
6. Page Turners: The SCVEF’s Page Turners program provided books to junior high students who have little or no access to free books outside of school. In the age of COVID, tangible school-related supplies were lacking for many students and Page Turners was one way the SCVEF brought resources to some of our most at-risk students.
Over 250 high-risk students selected two books to add to their personal libraries and were later surveyed about receiving the books. Results were extremely positive: 62% said they felt better about the past year after reading the books they received, 66% replied that they wanted to read more after receiving two books of their choice, and 66% said that it improved their reading habits. Students were also asked about how many books they own, including the two books they received from the Page Turners program. Thirty percent (30%) owned less than six books and another 33% owned ten or less. This means that the Page Turners program increased the size of personal libraries 20% – 40%.
Funds to purchase the Page Turners books were received from The city of Santa Clarita Community Grants and the Lockheed AeroCARES grant programs. To learn more about Page Turners, click here.
7. Bag of Books: Designed to improve literacy skills and encourage reading, Bag of Books allows children who have little or no access to books outside school to take home a set of books to read on their own and with family members. At the beginning of the week, each student signs out a bag containing four grade-level books. The bag is returned to the class on Friday. Each week the student receives a different bag with four new books inside. Over the course of a school year, students have an opportunity to read 120 different books. In 2019, Bag of Books was in 85 kindergarten classes, reaching over 2,000 students. The foundation look forward to bringing this program back as COVID protocols loosen. To learn more, click here.
8. Student Scholarships: In 2021, six high school seniors from the Hart District were awarded a combined total of $10,000 in scholarships to help them pursue a career in education. Their total investment in scholarships since 1988 is over $250,000. To learn more, click here.
9. Read with Me: Designed to improve students’ reading and comprehension skills, this program connects volunteers with students who need a little extra help. Volunteers are recruited throughout the community including individuals from the Senior Center, College of the Canyons and other local organizations. Volunteers work 1-2 hours a week working either one-on-one or in small group settings. “Literacy Friends” will read with or be read to, assist with pronunciation, comprehension and provide positive feedback. The Foundation look forward to bringing this program back as COVID protocols loosen. To learn more, click here.
10. There are currently 55 public schools in Santa Clarita, 50,000+ students and over 2,200 teachers. The goal is to touch the lives of each and every teacher and student through one of their programs and events.
For this year’s Giving Tuesday, the foundation hopes that all will consider supporting their organization so that they can continue supporting the community’s educators.