Issaquah Schools Foundation Programs
VOICE Mentoring Program pairs community volunteers with students in need of academic and/or personal support. Mentors meet with their students for one hour a week, each week throughout the school year with transformational results. During the 2010-2011 school year, 183 mentors served 230 elementary, middle and high school students. In the fall of 2011, the VOICE Mentor Program will expand to include College Core--mentors who are available specifically to assist students with the college application process.
TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) is a program developed and run in partnership with Microsoft. Piloted at Issaquah High School and a handful of Seattle School District high schools during the 2010-2011 year, TEALS recruits, mentors, and places high-tech employees who are passionate about education in schools to teach classes in STEM subjects. At Issaquah High, TEALS instructors taught Computer Science and Web Design--classes that were absent from the curriculum for lack of highly qualified technology teachers. Every Issaquah School District high school will participate in the TEALS program this fall.
Academic Enrichment Grants in amounts ranging from $100 to $10,000 are awarded to teachers each year to encourage innovation, enliven learning and fulfill unmet needs. Grants also serve as incubators for new programs. Robotics Club Support, National Board Certification Scholarships, the VOICE Mentoring Program and the Financial Literacy Curriculum for 8th graders all began as Academic Enrichment Grant funded programs.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In the spring of 2011, the Issaquah Schools Foundation stepped in to save an Issaquah School District Elementary Science Curriculum adoption. Because of a State clawback of $1.45 million resources planned for the adoption had to be reallocated. The Foundation collaborated with PTSA's and the community to raise the additional $425,000 required to fund the adoption. In 33 days, the Foundation raised, $438,600; allowing the District to purchase and implement the curriculum and bring rigorous, relevant and equitable science education to more than 8,600 elementary students this fall.
This spring, the Foundation is working on programs that connect students to their futures; including increased funding for STEM initiatives, working with businesses to offer students opportunities to connect classroom studies to real work applications and supporting expanded programs for both special needs and highly capable students. The Foundation is also raising funds to assist the District with an Elementary Literacy Adoption and a Pre-K/Kindergarten Summer Intervention Program.