Charles Vejano, Macy Gray, and Zumorod Mohammed tell their Principal, Chas Miller, and nearly 1,000 Spring for Schools luncheon guests about learning to read at Ardmore Elementary School. Proceeds from the Benefit Luncheon go to Bellevue Schools Foundation, which supports quality public education in Bellevue. Photo courtesy Mike Nakamura Photography.

Schools Foundation raises more than $700,000

  • Friday, March 31, 2017 1:30am
  • News

The Bellevue community raised $700,000 at the annual Spring for Schools Benefit Luncheon for the Bellevue Schools Foundation on March 24.

Funds raised at the event support programs that enable the Bellevue School District to provide innovative curriculum and critical learning supports, focusing on initiatives that “move the needle” for student opportunity and achievement.

Guests at the luncheon, chaired by the foundation’s immediate past president, Connie Peterson, heard speakers and watched video presentations reflecting the event theme, “Whole community, whole child.

At Ardmore Elementary School, a number of the youngest learners, 3- and 4-year-old preschoolers, were among more than 150 low-income children district-wide at risk of losing access to no-cost, high-quality early learning. A broad cross-section of Bellevue community members advocated for and donated funds to ensure every one of those students was able to go to school this school year.

Ardmore Elementary School Principal Chas Miller told guests that in his 11 years as a principal in other states, he’s never seen anything like the community support for education that is a cultural norm in Bellevue.

“It’s not as if I came from a place that didn’t care about the schools, but the sheer coordination and the sheer will of so many people at the same time saying, ‘We’re going to support public education,’ was something I had never experienced in my career,” Miller said.

Miller said he’s most impressed by the results produced by systemically applying carefully-crafted approaches to reducing achievement gaps. For the district’s youngest learners, particularly in the Title I Ardmore student population, the benefits are striking.

“In Kindergarten last year the number of students scoring ‘far below proficient’ dropped from 74% in September to 10% in June—a 64% change,” he said.

He cited targeted intervention through one of the Foundation’s flagship programs, Project READiness, which helps teachers identify and work with individual students’ needs to ensure they reach critical literacy benchmarks in Kindergarten through 3rd grade.

“Project Readiness is there to make sure we get all our kids learning to read in Kindergarten and first Grade so everything can fall into place with our district goal of all kids reading to learn by 3rd grade,” Miller said.

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