SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

August 30, 2013

Column: Foundation focuses on supporting schools; want to help?

As it is for many people who support our community, volunteerism is an integral part of family life for those of us who volunteer for the Salem Education Foundation.

We squeeze this work in between conference calls, while caring for our families, and on nights and weekends, but Salem’s schools are always a priority. A board of 15, we are business leaders, educators and parents, and we work collaboratively alongside hundreds of volunteers, partners and donors from throughout our community who also donate their time, expertise or financial resources. Our goal is to raise awareness of, and interest in, the Salem Public Schools and to find ways to support teachers and the community.

This spring, the Salem Education Foundation will celebrate its 20th anniversary. In the past 20 years, the foundation has donated $500,000 to education initiatives in Salem, and our volunteers have given thousands of hours supporting the schools. We are grateful to the corporate sponsors, private donors and volunteers throughout the community who generously sustain our work.

Our goals and activities are shaped by the times we live in, and this year, we remain focused on two main areas: supporting sustained improvement of the Salem Public Schools, and creating opportunities for widespread community engagement and collaboration in the turnaround process. We are strong supporters of the current school and district improvement efforts, and we view “community” as an essential partner in sustaining improvement. Many of our efforts this year are about promoting widespread communication about what’s happening in Salem schools.

Here are some of the highlights of our work for 2013-14:

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Community Conversations: These free, education-focused gatherings will take place throughout the year in public spaces and homes in English and Spanish. The first meeting is the School Committee Candidate Forum on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club. This meeting is free and open to the public. Translation and childcare will be provided. If you’re interested in hosting a community conversation about education, please email us at info@salemeducationfoundation.org.

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