The Issaquah Schools Foundation has a long history of supporting education in the Issaquah School District, which operates K-12 schools in Sammamish, Issaquah, Bellevue, Newcastle, and Renton.
Recently, the foundation launched a series called "Community Conversations," designed to engage parents in discussing with educators important issues that could help shape the future of education in our area. To continue the conversation, it's planning a at , of the film American Teacher.
The first film in the series, , "was the perfect film for this community with high-achieving students," said Lynn Juniel, development manager for the Issaquah Schools Foundation.
The issues of pressure students feel, both external and internal, seemed to really resonate with a lot of the 330 people who attended the screening, Juniel said.
"A lot of parents had stories that mirrored so closely what we say--one woman's son has heart problems," she said.
Providing a forum for parents, and students, to discuss these issues is one of the goals of the foundation, Juniel said.
"It was so energizing to be in the room," she said.
But Issaquah Schools Foundation wants to do more than just provide a space to talk, so it also has organized a "next steps" committee that can help guide the foundation and the district toward solutions for some of the issues that face modern families (if you'd like to join that group, call Robin at 425-391-8557).
"We want to fund programs in schools, but we are really more than that--we want to make connections and be a resource for parents," Juniel said.
If you live in the Issaquah School District, you are no stranger to Issaquah Schools Foundation, which holds an annual "All in for Kids" fundraising drive and other community events to support education programs in the district.
The foundation was originally formed in 1987 by a few parents looking for a way to replace an aging carpet in their childrens' classrooms. They quickly became aware, however, that supporting local schools could not be a one-shot deal, and formed the Issaquah Schools Foundation, an independent, non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization that now also provides funding for a variety of programs in the district, including Robotics Clubs; the VOICE mentoring program which provides academic and personal support to struggling students; scholarships for teachers to achieve National Board Certification; a nurses fund to support the needs of the districts most vulnerable families; PSAT scholarships; after-school homework labs and tutuoring; the , and much more.
Since its founding, ISF has provided over $3 million dollars toward programs that encourage academic excellence, support struggling students and promote professional development.
Currently, the foundation is eyeing an expansion of its scope to address early childhood education for pre-K students; adding highly capable student and special needs programming, and investing in secondary orchestra and band programs and basic student needs.
Juniel said the need for support of organizations such as Issaquah Schools Foundation becomes ever more apparent in the current financial climate for schools all over the state. For the 2010-2011 academic year, the foundation reported that 92 percent of its $1.1 million budget was spent on program services, and 8 percent of the budget on management and fundraising activities.
Issaquah Schools Foundation invites parents and the community at large to attend the screening of American Teacher next week and participate in a panel discussion with educators after the film. The screening is being offered free, as Microsoft is sponsoring the screening. The foundation also plans to show Road to Nowhere again later this year, Juniel said.
"We want as many people as possible to see it," she said.
On May 10, the foundation will hold its 14th annual benefit luncheon at the Issaquah Community Center. For ticket information, visit the Issaquah Schools Foundation website.