The Shorewood School District has successfully completed the "Meet the Match" campaign, raising a total of $1 million to support new project-based learning programs for K-12 students. The announcement was made on Tuesday, November 24, at the Shorewood School Board meeting.
"We are thrilled to have reached our campaign goal," said Superintendent Dr. Bryan Davis. "The funding will support transformational learning experiences for students in our district. This is all thanks to the incredible generosity of our matching grant provider and our donors, and it really shows how special our community is here in Shorewood."
In April 2015, Shorewood Schools were awarded a matching grant worth $500,000 from a foundation requesting anonymity to support Expeditionary Learning and innovative, project-based learning experiences for students in grades K-12. The matching grant stipulated that the District would have to raise an equal amount of $500,000 before the end of December 2015 in order to be eligible to receive the $500,000 matching grant, combining for a total of $1 million to support the implementation of these new programs.
Over the last seven months, the community has rallied around the "Meet the Match" fundraising efforts. The Shorewood SEED (Supporters of Excellence in Educational Development) Foundation partnered with the Shorewood School District's Advancement Office to support the campaign, dedicating its fall annual fund drive to help "Meet the Match." Shorewood families and community members opened their homes to host fundraising events. In all, over 340 donations were made in support of the campaign, ranging from .20 cents to $50,000, coming from community members, parents, alumni, regional foundations, education advocates, and other organizations and supporters.
"This has been a fantastic, community-wide, team achievement," said Ted Knight, chief advancement officer. "Our friends at the Shorewood SEED Foundation were invaluable partners in this effort. To reach our goal in seven months really shows that this community is capable of great things."
The campaign funding will support the implementation of new programs in the District over the next three years, including Expeditionary Learning for elementary school students, Project Lead the Way for intermediate and high school students, new Maker Space areas for hands-on, project-based learning activities, as well as new extracurricular activities, including FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League and Tech Challenge, the Team Awesome program for special needs students, DEEP (Down to Earth Experimental Physics), and other programs.
"These funds will give us the initial boost we need to get these new programs launched, assisting us with start-up costs and implementation, and allowing us time to integrate future program costs into our district budget," Davis said.
The campaign funding will support curriculum implementation, teacher training and professional development, equipment and technology, classroom resources, and special projects and student expeditions.
Expeditionary Learning (EL) and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) are both national programs. EL is based on the educational ideas of German-born educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound. The EL program is exemplified by project-based learning expeditions, where students engage in interdisciplinary, in-depth study of compelling topics, in groups and in their community, with assessment coming through cumulative products, public presentations, and portfolios. EL emphasizes high quality work and character development. To learn more about EL, visit www.eleducation.org.
PLTW is the nation's leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs, and has been implemented in over 8,000 schools in all 50 states and DC. PLTW's curriculum and teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate and community partners, is aimed at helping students develop the skills necessary to succeed in the global economy. To learn more about PLTW, visit www.pltw.org.
"Our vision for these programs is really to develop a national model here in Shorewood for authentic student learning experiences that prepare them for 21st century challenges and careers," Davis said. "We plan to achieve this through strong regional partnerships that will help generate student projects that have direct community relevance and impact."
Since the start of the campaign, Shorewood Schools have established a regional partnership network that includes over 30 partners, ranging from higher education, industry, and non-profit organizations.
"These partnerships will really help advance our programs, provide context, connect students with opportunities to learn and grow, and demonstrate the value of innovative learning programs at the K-12 level across our Milwaukee region," Knight said.
A second grant worth $1.2 million was awarded to Shorewood Schools last April by the same anonymous source, supporting the completion of new athletics facilities at Shorewood High School, including new concessions, team rooms, and public restrooms at the site of the athletics field and stadium.
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