News & Announcements: Generous grants from the Escondido Charitable Foundation fund new educational opportunities

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Every year, the Escondido Charitable Foundation (ECF) generously grants thousands of dollars to non-profits and worthy causes in the Escondido community. During this year’s funding cycle, ECF specifically invited grant proposals for programs that support Escondido’s youth.

Ultimately, out of 52 applicants, eight organizations were awarded grants by ECF — and we’re thrilled to announce that two of those grant recipients are our very own Conway Elementary School and Mission Middle School! The fact that both Conway and Mission were selected from such a large and deserving field of applicants is a testament to the quality of the innovative programs in our schools.

Conway and Mission were recognized for their programs and awarded their grants at a September 28 celebration hosted by the Escondido Charitable Foundation:

Conway STEM Classroom and LEGO Robotics Club

Grant amount: $21,418

Seven representatives of EUSD and two representatives of the Escondido Charitable Foundation stand together and smile while holding a giant check for $21,418 made out to Conway Elementary School.

From left to right: EUSD board member Zesty Harper, Conway principal Tina Meglich, Conway fourth-grade teacher Lana Brady, EUSD deputy superintendent Leila Sackfield, Conway librarian Tanya Turek, EUSD board member Dr. Gary Altenburg, Conway STEM teacher Nataly Vidales, ECF grant program contact Colleen MacKinnon, and ECF grants committee chair Randy Ortlieb.

Established in 1966, Conway Elementary School has a rich history of serving students in grades K–5. Today, Conway serves approximately 600 students and utilizes an innovative program developed by EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning). This program emphasizes project-based learning, character education, and engaging with our surrounding community through service and compassion.

A unique aspect of our academic day is Exploratory. For 90 minutes, a single grade level attends classes with our dedicated STEM and art teachers, or in Story Lab or Wellness classes. After approximately ten weeks, grade levels rotate to one of the other Exploratory subjects.

We believe that STEM education in particular is vital to the immediate and future growth of our students — especially since today’s students need to have knowledge of robotics and computer science in order to successfully participate in the economy of the future. That’s why we felt it was so important to apply for this grant from the Escondido Charitable Foundation.

By partnering with the City of Escondido and our ASES after-school childcare program, we plan on applying the proceeds from this grant in two ways that maximize the STEM experience both during and after school:

  1. To expand and enhance our STEM classroom. New furniture, 20 new iPads, LEGO robots, and other upgraded tools and equipment will ensure that our STEM classroom provides an academic setting in which students can grapple with hands-on lessons that foster teamwork, collaboration and, above all, communication.
  2. To establish a LEGO Robotics Club. This club will be open to students in our ASES after-school program on a first-come, first-served basis. The club will provide ASES students with tools and educational enrichment opportunities that are currently economically and experientially out of reach.

We’re thrilled to be able to bring these new educational opportunities to Conway. Thank you, ECF!

Learn more about Conway Elementary School

Project Teatro Misión

Grant amount: $27,000

Seven representatives of EUSD and two representatives of the Escondido Charitable Foundation stand together and smile while holding a giant check for $27,500 made out to Mission Middle School.

From left to right: ECF grant program contact Cathy O’Malley, California Center for the Arts director of museum and education Leah Goodwin, EUSD deputy superintendent Leila Sackfield, ECF grants committee chair Randy Ortlieb, Mission assistant principal Dr. Michele Einspar, EUSD board member Dr. Gary Altenburg, EUSD board member Zesty Harper, ECF member Colleen MacKinnon, and Mission principal Dr. Carlos Ulloa.

Like Conway, Mission Middle School also has a rich history of serving the Escondido community. Established in 1955 and originally known as Grant Middle School, Mission was the first comprehensive middle school in the Escondido Union School District. Today, our school serves over 1,000 students in grades 6–8.

At Mission, we have a goal of providing enrichment opportunities that facilitate academic excellence and student engagement, including immersing all students in the arts. Currently, we have an award-winning video production program and a growing visual arts program. In an effort to expand our arts programs, we applied for a grant from the Escondido Charitable Foundation to establish Project Teatro Misión.

Developed in collaboration with the California Center for the Arts, Escondido and Kids Theatre Network, Project Teatro Misión will be a high-caliber youth theater program for the Escondido community.

At Mission, English language learners make up a significant percentage of our student population. Research has shown that when these students participate in theater programs, they show significant growth in fluency, vocabulary, discourse, metacognition, and self-efficacy.

Involving Mission students in theater will not only improve student self-esteem, but it will also promote literacy, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration, and provide students with a sense of belonging in our school and community.

We’re honored to be selected as a 2017 ECF grant recipient and excited to introduce this wonderful new arts education opportunity to our students!

Learn more about Mission Middle School

Thank you, Escondido Charitable Foundation!

The 2017 grants cycle was a major milestone for ECF: Not only was it the tenth year of their grants program, but it was also the year in which they passed the $2 million mark in cumulative grant awards to Escondido causes and non-profits!

On behalf of the entire EUSD family, we want to thank ECF for their incredible generosity! We, and the entire Escondido community, are very grateful for your support.

To learn more about ECF and their 2017 grants cycle, please visit their website…